My area, Vailsburg, was hit Monday by a blackout (electrical power outage) for almost 5½ hours, from 2:55-8:20pm. This confirmed the wisdom of my decision not to get Optimum Voice, because cable modem depends upon electricity from the same source as everything else, so I would not have fone service in a blackout. Landline telephones, by contrast, have their own power supply, and battery-powered cellphones will work if the central servers are not knocked out. In the last blackout, in mid-2004, not even my cellphone would work. So I had no idea what was going on, or even if it was only my house, for over an hour. Nor was I able to find out how widespread the outage was once my service returned. I tuned to News 12 New Jersey on Cablevision at one point, and it was not among the first couple of stories, which were about the oppressive heat. And I was by then too tired to listen to a whole half hour of news just to find out if they would discuss the blackout.
I couldn't know, for instance, if the South Orange Pathmark was affected, so did not take the time to drive there to send a fax to transfer some money from my retirement account to checking. Once power returned, too late to get to the Bank of America, I did head out by car to do some chores. But when I got to the East Orange ShopRite, it was closed. The guard said the power outage shut it down. I asked if he knew how far the blackout spread, but he did not. He knew that nearby East Orange, except, he said, Central Avenue(!), was knocked out, as was his block of Halstead Street (which spans E.O. and Vailsburg). So not only could I not do grocery shopping at ShopRite but I also could not drop off three bags of plastic shopping bags for recycling. Next trip there.
The 24-hour E.O. Walgreens nearby was unusable, for its parking lot being completely full.
I drove to the Bergen Street Pathmark, farther east than my part of Newark. It was open. When I checked out, I asked the cashier if the store had been affected by the blackout. She said it had not, but her area (Irvington) was. So the picture I got from these informal inquiries was that Irvington south of me and E.O. north of me were knocked out as well as my neighborhood. Anyplace else?
I checked NJ.com today and found a Star-Ledger story that showed the extent of the blackout.
power outages also caused their share of confusion. The largest of the blackouts, which affected 76,000 customers in Essex County, happened when a failed breaker started a fire at a PSE&G switching station in West Orange. PSE&G spokeswoman Bonnie Sheppard said the switching station had to be temporarily shut down, resulting in hours-long outages that affected large swaths of the Oranges, Irvington, Newark, Montclair, Caldwell and Verona.There have been 4½ blackouts (2 on one day) to affect me since I moved to Newark, eight years ago this coming Saturday. I had remembered only two until I checked my records.
I discussed one here on May 10, 2004. That post mentions two others a month earlier. Then there was a blackout that hit Downtown sometime in mid-2004. I had a leg brace on after knee surgery and did not want to walk down the equivalent of 16 stories from the office. And now this one. How much of this is due to unpreventable accidents and how much to poor maintenance of infrastructure? I don't know.
Naturally this most recent outage occurred on the hottest day of the year so far. The Star-Ledger said we reached 99 degrees. I can believe it. With not even a fan, much less an air-conditioner, I was not going to use my compelled computer downtime to do housework or much in the way of yardwork except a little weeding around veggies. (Fortunately I had turned my computer completely off the nite before and had not turned it back on before the electricity failed, so no power dip nor surge affected it.) Several hours of high temperatures, with not even a breeze, proved very wearing. My ancestry is all Northern and Western European. I personally like summery temps, but it isn't even summer yet, and 99 is a very different story from a balmy 80 or 86.
So I got very little done yesterday. Didn't even check email. I had intended to do at least a "Church Sunday" entry, and probably also a Monday blog entry about an email I got from Britain. But today, I'm not so sure I'll backfill even those two days, much less Saturday as well. Maybe I'll just plead "force majeure" (problems beyond my control) and move forward, only, letting the past go.
Here's a foto at the onset of dusk.