A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hydro Line Workers

I have done my share of bitching about hydro prices and in particular the “delivery charge” portion of my bill which exceeds the 'cost of hydro' delivered, but given that this 'extra' on our bill pays for maintenance and repair and the current number of lines down due to the recent ice storm I must reconsider my stance. These front line high voltage linesmen have my greatest respect, they are by all accounts called out in the most miserable weather to work on potentially very dangerous high voltage lines often suspended in a bucket 50 feet above the ground in high winds, pissing rain or heavy snow to keep us warm and cozy in our houses. No doubt they are paid very well but as a technician who has been 'on call' I can say that NO amount of money would get me to play around with 50,000 volts dangling in a bucket in the middle of a snow storm after already having spent 8 or more hours on the job that day.

Thanks guys, I do hope your bosses take the time and money to upkeep and improve the hydro distribution system, replace old poles, cut overhanging trees and eliminate problem areas but understand it is hard to remember that you are suppose to be draining the swamp when you are up to your ass in alligators!

We were fortunate to not loose power here but many around us were not so lucky, my daughter down in Huron County is at the time of writing this still without power after abt 60 hrs, when you see some of the damage you can understand the challenges faced by Hydro One to get power restored.

Us country folk tend to be more prepared for power outages than our urban friends, we here have water for cooking stored, propane stove unreliable upon hydro, wood heat that warms twice or more in cutting, splitting, stacking and hauling, a generator to keep the freezers running if need be and battery operated lights, radio and other essential 'stuff'. It is rarely needed and all to often it is not working properly from neglect when needed due to the long period between uses, but we are aware of the 'Be Prepared' motto learned long ago from my days in the Boy Scouts. My daughter just learned that those wonderful cell phones do not work unless charges and home cordless phones don’t work without power. Every household in rural Ontario should have an old simple plug in phone for emergency’s, the reliance on cell technology by an increasing number of folks is fine till the shit hits the fan, tower gets knocked out, batteries go dead, or you are stuck some place with “no service' then that old dial up land line looks really good!

Those in town have more services and backup options available but it must be bloody hard to kindle a fire on the living room floor to keep warm when all you have is electric heat and there are I must admit only so much those living in an apartment can do when major power outages occur. I feel fortunate that out here in the boonies I have the ability to prepare for emergencies and survive quite happily for a number of days without modern amenities, its just a learning curve to know how to prepare. By the time I have it right I will be poking up daisy’s but perhaps my daughter will get the idea!

Meanwhile I still would not be a linesman for any money, work safe guys.......

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