Chained to the Power Grid


The power went out at 4 pm on October 7 when a fierce 10-minute wind and rain storm blitzed the area. Trees were down all over town. Not in my yard, but in the one next door. The power lines dangled on the ground.

Electricity was scarce, but firewood aplenty.

Thus began 77 hours of living off the grid. We lit our candles and wore our headlamps because night came early. We emptied our chest freezer and moved its contents one hour east to Harriet’s mother’s freezer. We followed the infrastructure repair status using our mobile phones and data plans. I spent an afternoon cutting and collecting firewood around town.

Our refrigerator melted. Our house was cold in the morning. We longed for the electricity to be restored.

It’s a bit alarming how dependent we are on a power grid that seems so vulnerable. There’s really not much you can do about it. You want to live off the grid? You’ll need a solar installation, or your own personal wind turbine, or a micro-hydro generating system. None of that comes cheap.

Apparently living off the grid and still having electricity is for the wealthy. Or for the eccentric–if you’re willing to forgo the electricity.

I’m not wealthy and I’m not willing to forgo electricity. I work from home, so does Harriet now. We need juice, we need wi-fi. We live in the Northeast–we need heat.

That’s going to take some fixing.

We were one of the last houses in our town to have power restored. At one point we got to look across the street at the brightly-lit house of our neighbors. Just down the block, someone was flaunting their Halloween lights. Grr.

The utility crews worked long, hard hours. Eventually, our electric service resumed. I was back to being chained to the grid.

By David Klein

David Klein

Published novelist, creative writer, journalist, avid reader, discriminating screen watcher.


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