OT Can we do without it?

Submitted: Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 19:31
ThreadID: 32228 Views:2504 Replies:10 FollowUps:11
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Electricity...that is!

A storm today in this region knocked the power out for 5 hours. The town was deathly quiet.

I went down to the tyre shop for stuff and a notice on the locked door said "We'll be back when the power comes on"!!!!

After 4 hours I dusted off the old Suzuki 900 genset and fired it up to run the fridge and freezer for short bursts individually.

Our power supply has been cut 4 times in the past 4 months for more that 5 hours at a time. It is then when one realises just how much of our life is ruled by the supply of electricity. We have a gas stove, a wood stove and solar hot water but that is as far as it goes for alternative energy. Oh yes, and two car fridges.

At these times one tends to think of alternative powering stuff, but the cost is prohibitive. Maybe a new 5kva diesel genset should be looked in to...lol

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Reply By: Jimbo - Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 19:44

Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 19:44

I agree, you don't realise how much you depend on it until it is gone

In the late 90's in Vic, when HRH Kennet was in power, we seemed to lose it in suburban Melbourne about every two months. It really got to be a bad thing.

We haven't had a loss for a couple of years, but the last time was really strange. Our kids went mad; no TV, no computer. Jenny and I sat by the light of the candle chatting and gave them the 12 volt lantern to take and read a book.

They didn't want to read, so came and sat with Mum and Dad and had a chat. It was almost like camping.


AnswerID: 163246

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 20:06

Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 20:06
Some of the best social life we had was in the 1970s in the UK during the Three Day Week when the miners were on strike for a prolonged period and electricity was cut off for hours at a time to various areas.

Everybody talked more, read more socialised more. I never miss it when I go bush - but then I suppose I don't need an operating theater or similar at that time but I reckon we could live with a lot less of it, if we chose to.

Mike Harding
FollowupID: 417984

Reply By: Member - Crazie (VIC) - Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 19:57

Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 19:57
Poor bugger you

You should be able to run the essentials with a 2kva, we use to have the switch board in the house wired so we could plug the gennie in when power went out. Dont know how is was wired in, electrican did it.

AnswerID: 163253

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 20:01

Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 20:01
No, Willem, we couldn't do without it, not for long, anyway, as you've found out. Feel that electricity would be the greatest resource we have, though others might dispute that. Maybe petroleum is???

Having been in the "bush" over 40 years, am concerned about power we have no control over.
The 5KVA diesel "silent-pack" would be the way to go.

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

Lifetime Member
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AnswerID: 163260

Reply By: marklynn - Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 20:10

Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 20:10
Spare a thought then for those poor souls in Innisfail, Babinda etc. Apparently some of the people in outlying areas could be without basic services, electricity, water & sewer, for an extended period...like a month or more. Makes you sit back & take stock on the creature comforts that we take as a given, or a right to have in a developed country.

AnswerID: 163266

Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 21:24

Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 21:24

Recently I spent a weekend at a B&B.

The water was from a tank off the roof, the heater was a wood fire, the hot water was gas, the stove and oven was gas, the 240v power was solar panels.

The B&B is in Dargo.

Before the power went on in Dargo,1970 I think, they had the keg on the bar and the beer was room temp. When the power went on the pub got a cool room and the locals didn't like the beer because it was cold.

If you are not sure where Dargo is have a look at "Places"

AnswerID: 163300

Follow Up By: Willem - Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 22:00

Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 22:00
It takes a lot of planning to set up an 'alternative' lifestyle. Trouble is with all of todays hi-tech stuff you need lots of POWER and solar is out opf the reach of most of us.

FYI do know where Dargo is...lol
FollowupID: 418033

Follow Up By: Wayne (NSW) - Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 22:20

Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 22:20

When the owner was building the house it was going to cost $80,000 to have the power put on. Now it would cost him $18,000 after he had put on the solar panels.

I was sure that you knew where Dargo is, but hopefully you are not the only one that reads this post.:-))

FollowupID: 418041

Follow Up By: Gramps (NSW) - Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 23:34

Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 23:34

Not only planning. $$$'s as well. It aint cheap. Reminds me of a show on organic farming. One very dry farmer remarked about going well into the 'red' before he could go 'green'
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Reply By: Rick (S.A.) - Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 22:39

Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 22:39
Well, who sold the bloody power generation & distribution here in SA?

Who did you vote for?

And marvellous Mike is not exactly helping alternate power sources like uranium. He only wants to sell it, to exploit it, but not be responsible for it.

I tell ya, I'm worried for our kids & their mobs....we'll likely be OK, but as we keep on pillaging the environment by burning fossil fules, we are rooted. Lucky you & I don't have a lovely shack on Eyre Peninsula 20 feet from the waters edge..........climate change will make that a very cheap shack before we are departed this earth.

oh, hang on, my Big Niss uses tyres & burns fossil fuels.

S'pose I will have to be like eveyone else- double standards, NIMBY philospohy.

Cheers, and hope you all don't mind the twisted outlook. Perhaps I need to camp in red dirt sooner rather than later?

PS Willie................. LOL. With a significant alcholic content, is the PP juice immune to the vagaries of electricity?
AnswerID: 163323

Follow Up By: Member No 1- Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 07:41

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 07:41
we SA are going to subsidise the upgrading of the gas fired generators up Hallet/Burra way for hundreds of millions of $$$....double the output..great...
but to follow is a wind plant for double the amount of $$$ for less than half of what the upgrade to the gas fired plant is going to give us...
these things only work when they have wind and no bloody good on very hot days as they have to slow them down or even shut them off as they burn out...which is what happend in the riverland

doesnt make sense!! our power is going to cost heaps in the very near future if they keep building wind plants (we susidise by way paying our bills)
FollowupID: 418111

Reply By: Footloose - Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 23:09

Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 23:09
Only 5 hours ? Ours has been out 3 times this year and it takes around 6 hours for them to fix it.
We had to replace the mains on our property last year and were without power for 4 days. I bought a cheap gen set just to run a few essentials like the freezer. Our place couldnt survive without it. We were using the camping gear to get a cuppa nd to cook. And you're right, its so quiet. I love peace and quiet but it drove my missus batty. TV is her stress relieving choice.
Even our mean green Biocycle waste system has a 240v pump ! So much for joining the enviro generation. And the water has to go somewhere, so I have to use more fossil fuel to cut the faster growing grass.
AnswerID: 163330

Reply By: Member - Bware (Tweed Valley) - Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 00:22

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 00:22
Agree with taking electricity for granted. Nth Coast NSW we lose power regularly with storms so we've got all the camping gear ready to go; gas stove (power always seems to go in the middle of cooking!), torches etc. We're on tank water though which means no showers, toilet flush, etc. I don't understand the lack of forsight that it takes to not put a gravity-fed tap on a water tank so you can access water when the pump's not going; such a simple answer....
AnswerID: 163344

Reply By: Sparkiepete - Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 06:17

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 06:17
G'day Willem.
We keep losing power up here in Bundaberg every couple of nights. When I asked why it kept happening it turns out fruibats are shorting out the overhead wiring and causing blackouts.

Now these stupid bats are protected and we can only hope enough get zapped as to give us back our usual power supply. Small hope as a large colony has decided to make there base camp on the river just down the road of our place.

AnswerID: 163364

Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 07:55

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 07:55
G'day Willem,

A couple of years ago we were out for the weekend after one of the high voltage power poles collapsed in a storm. Used my Honda 20i for our power source, the trick was to turn of the main power swich. I plugged it into one of the power points via an extension lead with 2 male fittings to hook up the house, this ran the fridge, freezer, TV and video unit also made up a bayonet fitting for the light circuit which allowed me to switch on lights like normal. Worked fantastically and made the money I paid for this thing seem even better spent.

Kind regards
AnswerID: 163376

Follow Up By: Sparkie C - Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 08:22

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 08:22
Beatit that double ended lead that you spoke about has the abillity to back feed into the grid even with the mains turned off because the main switch only turns off 1 wire . It also has killed people when it was used by mistake by some unknowing child . I speak from experience as I did the investigation for the Electricity commission . Please destroy the lead now if it still exists. It dosent cost much for a change over switch and inlet plug to be installed permenantly, we have it here as we have outages every month and with tanks etc need power to flush the toilet.
see you on the road Sparkie C
FollowupID: 418116

Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 08:24

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 08:24
Thanks Sparkie.

Kind regards

FollowupID: 418117

Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 09:31

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 09:31
Getting a quote will let you know how much.

Kind regards
FollowupID: 418133

Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Wednesday, Mar 29, 2006 at 07:38

Wednesday, Mar 29, 2006 at 07:38
G'day Sparkie,

$480 for a 15 amp in. A lot of dough for very occassional use.

Kind regards
FollowupID: 418296

Follow Up By: Sparkie C - Wednesday, Mar 29, 2006 at 17:39

Wednesday, Mar 29, 2006 at 17:39
G'day Beatit,
I agree with you $480.00 sounds a bit costly for a change over switch in the meter box like we have.
The 15 a mp caravan inlet point and changeover switch retail for $71.11 per clipsal catalogue and cableing should be simple and under $20.00 if kept in the meterbox. Allow 2 Hrs for total labour and you can work it out that the price you were given is very expensive or there are a lot of additional expences that i'm not aware of ?
Keep hunting
Regards Sparkie C ( Qld)
FollowupID: 418451

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Wednesday, Mar 29, 2006 at 18:24

Wednesday, Mar 29, 2006 at 18:24
I would have to agree with Sparkie.

This is the kind of thing that if you _really_ know what you're doing and have a controlled environment (which usually means no children and random passers-by) you can get away with but it's not something the general public should be messing around with.

I agree $480 is a lot of cash for occasional use so maybe you can buy a few extension cords and operate the items you need directly from the gen in times of blackout?

Mike Harding
FollowupID: 418465

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