Chuck (charlesofcamden) wrote,

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A (Too) Quiet Evening at Home

Sunday night we sat happily watching TV – there was a good show on about the history of space exploration – when the electricity abruptly went out. We did nothing right away, hoping this might be what the folks in the business refer to as a ‘momentary.’ After a minute though, as the darkness persisted, we gave up and began to assess the situation. A glance out the window showed that our neighbors were dark as well, looking up and down the street as far as we could see.

So it was time to get practical. We went about the apartment, turning off selected items that had been running, such as the microwave oven, and lighting some candles. These had to be strategically positioned, as our cat Cy has little experience with such objects and would be highly likely to contrive a way to set the apartment, or least himself, on fire.

A phone call to Commonwealth Edison told us the geographic boundaries of the outage area. It was surprisingly large – bounded on the south by Foster, on the north by Bryn Mawr, on the east by Magnolia, and on the west by Damen. The darned luck of it for us is that we were a single block from one of those boundaries and a mere 3 blocks from another boundary.

Having nothing else to do, I decided to take a stroll through the neighborhood and verify this information. It appears to have been quite accurate. A block away, I could see windows ablaze with lamplight or flickering with the comforting glow of television images. Three blocks along that border, I once again saw the end of the blackout. So let’s give some props to ComEd on that one – the recorded information appears to have been accurate! I’m sorry that I have to feel surprised by that, but the current state of customer service in general and ComEd in particular renders such a moment as noteworthy. I will admit to having referred to their actions as “The ComEd of Errors,” but I hope this might be a sign that they are righting their ship.

The lights came back on after a blackout of about an hour and 20 minutes. This was about an hour earlier than the time estimated on the ComEd recording for restoration of power, but I think they’re probably wise to err on the side of conservatism in such time estimates. We were then able to resume our busy evening of television watching without further interruption.

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