02 May, 2009

Dark Nights Ahead

Uh... Dear, Where are the candles?

As Snoopy once said, "Five minutes before the party is not the time to learn to dance."

So, since I got the following email yesterday afternoon from Loreta Randall (She's the U.S. Warden for the Corozal District), I figured now would be a good time to begin reviewing preparedness things in and around the home. Since this talks about current (electricity, for the unknowing), that's what we're concentrating on today.
"Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) made an announcement today that will have
an effect on us over the next 4 months or so.

BEL buys electricity from a hydro-power company in Mexico. The
Mexican company announced that due to problems with their own power
plants, they will suspend the sale of power to Belize for 4 months,
starting now.

BEL advises customers to be conservative in their use of electricity.

An unexpected interruption in the supply of electricity from Mexico
caused a brief country-wide blackout last week. Both Belize and
Mexico rely heavily on water in dams to make electricity. Water
levels in reservoirs naturally drop at this time of year, making for
difficulties in generating power under "normal" circumstances. This
is also a time when brush fires tend to disrupt things in Yucatan, Quintana Roo (the state Chetumal is in), and Belize. If Belize has no power at all coming in from Mexico
for the next 4 months we may want to anticipate and prepare for
frequent and prolonged lapses in power.

Once again a good case for a back-up generator and well-placed surge
It's a good thing I test my generator weekly. Here's where my generator lives, sort of the creature with foul breath, who lives under the stairs. This is the door into its cavern.
The Cavern Under the Stairs
Here's the creature, asleep in its cavern and quiet for now. It usually roars to life once a week year-round. Does it ever need Listerine. Thankfully, it's exhaust fumes, which are quite pungent are taken away from the house by the prevailing easterly breeze.
The Creature in it's Lair
I check the oil in the generator and make sure to have plenty on hand.
Some of the Creature's Food
Finally, I rotate my gasoline supply (through the generator and the Isuzu) just to keep it fresh since gasoline stabilizer is all but impossible to obtain down here. Shopkeepers know what it is, but they can't get it (One of the joys...).
The Creatures Primary Food Source
This was a good habit to have developed. It does give one a nice, secure feeling.

There's one other thing the email mentioned "... well-placed surge suppressors." Here's what I have. A whole house surge suppressor. I also use surge suppressor power strips (extension cords), but they will offer nowhere near the protection for refrigerators, ceiling fans, stereos, TVs, etc., that this does.
The Little Grey Box at Left
And, if you had a hard time seeing it, here it is a little larger.
Whole House Surge Suppressor
Coming up in a few days, I'm going to revisit hurricane preparedness.

Hey, I take all this seriously. It's what I did for a living for thirty-some years. I still believe in hurricane parties - only after you've properly prepared, evacuated, survived and returned home. That's when you throw the party.


Anonymous said...

Wow Dave. No electric for 4 months? I could save about $1800 here in NY over that time frame. I guess that is a real reality check. :-)


Dave Rider said...

Hi Anymouse,

What we're all hoping that they mean is it'll probably be hours or days at a time instead of weeks or months at a time. I really think it's going to be a lot of time where we'll lose power each day for several hours... I hope so anyway.