When a vacation home is without power, it could have been out for a long time, and you'd never know.
Every New Year's and sometimes in between, my family and I spend a few days with our friends at their vacation home, as we did last week. We arrived to a house with no electricity. That's happened before, each time for a different reason.
In July 1998, we arrived to find a house with no power. Since the house had not been used for several months, we had no idea how long it had been without power. Clearly, it had been some time. Something smelled, and it wasn't good. Opening the refrigerator, we found that formerly frozen food had liquefied. Despite emptying the refrigerator and cleaning it for hours, we realized that it was a total loss. A new refrigerator was in order.
The problem was caused by corroded wires outside the house. An electrician came on the night of July 3 and made the necessary repairs. We had power, but no refrigerator. We lived out of coolers for the weekend.
Fast forward to New Year's 2012-2013. This time, we had power, but not in the preferred way. You see, the utility pole outside the house had come down in a storm a few days before, but the line was still live, and it fed power to the house.
The storm occurred on a Saturday night, but because we still had power, the electric company (NSTAR) didn't consider it an emergency. Thus, nobody came to the site until Monday morning. The utility pole was owned by Verizon, which sent a crew at around 9:00 a.m. with a new pole. Verizon installed the new pole next to the old one, and then NSTAR switched the connections. Comcast also uses the pole for cable TV, phone, and Internet.
While taking photos, I talked to a Verizon technician, who explained that the transformer atop the pole was leaking and needed to be replaced. So although we had power until NSTAR cut it off for the repairs, it would have eventually failed.
A leaking power transformer was removed from a pole, to be carried away.
To Page 2: In the dark, yet again