by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
London, UK, November 2014: The National Grid in the UK has warned that this year's capacity of power generation this winter will be lower than that of previous years, so it is vital that people are prepared to keep warm should a blackout occur.
While the government is trying to assure people that the companies will keep the lights on – for households at least – we have to be prepared that this may not always be the case and that companies may not even wish to do so. Oh, aren't I nasty again!
How to keep calm and carry on during a power cut.
Keeping yourself warm will be the priority should a blackout occur, and some people have stated that hands and feet being at the top of the list. However, the greatest heat loss occurs through the top of the head and thus, first the priority, and even though it may look strange indoors, is a wooly hat to prevent that heat loss. Followed by socks and gloves to keep feet and hands warm.
If blackouts last through the night, extra body layers may be essential.
The worrying part is that not only are our heating systems, in most homes, dependent on the electricity grid as with heating pumps and all that, but almost anything and everything else is too. So, unless you have an alternative heat source heating the home could be a problem.
During a power cut try not to open the refrigerator or freezer too much; ideally not at all.
While some people may think that having a gasoline or diesel powered generator on standby in the case of a power outage is the answer the problem is that (1) in a town home it is more than likely not feasible to run one without problems and (2) there is no way of feeding it into the house mains in general.
What I am saying now may sound a little conspiracy theorist to some but I am rather concerned that the energy companies have another agenda as regards to letting us all know that the lights might go out and the way I see it it is to make the consumer pay more in order so they can “invest in better infrastructure” and such and also to force the hand of the government to permit them to build new controversial nuclear power stations.
On the other had if the government would make it easier for people to have alternative ways of electricity generation at the homes, such as photovoltaic panels on the roofs, small wind turbines and also sterling engines, and others without the need for the lengthy and costly planning process many homes and even communities might actually be rather hardened against such problems and could create their own resilience.
OK, but back to the issue in hand.
In preparation for the possibility of the power failing this winter do have an alternative way to cooking and have food storage in place in the form of canned goods and dry goods rather than frozen foods or others that require refrigeration. And also foods that do not require cooking.
The keeping warm issue we have, basically, already discussed and it may be advisable to, if necessary, stay in one room, also over night, that can be kept warmest.
Most of this is, to some degree, common sense but in some instances common sense is no longer all that common and thus there are times when one does see to have list the obvious, and that also is to not leave doors open to keep the heat in the room and the house.
For lighting in the event of a power outage while candles may be to some the obvious choice and they are rather romantic they are not the ideal option. One of the reason is that they are an open flame and thus could cause a fire they are also, secondly, mostly made of an oil-based material the burning of which is not really healthy.
The best choice if flashlights and battery-powered lanterns, as well as and especially the hand-cranked lanterns that work via a dynamo changing internal batteries and thus are not dependent of bought alkaline or similar batteries or the charging of rechargeable batteries via a battery charger which, in turn, is dependent on the electricity working.
You also want to have a battery-powered radio available or more than one and, if possible, also at least one that can be operated via the same hand-cranked mechanism as the already mentioned lanterns.
Keep warm, well fed, and hopefully the light will stay on.