On February 13, a power substation in my area in the northern suburbs of Sydney had a fire causing several suburbs to lose power, in our case for 18 hours. My husband and I had an appointment several suburbs away, so it meant heading off through a lot of busy intersections. By the time we got through our town, police were on traffic duty. Luckily for them it was a coolest day in a week or so, for as it turned out the outage went for a long time. On our way home later in the afternoon, traffic flowed well through the highway with school zones in place and police busy on point duty.
A lady motorcyclist was hit and taken to hospital at an unmanned intersection later that evening. As far as I know except for someone trapped in a lift in Westfield shopping centre, there were no serious after effects during the blackout. The centre and movie theatres were shut and also local clubs. We all had a feeling we were in for a long haul.
Ausgrid — the electricity company in our area — put updates on social media. I was troubled by the comments from people complaining to Ausgrid how their food was spoilt, when was the power coming back etc. It is only natural to want to blame someone, but thinking about all those poor people in the flood areas in northern Queensland I really felt we had nothing to complain about.
I had cooked some meat before going out so we had cold meat and salad for dinner that night. Telstra was working so we had access to the news and were able to message family etc. who were also affected. Optus and Vodaphone networks were out. The outages stretched over many suburbs.
Usually we watch a couple of TV shows and the news, but that night we sat quietly and read before it got dark, then hubby went to bed. I was living in false hope that the power would return and I could get back to normal, but no such luck. It was a cooler evening so we had something going for us.
I heard children playing out on the street. I’m not saying they aren’t always out there, but the noise of our television must drown them out at other times. I read my Kindle until I decided I’d be better catching up on some sleep by having an early night, but somehow sleep eluded me. It was too dark and too quiet, my ears and eyes alert for the forgotten light or blinking clock that I was sure would wake me if power was restored during the night. We had torches by the bed to see us to the toilet, we knew that would be on the cards.
After a sleepless night, first light seemed a long time coming. My daughter had power for an hour then it went off again. When ours came on for an hour I had gone back to sleep and missed the window of opportunity to make a cuppa and charge the devices because it went out again. Two hours later at 9am we got full power back. Another first world problem averted.