Our electricity came back on without fanfare at noon Thursday — 38 hours after Tuesday night’s ice storm knocked it out for us and 5,000 other homes in Floyd County.
The restoration went so seamless we hardly noticed. Once our Guardian generator sensed the return of power from the Appalachian Power Company line, it restored the electricity to our home in stages and then shut down. The generator that supplied power to our home without fail for nearly two full days returned to standby mode, ready to kick in again should weather or AEP inefficiency prevail.
While crews restored our power, and that of our neighbors along Sandy Flats Road, some 3,700 homes in the county remain dark this morning, including friends and fellow bloggers Fred First and David St. Lawrence. David and Gretchen came by our home Thursday just as our power came back. They rushed home hoping theirs had been restored as well but it had not.
Some questioned our decision to spend $3500 (including installation) on the Guardian generator two years ago but the number of naysayers dwindled dramatically after this storm. At the Three Rivers District wrestling tournament in Floyd Thursday night, the most frequently asked questions was “do you have power?” Most answered “no.”
Wills Ridge, C.W. Harman’s, Home Depot, Lowes and others sold out of portable generators quickly and too many who had not tested their generators in past months found they could not start them in the frigid cold that followed the ice storm. Others who neglected regular maintenance faced engine seizures from low oil levels.
Our generator automatically fires up every Saturday morning for a 12-minute self check that keeps the engine lubricated and the battery charged. I’ll change the oil and filter this weekend as I’m sure both took a beating after running nonstop for 38 hours. Surprisingly, the oil showed no visible consumption and remained full on the dipstick. Our propane tank gauge shows 25 percent (or about 35 gallons) of propane use.
Extended power outages are a fact of life in the country (and also in urban areas in these times of hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters) but relatively stable power for the past few years lulled folks around here into a false sense of security and high doses of apathy when it came to preparedness.
You can bet a lot of Floyd County residents will be upgrading their backup power planning after this week.