The lights blinked off shortly before 8 p.m. Exactly 45 seconds later we heard the v-twin engine behind the house start and the power came back on, courtesy of 15kw of power from a propane-powered automatic backup generator.

We put the Guardian generator in right after we bought the house nearly two years ago and, other than the weekly 12-minute test starts it runs every Saturday morning, the only times we needed its services came when AEP shut down power in the area to replace a transformer at a nearby church and a second time when a wayward squirrel fried itself on our transformer.

Attempts to call AEP to report the outage proved fruitless at first. Apparently everyone else in this end of the country tried to call as well and Citizens Telephone just responded with an “all circuits are busy” message. When we finally did get through we got a message saying power was out in Floyd, Montgomery, Carroll and Grayson Counties and it should be restored by 10 or 11 p.m.

No problem. The Guardian kept power flowing to the house and we went about our business, working on computers, watching TV and enjoying other parts of a typical Monday night.

Shortly before 10 p.m. the generator powered down but the electricity remained on. Power was back and the Guardian took itself offline automatically after switching back to the power from AEP. The two hours of generation used less than 1 percent of our propane supply.

Technology triumphs. Life goes on.