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When the Power Goes Out at the Power Company

8 Mar

It is never my intention to use this blog to complain about services on Roatan. Living on a tropical island, in a third world country, has its own quirks and issues. I quickly learned, accept it for what it is and find ways to live with it…or move on. Power-outs are part of the way of life on Roatan. When we first moved here, it was not uncommon for the power to fizzle out, three days a week, for a couple of hours at a time, sometimes for the whole day or night.

Since the power company, RECO was sold to an American Company it has gotten much better. We can go a week or two without power-outs, and they are working to improve it even more. But the power did go out a couple of  Wednesdays ago. Most businesses, resorts and some private homes have back-up gas generators they fire up—we don’t. I’ve got the drill down-pat; unplug anything that isn’t on a surge protector (when the power comes back on the surges can fry the appliance), fill a bucket with water before the pipes drain (our well is on an electric pump), take my laptop (that has enough battery life, and go write on the porch (fans stop, it can be pretty warm in the house), accept that any blogging, emailing or skype calls will have to wait (need to get a 3G Tigo stick). But of course if my laptop battery is down, it won’t matter what gadgets I have. Dinner will be cooked on the barbeque (grill, for my American friends). I made a mean spaghetti—it can be done.

When the electricity stopped flowing on Wednesday, Dave had left to go to RECO, (to pay the electric bill) in French Harbour. What should have taken an hour at best took him more than three. When he returned home, I asked him what took so long…it would seem that our power company DOESN’T have a back-up generator, so…their power was out too! The line he had to wait in until the power came back on; snaked out the doors, and across the parking lot. It was the last day of the month to pay the bill…or you would have your electricity shut off!

I think there’s an oxymoron in there somewhere.

Remember the big power-out in North America, six or seven years ago? I lived in Paris, Ontario at the time. We were without power for approximately thirty-two hours. At the time it was devastating, everything came to a screeching halt. Doomsday predictions were made. Heads were going to role. How dare it fail? I remember, that night, sitting out on our front porch; I lit candles that formally had only been decoration, but blew them out, because they were…well, only for decoration. So then the stars and moon were our only light (I had never seen so many). And the silence, the calming, peaceful sound of nothing man-made; whirring, screeching, clicking or grinding. No TV’s blaring, no car engines roaring; nothing but crickets and frogs…I never knew that many lived nearby. Families stayed home—together, there was nowhere else to go, and most people quickly realized they were glad for the opportunity to spend time with their family and friends–without interruption from electricity generated sources.

 Ahhh…maybe it ain’t so bad when the power goes out at the power company.

3 Responses to “When the Power Goes Out at the Power Company”

  1. Linda Ladouceur 12. Mar, 2010 at 5:25 am #

    Hey Genny – after staying on the island for a month we did experience a few of the power outages. Being from North America, I did find it “annoying” but we really didn’t suffer any. It is pretty funny that the power company doesn’t have a backup generator when so many places on the island do, but it does not really surprise me! I’ll never forget shopping at the hardware store by flashlight!
    By the way, you sounded great on the radio the other day.
    Take care.

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