When water becomes a luxury

Published on December 2, 2016

Letter to the Editor

Snow. Gale force winds. Heavy rain and freezing rain. Put them all together and you have the recipe for messy, miserable weather, something like what many parts of Prince Edward Island encountered this week.

Add in some extended power outages, like what the eastern end of the province experienced this week, and the level of discomfort goes through the roof.

We might complain about power rates from time to time, but most people have come to depend on and count on the comforts and the luxuries that come with heat, lights and running water.

Most things that we take for granted when they are just a push of a button or a flick of a switch away can become sources of frustration when they cannot respond to our demands.

Let’s face it – we’re a tad spoiled.

The frustration mounts as the temperature inside the home drops, the pile of dirty dishes grows and the battery life on the cell phones and tablets drains low.

It is in times like this that generators earn their keep. In fact it is times like these that often prompt some households to invest in generators for emergency use, maybe even as a family Christmas gift.

But those units have to be handled with care and be properly vented. Members of one Island household had to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning when a generator developed a venting problem. Care also has to be taken to ensure generators are not sending power back onto the line where repair crews might be working.

The one true blessing in this week’s miserable weather was that the temperature remained relatively mild and repair crews were able to maintain a work schedule. Colder temperatures and snow-blocked roads would have extended the outages and added greatly to the discomfort of those suffering even more.

There were also emergency shelters set up where families could go to get warmed up, freshened up and to charge their mobile devices. Acknowledgements must go to the volunteers who helped keep the shelters running.

Special kudos must also go to the repair crews who have worked throughout the week to restore power, and to utility customers for their patience and understanding throughout this ordeal.

Hopefully this is the last of such extended outages for this winter, but, just in case, there are probably things most Islanders can do to prepare, like having on hand batteries for flashlights, oil for the lamps and perhaps even a few good books, board games and puzzles stashed away to substitute for electronic entertainment.