Twice recently we have had power cuts. A few weeks ago the hedge trimming machine cut through the electricity wire in the village and earlier this week we had a planned outage whilst EDF did some vital maintenance work on the line. Both times we quickly realised how reliant we have become on electricity and to not have it can be a right pain in the whatsit. However there are things you can do to make it easier to survive when you are plunged back into the Dark Ages!
30 Tips to Survive a Power Cut
At any time
- Know exactly where you can find torches/camping lamps/candles.
- Keep in a supply of the correct torch batteries as well as lighters or matches.
Before a Planned Outage Occurs
- Get torches etc out and ready to use - our electricity went out when it was s till dark!
- Charge up phones etc and back up all your work on the computer. I spent an hour yesterday uploading the gite to a French booking website taking ages to translate everything only to have the power to blip out for a second and I lost the lot. When I started again I saved every 5 minutes!!
- Freezers work best when full so, if necessary, a few days beforehand fill them up with plastic bottles filled with water (with head space to allow for expansion).
- The day before the planned outage set your freezer and fridge to a slightly colder than normal temperature
- As the power goes out add some pre-frozen freezer blocks into the fridge to help keep it cold
- Think about how you'll cook if your cooker is all electric - get in some food supplies that don't need cooking i.e. cake - a power cut is no time to be dieting!
- Check that elderly and infirm neighbours have everything they need
- Boil up some water and keep it in a flask for hot drinks.
When the Power goes Out
- First check it isn't simply your trip switch that has gone
- Check on elderly and infirm neighbours
Heating - If yours isn't working:
- Keep doors and windows closed to retain heat
- Wear several thinner layers rather than one thick one to keep warm
- Wear mittens, extra warm socks and a hat - most heat is lost through your head.
- Do something energetic to keep warm
- All snuggle up under the same duvet for an evening of spooky story telling
- If your oven is gas you can cook but any automatic lighting systems won't work so you'll need a lighter or matches.
- Use a camping stove but ONLY outside
- Light the BBQ
- Eat out or get in a take-away if local restaurants have power
- Eat salads - possibly a better option in the summer!
- Play games by candle-light
- Read a book - head torches are good for this.
- In the daytime move closer to the window to get the best light
- Open the fridge and freezer as little as possible
- If it is cold, store food outside in covered containers but not if it is below freezing.
- Carefully check that food has not gone off as it may well not store as long as the temperature inside the fridge rises.
- Enjoy the technology-free time.
- If all else fails and you can, debunk to friends and family who have power or the local shopping centre, café, library etc.
Electricity always seems to go off at the most inconvenient time although to be honest I am not sure there is ever a convenient time. With luck these tips will make your time in the dark ages a bit easier to cope with. Have you any other tips to add or have you any interesting power cut stories to recount?