When Daglan goes dark

You’ve got to give credit to the folks at EDF, or Électricité de France. They keep working to improve the electrical grid, or réseau de distribution, so that our village of Daglan won’t have so many power outages. These days, it seems, the only time the power goes off is when EDF turns it off, so they can improve the electrical grid, in order to prevent power outages.

The fun part is that we get formal letters from EDF, informing us exactly when the electricity will be turned off (what day, and what times), and then we get to guess whether that will actually happen.

Last summer, for instance, we received letters (and by the way, I do mean letters plural, since my wife Jan and I each received our own letter) letting us know that the electricity would be turned  off one day, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Given that advance notice, we decided to escape from the village and do some exploring; I described all this in “Our Great Escape, and great discovery,” which I posted on June 20, 2013. The bottom line is that when we returned to Daglan in the afternoon, we found out that nothing at all had been done — the electricity never went out.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, Jan and I received identical letters, informing us of still more work, to take place on January 22 (that is, yesterday) from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. So yesterday morning, we rushed to get ready before the lights went out, and were dressed and ready to leave for our weekly French discussion group by 8:45. Still, the power remained on.

When we returned to the village around 11 a.m., the power had indeed been turned off; judging by when the clock in our church tower had stopped, the electricity was cut at about 9:10. So then it became a waiting game, to see when our electricity would again be turned on.

Most days, our house is pretty bright. But yesterday was a gloomy, rainy day, so there was not much light coming through the windows, and of course no light available from our countless lamps and light fixtures. And naturally, we had no Internet service either.

Our fish monger did show up with his van in the village square around 1 p.m. for his weekly visit, so Jan was able to buy some fresh fish for our lunch. And because our stove top burns gas, she was able to light the burners (with a match) and then cook the fish, as well as potatoes and a vegetable. But all through lunch, well past the 1 p.m. deadline, the house was dark, so we ate by the light of a large flashlight/lantern. Here it is on the table before lunch, when I was relaxing with a kir and reading a book on one of our e-readers.

A lantern on the table improves the reading experience.

A lantern on the table improves the reading experience.

Having missed the 1 p.m. deadline, the EDF workers apparently decided not to rush too much, as the power stayed off until some time after 2 p.m., after which it returned — for a few minutes. Then it went out again.

Still, I’m happy to say that once the power did return, a bit later in the afternoon, it stayed on. And so far today, we’re enjoying all those little benefits that come with electricity — like heat, light, a functioning oven and coffee maker, and Internet access. Lovely.

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3 Responses to When Daglan goes dark

  1. Chris & Paul says:

    I had three letters about this round of maintenance, one for July which I though was pretty good forwarded planning, followed next day by one for 8th Jan, then a couple of days arrived number 3 stating that the outage was due for yesterday morning. Glad it did actually happen.

  2. John Ison says:

    Vastly more civilized than Toronto at Christmas with 300,000 homes and businesses (1 million people) out for 3 to 10 days at temperatures from -5 to -20. Our house loses power about twice each month for anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours, but no warnings provided.

    • loren24250 says:

      John, this could be a growth opportunity for EDF — I know they are big in Europe, providing a lot of the power to the U.K., for one. Apparently EDF has 13,000 employees in the U.K. alone. They also do work in North America. Maybe some competition would do some good for Ontario Hydro…Anyway, I do know that Toronto went through a bad time because of the ice storm; a number of our friends were affected.

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