January 20th, 2010

As If Life Wasn't Stressful Enough...

The power lines to our house are down, and the conduit has been ripped off the side of our building. I called the electric company, and they said that we need to get an electrician to repair the conduit before they can reconnect the wires.

So, I have a few requests:

- Could anyone recommend an electrician north of Boston?
- We have two freezers (of the typical refrigerator/freezer size) full of stuff that would prefer not to be above freezing for any significant length of time. Does anyone have freezer space that we could use?
- Do you have somewhere that some or all of us could stay while we get this fixed? All of us includes
three adults and three kids (13, 11 and 2) these days. We also have two dogs and three cats, but we will
board them at a kennel if this is going to take a while.
- Have any of you experienced a similar situation? If so, do you have advice on what we should do? I'm
wondering, for example, whether we should do something to turn off the water so that our pipes don't freeze.


Well, That Was Quicker Than Expected...

Amazingly, our power is back on!

When we called National Grid this morning, we were told that NG would repair the line from our house to the street, but that we had to hire an electrician ourselves to repair the conduit and wires attached to the house. They told me that reconnecting our electricity would be a five step process:

- National Grid would come out and disconnect our lines. They told me that the electrician couldn't start until that was done, and that they would "probably" get around to disconnecting our wires today.
- We would need to get a permit for the electrical work.
- Our electrician would then repair the conduit and wires.
- We would need to get a wiring inspector to come out to the property to inspect the work and inform NG that it was save to reconnect our service.
- Then, NG would come out and reconnect us to the electrical grid and restore our service.

Fortunately, it turned out that our wires were still live and lying across the road. (I understand there are few cases in which that would be described as _fortunate_, but it was in this case). NG is, apparently, much more responsive when they get a call from the police reporting live wires across a street than they are when they get a call from a homeowner about wires down in their yard.

We were also lucky to find a _very_ competent and well-connected electrician (Buddy's Electric in North Andover) via Google. Buddy displayed amazing skill in expediting the entire process, largely by ignoring the order in which things are supposed to be done. He arrived just after first light, talked to the permitting people on the phone and got permission to start now and do the permit later, met the NG people when they arrived and (magically) convinced them to string the new lines before they left, leaving live lines available for Buddy to reconnect. He repaired the conduit and reattached our service. Apparently someone will come by at some point to inspect his work... This all took him less than 4 hours from the time he arrived. Go, Buddy!

We're very happy to have our electrical service back!!

In an ironic twist, I went up to Owen's school this morning for a meeting with his guidance counselor, and when I came out of the meeting, my car wouldn't start. Sam had been waiting in the car, working and (unintentionally) draining the car battery. We called for a jump, and there were no additional problems, but it does feel like someone up there is laughing at me today...