Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Electricity On a Schedule

I remember a time when electricity came at the flick of the switch, ever available and reliable. And on the rare occasions that the power went out, the magical effect of candlelight was accompanied by the excitement of a thunder and lightning storm. Long gone are those days!

I am still learning the intricacies of when and how the “current comes” out here. Kalleda shares electricity with three other villages. At the moment we have power every night from 6pm to 6am. There are eight hours of power cuts each day, the schedule of which changes each week. This week, for example, our four hours of daytime power are from 2-6pm. What a fortunate serendipity that Mac designed their batteries to last eight hours!

Today I learned about the phases of power. Phase I is enough power to run small household appliances; Phase III is enough to run farm equipment; Phase II doesn’t exist, go figure. Rural areas are allotted seven hours of free power provided by the government each day in order to operate bore wells, irrigation systems, and the like. In order to switch between Phase I and III, the power plant has to shut down everything for one to two minutes, producing the consistent nightly power cuts I’ve long wondered about. Another electricity mystery explained!

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