Shame on SCE (June 1, 2014 post)




Only two posts since Memorial Day, a long week in-between as my energy and enthusiasm for the blog wanes. As we begin Week 4 of calf-weaning that entails gathering the cattle, sorting cows, then hauling cull cows and calves out of the mountains, feeding the calves twice-a-day for a week in the corrals before taking them to town, I’m wearing down.

Robbin arrived yesterday morning, after a week in Madera with her mother who is not doing well, to NO electricity and NO water. Seeing each other only on the weekends this past month, I left early Saturday to change my water on the irrigated pasture, feed the calves and run the sprinklers in the corrals to keep the dust down, hoping to have a late cup of coffee and welcome time with Robbin. Around 8:00 a.m. the sprinklers quit.

I went to the pump expecting a problem like bugs between the points of the pressure switch or bad capacitor, only to find I had no juice to the breaker switch. Assuming a vehicle altercation with a power pole that would soon be rectified, I left to see if Clarence needed any help getting a reluctant bull in. When we returned, still no juice and no water for fifty dusty calves. On the way home I checked the Bequette corrals’ brand-new Smart meter only to find a blank screen there.

With no electricity at home at noon, we called SCE to learn they had shut the power off for a scheduled maintenance to which we were supposedly given notice. Our lights began to flicker at 2:00 p.m., however we still had no water at the house. Unfamiliar with the code, ‘not Sync’ on house pump’s new Smart meter, I called SCE to find out if the problem was with SCE or our pump and electrical equipment. The sweet girl on the other end of the phone didn’t know anything about the code and promised to send a man out. I left to feed the calves again and check to see if the pump at the corrals was running, knowing I’d be back before the repairman arrived, as I mulled over all the possible electrical issues driving down the road, so angry I steamed past the hay I needed from the barn. After a U-turn and self-lecture regarding the ineffective futility of becoming so furious and overwrought, I was pleased to see the calves had water. On the way home, I visualized the location of all the tools and items I needed to solve our house pump problems.

240 volts to the breakers, but nothing out the other end. I replaced the breakers. Juice to the pressure switch and juice to the electrical pump box, but no juice to the capacitors. I pressed the reset button and Voilà: the submersible pump began to hum at 5:00 p.m.

The repairman arrived just before dark to inform me that ours was the third breaker issue due to the shut down, and furthermore, no one on Dry Creek Road remembered receiving any notice from SCE. This morning, Robbin and I addressed new issues with our refrigerator, and I suppose we’ll get used to the new dark cloud on our TV screen.

In the old days, we knew our local SCE representative personally, but like government, the hands-on people have been replaced by Smart meters and bureaucrats. What white-collar genius decided to turn the electricity off without warning during two years of drought? If this is progress and a sign of things to come, I don’t want anymore.

Shame on SCE, another insulated corporate screw-up!

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