Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Before There Was Light

The Outage

Sitting in the dark, I tried to remember what it was like without electricity.
Farm in the 1940's
how strongly electric is associated with light.Sioux Falls Light and Power Company building
Where was the first electrical plant located?
The Electrical Light Company was located on the east side of the Sioux River near Eighth Street. D. L. and C. E. McKinney started the company in 1884 with capital stock of $75,000.

the Delco Plant was called a "Light Plants", Light Department \
kerosene lamps, alladin lamp

Another Outage

The other morning, after waking up, I got the coffee maker going, got dressed, walked the dog, and was about to sit down at the table with NPR, the newspaper, a cup of coffee and a bowl of Grape Nuts when the radio went off. I scanned the kitchen and got a blank stare from the microwave meaning "Yes smartypants, I'm dark and I need some electrons over here." Looking out the window I saw an Xcel Energy truck go by; so evidently the electric company was onto the problem or was messing with my electricity today. Curiosity engaged, I went out to have a look. Down the street I could see lights flashing and several 'cherry pickers' waving around the high-lines. After finishing my breakfast I walked down to where the cluster Xcel trucks were at the side of the street, their cherry pickers now retracted to the top of the trucks.
Xcel Energy Trucks on Old Orchard Trail 
I walked the couple blocks to where the trucks were parked and talked to one to the Xcel linemen. He said they were upgrading the line and would have it back up and energized in less than an hour. He added that there had been some overloads in recent summers so they were replacing the conductors to increase the capacity and also adding a conductor for three phase capability which a customer had requested. I think I know who that was, but that's another story for another time.

Whenever I see high-line poles being placed or removed I am reminded of when the REA came to our farm place in Lincoln County South Dakota

The Highlines

The Delco Light Plant
The flood and the war
The light switch was a small knob that you turned about a quarter turn until it clicked and the light would come on, except for when the batteries were run down, then Mamma would be kind of upset and say something about "When is Daddy going to come home and run the generator."
Poisoned by Carbon Monoxide
candles on the xmas tree
cutains afire
highline poles in the yard
the electricians working on the house
The Frigidaire with ice cube trays, Kool Aid aka nectar