Monday, March 30, 2009

Electricity in Sydney = Fail... Epic Fail

As I was hurriedly typing the minutes of a meeting into my computer (I try and do that on the same day as the meeting otherwise you can never remember what the scribble on your notepad translates to), we had a blackout.

You could hear groans from everyone on the floor as we all lost what we were working on! We hung around reception and tried to find out what was going on. As soon as we heard that the blackout had affected much of our part of the city, and it was 5pm anyway, we all abandoned ship and headed home. As we've never had a fire drill before, getting out the building proved to be an adventure - 15 flights of stairs later....

I'm glad I wasn't travelling by bus, however, because the traffic lights were also out (picture from Sydney Morning Herald website):

I found out this morning that the blackout was due to a power surge and over 100,000 people were affected. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that:

"Energy Australia said the blackout was caused by a fault in one of four major 132,000 volt cables that supply power to parts of the CBD, the inner-city and eastern suburbs."

Hello? Only four cables. For an entire CBD? How does that work?

The cherry on the top, however, was the decapitated rat left on the back doorstep by Kitty Smalls that same evening. Nice!


  1. Kim, four feeds is not really that bad. The real problem is a lack of preventative maint on most infrastructure. I suspect Sydney would be no different to Melb.......Power supply / conditioner with enough juice to back up, about 5 minutes worth, might be the go, see if the boss will spring for one, or 100 by the sounds of it.

  2. Up to now we have no kills to register for the cat as he is just learning to go outdoors and attack things and kill them for fun, he enjoys chasing flies for now.

  3. If traffic light went out here, there would be chaos! There are some really agressive drivers here, and everyone speeds and runs lights to start with.

  4. Yuk Sydney traffic without lights. At 132kV I'd expect three cable sets (no need for a neutral line) just have a look at the overhead supply lines, the lower ones with tap offs for housing four wires above that three or groups of three. Mind you it's been a long time since I studied power distribution.

  5. Yeah, epic fail alright! Recent events showing just how poorly prepared this country is for any kind of disaster...

    Our kitties are strictly indoor, but they love chasing flies, moths, and the occasional crunched-up cockroach left on the bathroom floor of a morning.

  6. Havock: It just sounds so small - four lines for 1 city! We do have a generator in the building but it provides only emergency power for the lights and one emergency response computer. Not my computer... My building is really two joined towers with 14 and 25 floors respectively, so it would take one hell of a gen-y to power that lot!

    Stu: Just you wait!

    Kate: Aparently people we being pretty polite, but still...

    Bangarr: Yeah, I don't get it...

    Tray: I reckon! We all just give up and go home!