In Perth this week we have had the worst summer storm in nearly 40 years. Over 150,000 houses lost their power (and 5 days later, there are still many homes without power) and the city has been declared a Natural Disaster Zone.

We, fortunately, did not lose our power for very long. But it occurred to me that if we were still without power how would I manage to keep my business running?

So I thought I had better do some research on what sort of options would be available to me if, highly unlikely as it is, my power supply was interrupted for such a long length of time and I was unable to do my job. I’ve only been doing this for a year – so it obviously hasn’t been very high on my to-do-list, but I think if my power was off for a week my business would suffer.

We recently went away on holiday and I thought I’d be prepared and bought a pre-paid wireless broadband modem. I was really quite proud of myself, thinking that I was finally becoming technologically advanced, but when we got to the campsite I found they had WiFi set up for the campers! My how things have changed.

I knew this was available at our local globally franchised take away food outlet, but had never heard of it being available from a tent! So, I now have this modem available to me – the problem is I haven’t remember to top it up, so if I needed to use it during an outage I would first have to find my mobile phone (and hope it was charged), and then spend ½ hour on hold waiting, waiting for someone to help me. By the time I had topped up my credit the power would probably be back on.

So I decided to see if there was an easier way.

My first stop on my research was to look at UPS, or an uninterruptible power supply, as it would give me a back up option so I wouldn’t lose my work. I then followed that up with a general search for prices. EEEEK! What a variety of prices. They seem to range from $199 all the way up the the $7000’s.

Next stop was Satellite Broadband which sounded very complicated but, on further investigation, really wasn’t. And not nearly as expensive as I thought it would be. The plans I looked at appeared to start from around $10 per month, which is cheap for peace of mind. The only issue I would have with this is that our particular blackouts this week were caused by very heavy rainfall and very large hail. Satellite Broadband, from what I have read really only works if the skies are clear. So maybe this option is good as a backup, but this is dependant on the cause of the power failure?

After an hour or so of searching – these 3 options (including the camping modem) seem to me to be the best.

I would be really interested to hear whether people have backups in place for power outages? I would imagine that some of the Northern winter storms can cause the power to off for quite some time. Do you just use this time as a forced holiday away from the books?

I think I would probably use the down time to catch up on the mighty pile of books that are piling up next to my bed. Although, if there was no power I would have to fight the Other Half for the torch.

Amanda

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3 thoughts on “What To Do When The Power Is Off!”

  1. You know, I have been working from home for almost 4 years now, and it never even occurred to me what to do in the event of an extended power outage. BTW how is the connection speed with the prepaid modem?

  2. Amanda, I loved the title of your post, because it reminded me of times the power has gone out in Northport right in the middle of my business day. One time it was a Saturday afternoon in July! The bank, grocery store, gas station, restaurants, etc. all closed for the rest of the day, but Dog Ears Books soldiered on. There was enough light for people to find books on the shelves, and we’re very low-tech in general (e.g., hand-written receipts). I cannot tell you how satisfying it was to stay open while businesses all around me had to lock their doors!

  3. That was an amazing hail storm on your video. That hail looked as big as golf balls! I bet a few cars got some nasty dents.
    Satellite broadband sounds like a good solution. We are traveling to Paris for 3 months next year and I’d like to keep working. That could be the answer. Thanks for the info.

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