Wednesday, April 20, 2016

"Some calls may be recorded for training purposes..."

A call to the SSE, reporting a  power cut 

“Can you switch your generator off, Morton, so we can run through the trip switches with you?”

“Why? The trip switches are all on, and the generator is outside the house.”

“We find that if  you turn all the trip switches off and then back on again, sometimes the power is restored.”

“But the generator takes the place of mains power via a relay that then feeds into the meter and trip switches.”

“Could you do that anyway, Morton?”

“So you want me to make sure the power is off, then turn all the trip switches off, then turn them on again?”

“Yes please.”


“I’ve done that and the mains power is still off.”


“Do you want me to give any part of the supply a smart tap with the flat of my hand, in case that sorts it? And by the way, it’s Mister Morton. ‘Morton’ is my second name. Or I could go outside and shout very loudly at the pole-mounted and totally inadequate transformer down the road, which has failed before, and of which you should have a record? Or I could give the pole a good shake?”

“Thank you, Mister Morton. I will alert the engineer despatch team.”

“Thank you very much. Of course, I could stick a sharp knife into the cables where they come out of the ground and see if any kind of mild tickling sensation ensues, in order to prove no supply is entering the house and not  waste anyone’s time? Or perhaps - for safety’s sake, wearing rubber gloves - cut through them with an axe? Like Pete Seeger threatened to do at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival to stop Bob Dylan playing with an electric guitar?”

“You’re taking this too far now, Mister Morton.”

“Yes, you’re quite right. Domestic Marigolds would not provide sufficient insulation. And that Pete Seeger story is probably untrue. I will await the arrival of the engineer and turn the generator back on. Thank you for your time. But just to be clear. Your official advice when a mains power supply fails is to turn everything off, then back on again?"

"Yes. Goodbye, Morton.”

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