It would make for a better story if I was writing this from my laptop while huddled up at a coffee shop in the next town over because my office was without power, but so far we are fortunate enough to still have lights, AC and most importantly, internet access. But we, and everyone else, may not be so fortunate, as the heatwave will likely continue through the later part of this week. Everyone is trying to cram five days (or more!) of work into a four-day week, which means power consumption won’t drop off just because state officials are asking us to “flex”. We already run our AC at 78, but when it’s 106 outside and your work requires lots of electrical things, flexing can only go so far.
What happens when the lights go out
A lot of our clients have added UPS’s (aka battery backups) to their workstations at the office, and some have even gone so far as to add them to their home office setups as well. Some of you may even have backup generators, power walls and solar panels at home. This will help keep your food from going bad and provide some safety and convenience, but if you are experiencing a full blackout, all that power might not bring your internet back if the local infrastructure is also de-energized. So Cal’s rolling blackouts may not de-energize infrastructure because of how crippling it is for critical services like street traffic, emergency services communications, etc, but depending on what they view as critical, residential internet may end up very low on their list. In an emergency situation, like the recent wildfires, entire areas may be de-energized for safety, or even destroyed, resulting in a complete power and internet blackout. If you are a remote worker, you may want to make plans for how you might work if you have no power or internet where you work, and whether you have the technical capability to work elsewhere. On top of this, it’s probably also very important to know what critical things you use daily that require internet or cellular network access, whether it be staying in touch with loved ones, knowing critical phone or account numbers, or even addresses of safe places or friends’ houses and how to get there. When you sit down and really think about how much we rely on the internet for everything we do – can you function without it? Even if your phone has plenty of battery, is it as useful with no cell signal? Or is it just a very expensive but poor flashlight at that point?
Image by Boyan Chen from Pixabay