La grande panne d’électrique de 2016

Monday night, when Gergö and I got ready to go to sleep (read: were in bed reading on our phones), the lights went out with an impressive *clunk*. We were used to this by now and decided to just go to sleep and hope that electricity will return by the morning.

Sometime during the night I woke up to flashing blue lights and got up to check what was going on. It was the local electricity provider, working on restoring our supply. They didn’t get very far though. In the morning I woke up to loud banging coming from the ground floor. When I looked out of the window, all of the four gardiens working for the résidence (I think it’s around 20 buildings all in all) standing together in front of the house, talking.

I joined them to ask for a prognosis and they understandably couldn’t really say. Apparently four houses were affected by the blackout and people had been working on the repair since the early morning hours. I decided to flee to the café for work and tea. At least this time we had hot water :-)

I packed my battery pack, my phone, my computer and an extension to plug it all in. I stayed for several hours and cups of tea and still didn’t manage to fully charge the battery pack.

cables and plugs

I went home at around 4 p.m. The building was still without electricity and there were no more sounds coming from the basement. When I got a glass of water from the kitchen however, I noticed a hole behind the house. I went to the bathroom window to get a better look.

panne electrique

View from the back window


Apparently the flooding in June had done more damage than was originally assessed. There were pannes électriques after that, like the one in August. Probably short ciruits that caused further damage to the installations.

After the two blackouts on the weekend the syndic, (which isn’t a family of organised crime, but the property management), posted a letter on our front door asking us all to check our tableaux d’arrivée de courant, which we googled to mean fuse box. We didn’t really know what they meant. It’s there. It seems to work until there’s no electricity. Maybe they referred to the FI-switch, which according to LEO is called ground fault circuit interrupter in English. Or earth leakage circuit breaker.

Before we figured out what to do, the great big blackout of 2016 happened and that was that.

Gergö and I decided to not wait it out at home but instead go to Paris for dinner and a drink. We went to a craft beer place that has a special offer on Tuesdays. One of the reasons we decided to go there instead of the thousand other places in Paris is their all singing and dancing phone charging station with bells on.

phone charging station

We returned home to a nicely illuminated apartment around midnight. We had left most of the lights on before they went out. That night was the first time in 24 hours somebody dared open the fridge. It was smelly, but that’s nothing new based on our cheese supply.

By Wednesday morning the hole behind the house was closed back up and fresh grass was sowed. I’m hoping this was the last I hear of the overflowing of Yvette.

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