Have you ever faced something you thought you were powerless to prevent? Of course you have, and maybe you’re even in that situation right now.
It’s true that there are many things we can’t control. Right now, we—that’s you and I—can’t possibly control whether the U. S. bombs Syria, or global warming continues, or whether people continue to abuse animals or children, or accidents happen. The list is long, and as we know, to keep stress at a minimum, we shouldn’t “sweat the small stuff.”
Dangers of extreme heat
A few weeks ago, I received a notice in the mail that our monopoly power supplier, Southern California Edison, would be turning off power in several parts of my community on a Saturday, Sept. 7. It was to be a 12-hour shut-off, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., breakfast, lunch and dinner for most people. Turns out this community has many elderly residents who moved here in the 60s—medical literature shows that elderly simply don’t cope with heat the way younger people do.
The second wave of residents has moved into this village—50-somethings—bringing our attitudes with it. One of those is, “Don’t take it lying down.”
Make a difference
Staring in awe at this notice, I recalled a previous shut-off that occurred here in June, when temperatures were in the 70s. We have “June Gloom” in SoCal when the rest of the U. S. heats up. Our hottest temps occur in September and October, and indeed, forecasters projected the mercury would rise to 95 on the day of the soon-to-be outage.
Concerned about elderly with medical equipment dependent upon power, about spoiling food in a 12-hour period, and general misery—“But you can go to shelters”—I called Edison and was told that, “This has been planned for a long time.” Honestly, I also didn’t want to forsake a Saturday of work because my desktop computer wouldn’t be available.
You’ve got the power
As a member of the media, I decided to let the media help right this wrong. I emailed KABC, Ch. 7 in Los Angeles, and the following day I got a call. The station asked me to go on camera to talk about the perils of a power outage in super-hot temperatures. You can watch the story here. Two days later, and the day before the outage was scheduled, Edison posted a notice that it would be postponed.
I believe pressure from a few fronts helped make this happen. Morale of the story: You have more power than you think, especially when a story makes it to the television screen. Stations are always looking for good stories. Be the one who provides the next one to your local affiliate and know that change can happen if you make enough noise. Be that squeaky wheel.
And thanks to everyone at ABC7, especially Orange County Bureau Chief Eileen Frere and News Director Cheryl Fair.