No Hay Luz

The electricity went out in the middle of the night.  The problem with lack of power throughout the town is that the power is cut to the pump where the town water comes from on the Arriba side.  When the power is out on our side of town only (Abajo) we can still get water from the town through the bypass of our water tank.  (Eventually there is supposed to be a generator put in place so that during power outages the generator can be fired up and the town won’t be without water.)  We could solve the lack of water by installing our own generator to supply electricity to our tank but so far we only think about it when the power actually goes out.  We’ve managed thus far with our sporadic outages by having extra drinking water on hand, both in the refrigerators and in large bottles and a very large covered garbage can beside the house that stores water for heating for dishes and toilet flushing.  If we needed to we could also dip into our supplementary storage tank but that entails pulling out the ladder.

As I was sitting this morning pondering the beginning of hour six of a full town power outage I began to think about the other things that we have in the house that makes the lack of electricity a mere inconvenience instead of a tragedy.  Here is my list:

  1. I always have a pack of baby wipes and a supply of hand gel in the house. We can use these for hand washing when there is no water.  Baby wipes also work well when water is lacking and we’re feeling a little “skunky”.  I also keep some Lysol wipes on hand for quick clean ups without water.
  1. We have plenty of nice smelling candles in the house. Although we also have a large amount of rechargeable lights and flashlights which help to make our house the best lit in the pueblo and I’m sure the district; the ambience and smell of having a few candles burning makes the lack of electricity easier to bear.
  1. We love our battery operated all-weather radio. We keep this out on the back porch and use it constantly, electricity or no electricity.
  1. It’s convenient to have a mobile internet stick that can be removed from the router. As long as it will connect with a cell tower we still have internet.  The laptops are usually fully charged as are our Kindle e readers.
  1. We’re very lucky to have a house that has big screened windows and doors and good air circulation. We don’t use a lot of air-conditioning and when the fans shut down in the middle of the night we still had a nice breeze when the rain storm rolled in.  I’d hate to be trying to sleep in a house that needs constant air conditioning when the temperatures are still in the high 20’s or low 30’s.
  1. I’m so glad that we have a gas stove and barbecue with a side burner. The stove does have an electric starter but we’re still able to use it by manually lighting it and we can use the barbecue if it’s too hot in the house to use the stove.  We also have a stove top coffee maker and recently we found a Melitta single cup manual drip like we had in Canada.  It’s now easy to boil water and make a cup at a time.  We used to have a French Press but I’m a little clumsy when it comes to glass items and I’ve broken my fair share of the glass vessels.
Having one of these makes mornings without electricity a little easier.

Having one of these makes mornings without electricity a little easier.

Thankfully power outages aren’t as frequent as they were the first year that we lived in Panama but they still occur.  I’m just glad that I have Mr. Preparedness for a spouse and we are able to muddle through without too many problems now.   And I have to admit that I do enjoy the quietness of no hay luz in the campo every once in a while, even with the thunder rumbling in the distance and the rain pouring down.

Just in case you think only in Panama:

About indacampo

You'll find me at blogging about Panama...and other things.
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16 Responses to No Hay Luz

  1. Asiaelle says:

    Grew up in the Caribbean and South America, where power outages were never a surprise.

    Great advice and info. Makes me a bit nostalgic about the “old” days. 🙂

  2. mcmoller says:

    Esta luz en la plaza y arriba del pueblo. Uso ATM del banco. No luz abajo de plaza y nos barrios.

    • indacampo says:

      There was a little pocket in the Banco Nacional area that apparently had luz. What a weird grid this pueblo has.

  3. Nice that you are so prepared for the outages. I love that you only think of getting your own generator when the power goes out! Funny how that works. We’ve “thought about” getting one for our vacation home because of frequent outages. Fortunately they are usually pretty short and we still don’t have one!

    • indacampo says:

      Ha! We “browse” occasionally when we see them in the stores and even looked at them at the fair. 🙂

  4. John Pazera says:

    Great points!

  5. Loca Gringa says:

    I’ve always been lucky here to either have tinaco’s on the roof or a cistern in the ground … sometimes both. With those, no electricity doesn’t affect my water supply. Also have an inverter and 4 batteries that can keep us going for about 8 hours or more. As long as the electricity comes back on for at least 12 hours a day my batteries re-charge. Where I am now I don’t need the inverter so much.

    • indacampo says:

      There are pluses and minuses to being on town water and thankfully the power outages aren’t as frequent as they used to be. Do you have an inverter generator?

      • Loca Gringa says:

        It’s not so much a generator as an “appliance” that charges batteries, then when the power is off, automatically funnels it back to the house for the areas that are predetermined. Not the heavy stuff like refrigerators, but a couple plugs and lights. La bomba de agua and refrigerators are on separate circuits.

        Cost is about 500 USD for 4 deep cycle batteries and about 300 USD for the inverter. Awesome piece of equipment.

        Your electric bill is a little more because of the charging of the batteries, but if like here at the moment and the temperature feeling like 39 degrees celcius with the humidity, you want a fan 😉 Well worth the extra cost.

      • indacampo says:

        Interesting. Like a generator without the bother of gas and obviously the noise and pollution.

      • Loca Gringa says:

        The following is what I have. Just Google:
        Inversores Wave Lite 115Vac/60Hz

      • indacampo says:


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