Power is out in Petaluma. TWiT Live is down until it returns but no ETA. Thank goodness for the iPad 3G. http://j.mp/dt8Oii
I must admit that I am surprised and a little shocked that such an incident would take TWiT Cottage off-line. Leo Laporte is unusual amongst the online media community. His TWiT related endeavors are an unparalleled success. His transformation from traditional to online media is the stuff of future textbooks.
An enterprise such as TWiT should not be taken down by something so simple as a power outage when standby generators are sold at every Lowe’s and Home Depot across the country.
I come to this conclusion in the wake of Hurricane Ike, which left us here in Houston without grid power for over ten days. The morning after the storm passed we had minimal electrical power provided by an extension cord run from a neighbors portable generator.
It happens that our DSL circuit was still up, but the Comcast internet service was to be down for over three weeks. I was thankful for redundant sources of IP connectivity.
With the DSL still working and minimal power we still had refrigeration, lights and laptops running. Our entire network and IP phone system was up and running. In short…we were functional.
Our neighbor to the north had a 8 kw gas powered generator. It burned about 15 gallons of gas per day under 50% load. You’d be surprised how much power 8 kw actually is. It ran both of our households handily.
We used the time off presented by the storm to take a complete electrical inventory. From this we know that our entire household, including a 4 ton central air conditioner, will run on a 14 kw standby generator. This sort of thing is available for around $4500 for the hardware. Figure just under $10k installed with the requisite new service panel.
Of course, if you don’t need to run air conditioning you can get by with a lot smaller generator. We have all gas appliances which helps as well. In truth, the 8 kw portable generator was quite enough as long as the weather was not too hot. Its one great disadvantage was that it was seriously noisy. In fact, the sound of generators filled our neighborhood for weeks after Ike.
In contrast, natural gas fired standby generators make very little noise at all. When installed with an automatic transfer switch they fire up on their own when there’s a loss of grid power. As long as you have some modest UPS units to handle the bump when the switch happens you need not even notice that power was lost.
Better yet, based on my best estimates at the time of Ike, a natural gas fired generator would have only cost $400/week to run. That’s considerably less than running a noisy gasoline powered portable generator of lesser capabilities. At least here in Hurricane Alley the investment in the standby generator is added right to the bottom-line value of the home.
Whereas I and many such as myself might claim to be home office dwellers, TWiT is something more. Substantially more.
For an operation such as TWiT I would have thought that standby power would be a sensible precaution to have in place. If you’re serious about working from home, and you live somewhere where power is a variable, it’s certainly worth considering.