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One of the joys of growing up in a country town is the spirit of cooperation. If the telephone doesn’t work you ring one of the local technicians (everyone knows at least one) and he fixes it — no problem! Today, in the big city your call for assistance finds you connected to India.

Big city blues

My latest experience in the big city came from my curiosity into why we were blowing so many light bulbs, appliances and a TV set. Plugging my trusty multimeter into the socket showed why. The Western Power supply was 24V over the Australian Standards limit!

So, in my usual style I asked ‘a senior figure in the power supply business’ how to lodge a complaint. I was told: “Ron, I know that you’re an electrical engineer, so I’ll tell you exactly what you must do to get some action. You send a letter to your local Member of Parliament and he will steer the complaint through the regular channels. That is the only way you will ever resolve the problem.”


So, here we are several weeks later. Our local MP has now raised the matter with ‘the Minister’. We have been summarily advised that “we will be fitting a power quality recording instrument to your premises to monitor the supply within your area”.

Being an optimist I can only rejoice that the Minister did not refer the matter on to India or the Phillipines! Meanwhile, our trusty Honda generator is chugging away in the backyard so we can watch the occasional TV program without a further explosion.

Just as well we enjoy camping.



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