One of the things that we didn’t really appreciate about our old apartment until now was that it was on the same power grid as the Bank of Lebanon, which meant that we very rarely lost electricity. Now in our new place, we experience the rolling brown-outs with the rest of Beirut. Basically, the power is cut off every day for three hours. It’s on a schedule, so we know when it is going to happen, and it’s only between the hours of 6am and 6pm.
Most buildings, including ours, have a generator, and for a monthly fee you can opt in to using it while the electricity is off. In our building at least, you can choose how many amps you want from the generator, which dictates how much you pay as well as how many electronic devices you can use at once. We are definitely having to get used to life on the generator. For example, the hot water heater takes up too many amps, so we have to make sure it is turned off before we go on generator power. If I want to run a load of laundry I need to make sure it will be finished before the generator turns on, or it will stop in the middle of the cycle. Or, if we want to use the microwave, we have to make sure any A/C units are turned off.
It’s not a huge problem when we forget, it just trips the breaker. Unfortunately the breaker box is in a locked room downstairs that we have to get the concierge to open for us. Which stinks for him at 6am!
So for now, we have lots of conversations consisting of, “Hey, do you have the A/C on back there? Can you turn it off so I can use the microwave?” or “Did we remember to turn off the hot water heater before we left the house today?”
I wonder if it is something that we will ever completely be used to, or if our poor concierge will just have to deal with us knocking on his door and apologetically asking him to flip the breaker back on for us. :) Ah, that’s life in Beirut!
posted by: nicolette