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Old 30.08.2012, 12:20
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Power outages/surges?

As I sit here in a thunderstorm, I wonder: Are power outages common in Switzerland? What about power surges that blow up your TV (or computer)?

I did a few searches on EF and all I find are threads about people being struck by lightning, not about power issues.

This might seem like a dumb question, but in the U.S. both of these are very common and one should always have electronics on a surge protector. We don't currently have anything on a protector here, and I am wondering if it it's even necessary.

Thanks!
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Old 30.08.2012, 12:24
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Re: Power outages/surges?

Happens much less here than in the US as a lot of the cables are buried underground. However it does happen, ours went out for about 5 minutes last night. In many years of living here, the longer power outages have been due to technical problems or malfunctions and not thunderstorms.
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Old 30.08.2012, 12:27
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Re: Power outages/surges?

I remember this earlier this year, but it wasn't caused by the weather..

Power cut in Zurich City

Personally we've had no problems with surges or power cuts, maybe other areas of the country have?
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Old 30.08.2012, 12:28
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Re: Power outages/surges?

I've lived here for 24 years and still await with anticipation my first power cut.

There are power outages in Switzerland, but they are rare, so much so that they using make headline news. Spikes in storms are more common and I've had my PC reboot before now thanks to one...
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Old 30.08.2012, 12:31
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Re: Power outages/surges?

It wasn't related to a storm but a few years back (2005?) the entire national rail network went down for hours and hours due to a power failure.

I'll try to dig up the linky if I get a mo to search.
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Old 30.08.2012, 12:47
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Re: Power outages/surges?

Thanks, everyone!

Sandgrounder: the rail issue sounds like a nightmare and a few people probably got fired! Appreciate the link if you can find it.
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Old 30.08.2012, 12:47
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Re: Power outages/surges?

Its rare anyway, and in newer houses, the built in protection systems in the house tend to be very quick reacting systems so additional protection shouldn't be needed. If your house only has old fashioned thermal fuses though, I'd recommend that you get an inline surge arrestor, and there is no harm getting one anyway if you are particularly concerned about it
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Old 30.08.2012, 12:50
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Re: Power outages/surges?

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Thanks, everyone!

Sandgrounder: the rail issue sounds like a nightmare and a few people probably got fired! Appreciate the link if you can find it.
Here you go...
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Old 30.08.2012, 13:00
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Re: Power outages/surges?

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Thanks, everyone!

Sandgrounder: the rail issue sounds like a nightmare and a few people probably got fired! Appreciate the link if you can find it.
I was thinking of this more recent one in 2009 (in French) http://www.20min.ch/ro/news/suisse/story/10260039
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Old 30.08.2012, 13:06
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Re: Power outages/surges?

Quote:
I'll try to dig up the linky if I get a mo to search.
http://www.gotthardbahn.ch/downloads/stromausfall_medienkonferenz2.pdf

http://www.gotthardbahn.ch/downloads...nkonferenz.pdf


There was some maintenance work and part of the network was taken out of service, the estimate was that there should not be a problem. Unfortunately there was a two second long huge power demand (Maybe too many trains started at exactly the same time?) and the system diagnosed a short circuit, and shut down. It could not be recovered quickly due to SBB safety procedures.

There are plans to add extra power networking, so that the demand will not arrive at the same point again. SBB engineers are being taught to think outside the box, and to expect the impossible.

.

Last edited by Sbrinz; 30.08.2012 at 13:26.
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Old 30.08.2012, 13:07
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Re: Power outages/surges?

We are a bit more worried about our house getting struck as it is really old, dry and has an old metal chimney. There were 2 strikes last night... likely less than 50m away. We're going to check out what got struck later today... Somehow the little one still managed to fall asleep faster than we did
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Old 30.08.2012, 13:08
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Re: Power outages/surges?

In urban area, where mostly all power lines are undergound surges are virtually non existent (but still possible). Also outages are rare. At the country side it can be more common as more power lines are above ground. I for my self had never ever any electronics fried. A friend of mine lost his whole computer, CPU, motherboard, hard drive, graphics card because of lightning. But that is all I know of. Nevertheless, I protect some of my home electronics with a surge protector.

Causes for power outages can be critters:
http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/29684666/print.html
http://www.ebl.ch/de/news-presse/new...n-von-diegten/
http://www.luzernerzeitung.ch/nachri...t;art97,192661

Or technical:
http://www.tagesschau.sf.tv/Nachrich...ie-Muffe-war-s
http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/zuerich/...story/31514568
http://www.bernerzeitung.ch/region/b...story/23794303
http://www.aargauerzeitung.ch/aargau...onen-124086503

Construction work:
http://bazonline.ch/basel/land/Strom...story/10519159

http://www.bernerzeitung.ch/region/s...story/20798990

Trees that were to near:
http://www.google.ch/url?sa=t&rct=j&...K334ZsWdIbzWTQ
This one affected probably the most people, fortunately most of them in Italy
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Old 30.08.2012, 13:24
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Re: Power outages/surges?

Had a powercut on Sunday, it was only 15 minutes but it must have done something serious, as they had to take the power down again in the early hours of tuesday morning, planned this time.

It also blew up my cable service, the technician fixed it yeterday, said an amplifier had blown.
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Old 30.08.2012, 13:53
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Re: Power outages/surges?

We have several power outages per year - but most are due to construction companies cutting the underground cables when digging.

Not surprising, as when we bought our house the Grundbuch extract mentioned underground power lines - but when we asked for the plans so that we knew exactly where they were it turned out that such things did not exist. Apparently the Grundbuchamt had no idea where the underground lines (power and water) actually ran.

So every so often a hapless construction crew working in the neighborhood hits a power line, and the lights go out. Power is usually back on quickly, in 3-4 hours at worst.

However in the 8 years I've lived in this house we have not lost any appliances due to power surges. Nor have we had any power outages due to storms.

When we lived in our other house in a different canton, we had a couple of power outages due to storms - and in each we lost phones and modems. I suspect, however, that was because the landlord had done some 'creative' electric work.
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Old 30.08.2012, 14:30
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Re: Power outages/surges?

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As I sit here in a thunderstorm, I wonder: Are power outages common in Switzerland? What about power surges that blow up your TV (or computer)?
You can easily find power surge protector plugs and plug banks, in all of the usual DIY/electrical stores.
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Old 30.08.2012, 14:46
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Re: Power outages/surges?

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We are a bit more worried about our house getting struck as it is really old, dry and has an old metal chimney. There were 2 strikes last night... likely less than 50m away. We're going to check out what got struck later today... Somehow the little one still managed to fall asleep faster than we did
Lightening doesn't really care how old or dry your house is - it's just looking for the easiest path to earth - like metal chimneys.

If there are things around you that are higher than your chimney, it might prefer to conduct through these - although there is no guarantee - it still may prefer your house.

In the fractions of seconds it takes for lightening to travel to earth, in the very last moment, the lightening strike actually attracts electrons upwards to create a conductive path (if you've ever seen one of those slow slo'-mo' VT's of a lightening strike, you can see the upward lightening travel) - so fate as already been sealed.

Just try not to give out those negative vibes.

Incidentally, there are official subsidies (25% I think) for blitzschutz (lightening conductors) for private residences.
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Old 30.08.2012, 14:50
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Re: Power outages/surges?

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As I sit here in a thunderstorm, I wonder: Are power outages common in Switzerland? What about power surges that blow up your TV (or computer)?

I did a few searches on EF and all I find are threads about people being struck by lightning, not about power issues.

This might seem like a dumb question, but in the U.S. both of these are very common and one should always have electronics on a surge protector. We don't currently have anything on a protector here, and I am wondering if it it's even necessary.

Thanks!
How do you have enough outlets in your apartment to run everything without power strips?
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Old 30.08.2012, 15:03
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Re: Power outages/surges?

@Caviarchips - Good to know. We are in a new-ish flat, butbased on the other shoddy work we've seen in this building I would not besurprised if they just skipped the protective measures to save money.

@runningdeer - Link didn't work for me. Thanks anyway. Maybethe site is temporarily down due to a power outage.
@Sbrinz - Thanks for the additional info/links.

@puhutes - No kidding . Hope all turns out okay.
@aswiss - Impressive collection. I was aware any of thosecould cause a problem... but like most foreigners I just assumed everythingworks so perfectly in CH that it was impossible to have an outage.

@TiMow - Yes, of course. I was more wondering if it wasnecessary and curious how many people have experienced outages and/or surges.
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Old 30.08.2012, 15:07
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Re: Power outages/surges?

Quote:
It wasn't related to a storm but a few years back (2005?) the entire national rail network went down for hours and hours due to a power failure.

I'll try to dig up the linky if I get a mo to search.
It wasn't the whole rail network, just up north.

Tom
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Old 30.08.2012, 15:11
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Re: Power outages/surges?

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It wasn't the whole rail network, just up north.

Tom
My boss was stranded in Geneva - believe me, I KNOW the power cut extended down there because it was my fault. I, apparently, broke the trains that day...
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