Blog: Growing up in the dark!

Do you ever feel someone or something is so precious to you but only realise it after they are gone? Not to sound too soppy or dramatic but in my […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Do you ever feel someone or something is so precious to you but only realise it after they are gone? Not to sound too soppy or dramatic but in my opinion this does apply to energy.

Well, electricity to be specific. Everyone knows it is crucial for everyday life. But I think you realise the importance of it even more when you are actually deprived of it.

Take for instance the news about the power cut in the US over the weekend. Hundreds of thousands of households were believed to have been without power since Friday due to the massive storm and snow – and many still are, according to reports. People who have never known what it’s like to be without electricity will find out how crucial it is. When they’re at home or the office for a few hours with no access to little things in life like, say, listening to the radio, watching television or even updating their facebook or twitter status. It makes one realise just how much industry, culture and daily lives depend on power.

And I know exactly what that’s like! Growing up in a country like Nepal which struggles to cope with the demand, resulting in hours and hours of power cuts or blackouts or, in other words, load shedding. That is when utilities switch off power supplies as they fail to provide the country’s required demand. And the same for its neighbouring country India. With school exams the next day, we used to stay up all night studying using oil lamps or what we called “emergency” lamps.

But with Nepal being a third world developing country, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise I guess but word of the recent blackout in some parts of the US has spread across the globe – I even wrote a story this morning!

Nepal used to face load shedding for around four to as many as 12 to 15 hours a day. Yes, 12 hours every single day! Imagine that! Although that figure has decreased recently. During my last visit, we had no electricity for at least five hours a day but I somehow survived. However, thinking of being deprived of power for even an hour here in England, it’s scary! How would we cope?

We know the blackout in the US will be dealt with efficiently and the demand can be met if such an incident occurs again. But it makes me think just how crucial Government policy is in every country – to be able to meet the nations’ needs and how vital it is for the UK Government to stop their “bickering”, as some have suggested and work together for the benefit of everyone.

It also makes me realise just how important it is for every single one of us to play our part in saving energy, even if that means just doing simple things like switching the power off electronics rather than leaving it on standby, which has an added bonus of reducing bills – and future blackouts!