Electricity in Romania

Here’s what I keep saying to every friend and acquaintance who visits my house: you definitely need a voltage stabilizer if you live in Romania.

voltage-stabilizer

Around midnight last night the current started fluctuating wildly. Our UPS units were going crazy, clicking and kicking on and off, trying to contain the power fluctuations and cutoffs. After quickly shutting off all important equipment in the office, I went to see the voltage stabilizer down in the basement. It was going nuts as well trying to keep the current to our house stable, its arms moving quickly back and forth across the copper coils, barely containing the madness. I shut off all current to the house, fearing the stabilizer would burn out.

As I write this, it’s past noon (the following day) and the current still isn’t back on. Oh, it’s been back on and off sporadically, but nothing reliable to speak of. And I found out from one of our neighbors that the scrambling and bungling Electrica (that’s the power company) employees reversed the polarity on one of the phases in the neighborhood, which means they potentially burned out some people’s electrical appliances. As a matter of fact, another neighbor said his heating furnace shorted out and almost caught fire from all the electricity problems during the night.

This is part of the price one pays for living in Romania. It’s a beautiful country, but as they say, caveat emptor.

You may recall unreliable electrical power was partly to blame for a massive data loss that occurred to me a few years ago, before I replaced all wiring and fuses in the house and added the voltage stabilizer. The Drobo units I was using then simply didn’t have the capability to keep the data uncorrupted when experiencing multiple power failures within a short amount of time. They’d simply lose track of some bits, and then the corruption would spread across the drives, eating more and more data, to the point where the Drobo would cease to mount. Nowadays, Drobos come with built-in batteries that allow them to safely complete data operations and shut off in case of a power failure, and they also have some algorithms in place to ensure that data corruption is kept at bay, but it’s hard to trust a device meant to keep your data safe once it’s lost about 20% of your most treasured data, isn’t it?


4 Thoughts

  1. Awesome post, I take my power for granted living in the US. Even electrical storms, many people don’t do much, although I’ve had a relative have the TV blow up:-) But, this is on a different order.

    Really like your blog, read a bunch of older posts and enjoyed them.

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  2. It’s nice to see you posting again. You must be happy about being prepared for the voltage fluctuation this time. Good for you and everyone should take your warning to heart. I was once invited to stay at a vacation home near a large lake somewhere in southwest-central Romania (sorry, I have forgotten the name). It was a long drive from Prod and we were dismayed when we arrived to see the lake was almost completely empty. The shores all around were bare of vegetation, only old tree stumps were to be seen and the dam was high and dry. Oh, there were also some building ruins to see from a town that had been previously submerged when the lake was created. When I asked the locals why anyone would empty the lake in the middle of summer especially if this lake was known as a vacation spot, they said some corrupt politician had run the whole lake through the electric turbine generators just to sell the electricity. I bet that caused a surge! On another subject, I now hear that Romania wants to sell gas to Moldova to supposedly allow that country to become more independent from Russia. Problem is that Romania can only provide 75% of its own gas needs from its own sources. The other 25% comes from… Russia.

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    1. The gas situation is more complicated than that. From what I understand, and keep in mind my understanding of this issue is limited, Romania has some of the largest natural gas reserves in the world, but they can only tap them at a certain rate. In the winter, when demand peaks, they buy gas on the market to meet the demand, and Russia usually sells it the cheapest. So it’s actually cheaper for them to buy it from Russia than to tap more of its own reserves.

      Now, when it comes to politicians making dirty deals at the expense of the environment, yes, that I can believe. It’s typical for Romania. But what I also see is a lot of them getting prosecuted by the DNA and other government agencies for their corrupt deals. So the pendulum may be swinging in the other direction there.

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