Above is our electric meter. Rather than having a monthly reading taken and then our bill being calculated it works a bit more simply here. When the number on the screen (ours is showing 221 KWH – kilowatt hours, that is) reaches 0, the power is cut! So, this number will continue to decrease based on usage. To add more energy to the meter I simply pay a visit to the local electric company store and buy some. They then give a receipt with a long number on it, which I bring back and punch in on the meter keypad. Presto! The KWH number increases!
While on the electricity topic, I thought I would include a photo of what I call our “phase selector”.
This sounds like a fancy name, but as you can tell it is simply an electric plug that can be connected to any of the three wall outlets (in the photo it is plugged in the middle one). The electricity coming to our apartment building comes in 3 separate phases, all 220 Volt. Sometimes when the power is cut, it is only one or two phases, so if we switch the plug to one of the outlets that still has power we don’t have to suffer through the cut to the other phases! Other times one phase experiences a “brown out” where the voltage drops (maybe due to a welder being plugged in next door or something else that really draws a lot of electricity). It seems that many homes only have 1 phase coming to their house, but I have also seen other places with 3 phases. It certainly is a “premium feature” of our current apartment and we are glad to have it. More than once we have been saved from a long outage by having the other phases available to us. Now, whenever the power is cut the first thing to do is run to this “selector” and try them out to make sure you aren’t missing out!
Now you may wonder what “Fi kahraba?” means. It literally means “Have electricity?” and is a common introductory question I use with neighbors on days when our power is out.