Brownouts: Unplug!!!

bean angryBrownouts occur when there is a reduction in the supply of electricity. For example, we normally have enough voltage for our needs, then all the A/Cs are cranked and oops, brownout. Or perhaps one of CFE’s cuchillos blows out and the remaining sources aren’t sufficient to handle the full demand.


Brownouts, like the one experienced at Playa Caribe last month, can cause many electrical products to shut down or malfunction. Electronics are created to operate at specific voltages, so any fluctuations in power (both up and down) can damage them.

How to save your great new TV and state of the art microwave? Obviously they aren’t going to function well at reduced power — even a light bulb isn’t quite itself! When the power eventually comes back, voltages wildly bounce around for a moment and those fluctuations can also harm electronic devices. So don’t continue using electrical devices in a brownout.

It’s best to unplug computers, TVs, printers, routers, major appliances, and phones if you’re home during the brownout. Some experts recommend installing power strips. They won’t protect your devices during a brownout, but can help against the surges that come afterward.

How do you know when a brownout is occurring? Strange things will happen, lights will get much dimmer than normal or, if CFL, they may flicker more than once or twice. You may hear your fridge motor louder than normal as it struggles with the low power. If strange power things happen, you might be in a brownout.  

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