Belgium’s electricity system would shame a third-world nation.

The official European range for the mains electricity supply is 230 V ±10% (that is, 207 to 253 V).

Every evening in the past week, the supply here has dropped in voltage below the acceptable range. I didn’t notice the dim lights, but I did notice when my UPS started beeping. Judging the supply too low to sustain the computer, it switches to batteries; after some time, the batteries are exhausted and it turns off—as does the computer. In fact, the supply is just sufficient for the computer to keep running, although not enough to cope with the power spike on startup.

Last night, I decided to check the supply with my faithful multimeter. It was 200 V for several hours. Even now, when it is actually within parameters, it scrapes in with about 210 V.

I’m not impressed.