Monday, March 10, 2014

Power Politics

A few days of no electricity restores the ability to think in complete sentences ... dare I suggest - even paragraphs?
My street - a mile-long cut-in near Camp New Hope- suffered a downed power line across the road. Very dangerous. Not only was the line down, the pole from whence it came was jutting out at about 45 degrees, as though it wanted to fall but lacked the nerve. It was falling not from ice, but from mud. The ground it sits on just off the road and up a few feet in elevation was giving way. Nerve wracking to drive under and scary to imagine it coming down. From Friday morning until yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, we watched and waited. Though Piedmont trucks were often nearby, we didn't see them in the neighborhood until yesterday afternoon. Not even to evaluate. No cones - nothing.
A couple of our neighbors (I don't know who, but they SHOULDN'T HAVE) freed the lines somewhat by cutting away trees that were laying on them. With the nice weather on Saturday and Sunday, we were outside here and their and encountering many of our neighbors, comparing notes.
Indeed, we had ALL called Piedmont Electric and reported the downed lines. I posted pictures on WTVD's website and then linked to that via Piedmont's Facebook page --- expressing my unhappiness. I can understand that we have to wait out turn and, compared to post-Fran, these were NOT the worst of times. What bothered me was Piedmont's lack of information systems both for managing incoming reports of outages and for updating the public on status. Their "outage viewer" online is a piece of crap on a smart phone - which is all many of us have (with gratitude) for getting information. I called at least twice and it seemed each time that the person I spoke to had no idea there was a pole about to fall onto the street.
And, of course, I saw no sign of good old Governor McNugget during any of this storm. Perhaps he was working on the coal ash problem, but I thought that even if I saw him on TV or heard him on the radio, what would he say that would help me in any way? Nothing. He, like Piedmont Electric at this point, doesn't have much credibility with many of us. That's an enormous problem during an emergency. I need to feel confident that my governor is on top of things on a simple human level -- looking out for us, whether we voted for him or not. Perhaps I'm sentimental, but that's the standard I look to and nearly never like what I see.

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