Thursday, September 8, 2011

The utilities should be ashamedl

The rain has let up, at least for now. It looks as if the next Atlantic storm is going to hang a right and go on a vacation to England. The storm, Lee, that is causing all the problems for people in the Southeast and Middle Atlantic states, as well as upstate New York and Connecticut, is what steered Katia away from us and into the Atlantic on its way to England.

We're not out of the woods yet, with Maria looking as if it will either hit or skirt Florida and Nate following Lee.

We just got our electricity back in our synagogue on Tuesday, one of the last few dozen to be hooked up in New Haven. We had the work done on the building where the huge tree branch ripped down the wires Sunday. That was done last Tuesday night. Then we waited. Electrician called on Wednesday. Be right there. I called Thursday, told them we needed light so we could pray Friday night and Saturday. Supervisor said should not be a problem.

Called again on Sunday after our congregation could not use the synagogue on Friday or Saturday nights. Must have been a misunderstanding, I was told definitely by the end of Sunday. Called again Monday morning. The operator said she would have to make up a ticket. Finally, early Tuesday, the wires that always had been hanging from the pole were connected to the wires that had been hanging from the building for nearly a week.

Each day there was a promise made but not kept. Now the excuse it that the system UI uses to communicate to its crews is different from, and incompatible with, the system it uses to handle requests from its customers. And they say the utilities don't spend any money on infrastructure!!!!! A mom and pop business would be embarrassed to say they had such an old-fashioned and non-functioning communications system.

The people at SeeClikFix have offered to be a conduit for the separate halves of the UI system. They should not have to. This is up to the company to fix this.

That is, if it really is the problem. The real problem is the same one the city suffered last winter: thinking it could get through a major weather event with minimum resources and minimum planning. The utility has laid off a significant percentage of its crews to save money. The people it depended on to bail them out also were in the path of the storm.

That helpless feeling

I am amazed at the thick heads demonstrated by television talking heads when telling people how to get information during a weather event such as Irene.

Tune in your television. Wrong. No juice, no TV. Computers?
Yes, you can get a couple of hours from the battery, but without electricity to power your modem, how do you get the Internet, how do you get the stations' Web pages.

Got a smartphone. Fine, for two or three house. With no electricity to recharge the battery, it goes dark all too soon. I know.

That leaves battery-powered radio. Great. Except in New Haven.

As I have said before, WELI, which had had a tradition of real news-gathering, is a cruel joke. By midafternoon, the announcers who had taken phone calls from people and tried to pass on whatever information they could glean from the totally overwhelmed electric utilities gave up, saying they had been on too long and needed a break.

So what did we get on WELI for the rest of the storm? Sean Hannity. Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and other syndicated yakkers. Nothing from New Haven.

WICC did a great job about Bridgeport. WTIC, another station that usually features the radical right, kept broadcasting news about the Hartford area. WCBS radio kept on 24 hours a day about New York.

I knew more about what was going on in my daughters' neighborhoods in Manhattan and Queens than what was going on in New Haven.

These guys should be ashamed.

Whether the weather

It has to be hard to be a weather person. You are wrong even when you are right. I understand that.

But why do weather people try to scare folks.

You, as a weather person, know that Katia is going to miss the U.S. But you as a broadcast or television weather person don't say that at the top of the news show. You says, "Will Katia hit Connecticut? " and then we have to wait 23 minutes to find out what you should have said right away: Katia will not hit the state.

Why can't we get a full weather report, at least for the rest of the day and evening, at the top of the newscast? If I'm ready to go out, I don't want to wait through five minutes of news, 10 minutes of ridiculous spots and three mind-numbing features about cats and people who walk their dogs while whistling before hearing if I need an umbrella.

Until next time...

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