Saturday, November 03, 2012

Even panic must give way to reason

That's what I told someone last night at a gas station.

Starting yesterday, people up in Putnam County started going crazy that there would be no more gas. Like an unfounded run on a bank, there was in fact enough underlying commodity to meet normal demand, but people's panic brought the business down.

There was plenty of gas, and no lines, at exit 7 on I-84, where we were headed anyway to kill time and get hot food at Stew Leonard's.

City residents aren't en masse going to go as far as Danbury, Brookfield and New Milford. Maybe a few will be so irrational, but most won't, since it costs too much gasoline and time just to get a bit of gas. So many people are gullible enough to believe what they see on the news, such as one evening program showing a picture of someone siphoning gas from his SUV to use in his generator. That wasn't "desperation" as the news claimed -- that was simple practicality. That man wasn't going to spend a few gallons of gas when he had extra right at home.

Friday, November 02, 2012

The new word for incompetence and laziness: NYSEGian

As a friend put it, "They put the CON in ConEd." So when you've been screwed by someone on repairs that should not have taken anywhere near that long, you can say, "I've just been ConEdded."

The slow pace of repairs after Hurricane Sandy is beyond absurd. On Facebook, eyewitnesses have reported on what the news won't touch: NYSEG and ConED simply aren't doing the work. Out-of-town repair crews were brought in before the storm, but they were sitting in their rooms at the Westchester Marriott, not having been given any orders to work on. Fifty workers were spotted hanging out at the Eveready Diner in Brewster, having been told to go out and await orders, but the orders never came.

I haven't seen a single crew in my neighborhood, but they've been around. The first time was to cut down a tree, which had taken down a power line, then drag it across the street so it blocked the opposite lane. For the life of me, I still can't figure this out. Someone later came by to remove the tree.

In the last four days of driving around upper Westchester and lower Putnam, I've seen working crews a total of three times. Tuesday and Wednesday, the same crew was working on the same intersection near Putnam Hospital Center: four to direct traffic, three to drive three crane-equipped trucks, and six more to stand around and drink coffee. Wednesday, I saw another crew driving down Drewville Road. I don't know what they were going to work on.

Today, I didn't see any crews. This morning I did see a NYSEG truck parked by the roadside on Stoneleigh Avenue, work flashers going. He was eating something.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the inevitable result of having to rely on public utilities -- entities that are given a monopoly by government, eliminating them from worries of accountability to their customers.

Think of the business motivational poster with a handshake, captioned, "If we don't take care of the customer, someone else will." NYSEG and ConEd's motto is, "If we don't take care of the customer, who else will they turn to?"