"Welcome to Pacific Gas and Electric Company. If you're calling about billing, press one or say 'billing.' If you're calling about outages, press or say two, or 'outage.'"
On Tuesday and early Wednesday residents of Oakland's Adams Point neighborhood -- 32,000 strong including this blogger -- had to hear that recording three times. The power went out along a massive area that made the entire district look the darkest it's been since the lights were deliberately turned out during World War Two.
The cause of this -- according to what PG&E told me -- was damaged equipment. But what bothers me is that the company has no automatic system to alert them to the problem. They have to wait until someone calls the company. Moreover, the person taking the call isn't even in Oakland or the Bay Area, indeed, after a certain time, they're out of state!
What also irks me is that the company apparently didn't fix the problem because it kept happening!
So now the power's on. But after three failures -- at 4 PM, 11 PM, and 6 AM this morning -- it makes one wonder if this is going to happen three times a day for the rest of the week leading up to Christmas.
It's also a look into what may occur during an earthquake. Make sure you have several flashlights and at least one that throws off a light that can illuminate a room. Also make sure you have a battery powered radio, and of course candles and bottled water. And a good portable generator's always good to have around.
But the bottom line is that PG&E must get it's act together. Maybe someone will figure out how to route power via The Internet, so we can have a better system!
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