Archive | 4:36 pm

Sweet Home Alabama!

10 Nov

     Another 44 hours without power and this time because of snow…and only a few inches…but they say the snow was heavy… as in heavy snow. So that makes 122 hours without power in the last 12 days. I have never experienced anything like this in New Jersey in the US of A in all of my 57 years. Maybe I’m just lucky, or maybe we’re all, country included, getting a little too old. And we sure picked a fine time to show our age: Now in the 21st century when we need power and electricity more than ever! One minute I’m on the computer, accessing the internet, charging my cell phone, watching television, recording another show on the DVR, texting a friend, tweeting on my iPhone while blow drying my hair. The fridge, washing machine, dryer and dishwasher are all happily doing their thing. The yard and driveway are lit up like a CIA compound in a third world country…and then poof! It’s suddenly the 18th century…for 6 days!!!

     Thankfully electricians from Alabama showed up and fixed our wires and got our neighborhood back up and running. Alabama?! I never, in a million years, thought I’d ever be thanking Alabamans for bringing me back into the 21st century!

     And Speaking of the 21st century…under New Jersey’s energy deregulation law, the supply portion of our electric bill is now separated from the delivery portion. However, it appears that thanks to deregulation we now have more energy suppliers in New Jersey than we have energy road crews! I can hear Glen Campbell now, “I am a lineman for the county and… I’m the only lineman left!”

     I googled energy companies in New Jersey and got tired after counting over 60 different suppliers from all over the country. How do they do that you ask? “Oh we just supply your energy but the same company you’ve always had delivers it through the same wires and from the same place!”

“Really?…but who fixes the electricity when the power goes out?”

“Oh it’s the same company that you’ve always had with the same great service!”

So nothing changes and I just have a new supplier and it costs less? That sounds great…and magical too! Everything I’ve always wanted in a power company! Until the power does go off and then we all sit around in the dark waiting for help from Tinkerbell because our “real” power company has been downsizing and laying off workers so that my old reliable lineman is now really in Wichita looking for a job because Kansas hasn’t deregulated yet.

I know it sounds like I’m just bitching and moaning because I lost my electricity in a freakish storm that will probably never happen again (fingers crossed) BUT, I live in a brave, new world where electricity is now more important than ever and we all use more of it than ever and we all need more of it than ever before.

So you’d think that in an advanced civilization and country such as ours that would translate into having more educated electricians and more skilled linemen and more expert and well trained power crews than ever before but sadly when I walk outside my home during a power blackout these days I am more likely to be stopped and accosted by someone who wants to sell me electricity than someone who knows how or wants to fix it!

We 21st century Americans know that the money is in the selling of things not in the fixing of things. Just ask Wall Street and Enron who came up with the idea of energy deregulation in the first place. You remember Enron don’t you?

On power deregulated Long Island they do. They haven’t had electricity for almost 2 weeks.

Yet on that wonderful truck that pulled into my neighborhood one cold clear November day it simply said “Alabama Power”. Sweet home Alabama, lord please don’t let them deregulate heaven!


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