Thursday, August 03, 2006

It's Always Darkest Before LIPA Fixes The Bloody Transmission Lines

The house is still wringing wet, as my sense of smell informed me when I entered it last night at around 7:15pm. Mrs Stevie and I decided we would eat out after setting up various fans and a dehumidifier, putting another load of washed clothes in the dryer and moving a shovelful of soaked ones from the laundry room floor to the washing machine and setting everything in motion.When we returned at about 8:45pm the house was in darkness. A quick check proved that yes, LIPA1 had decided to get in on the Plumbing Fiasco of Mildewing by preventing us running any sort of heat and damp mitigating appliances.

We decided to pick up the Stevieling and deal with the issue of whether to get a motel room or tough it out. Mrs Stevie called LIPA and spent a pleasant 25 minutes in their Humanless Problem Reporting Bot of Uselessness. They said it would all be fixed "by 10:30 or 11:30". I took that to mean 12 to 1am and we decided to tough it out, first of all in the swimming pool and then in the coolest room in the house. No sooner did I pull the solar cover off the pool but I got a call from LIPA's jaunty Robot of Glad Tidings.
"We understand that your power is now on. If this is true, press 1. If this is not true, press 2." I peered at the keyboard by the light of a Coleman lamp and pressed "2".
"We now understand that your power has not been restored. We appologise for the delay in service". And that was the last I heard from the stupid buggers.

Mrs Stevie and the Stevieling decided to turn in, but I couldn't take the heat inside. I opened every window and the back door to try and get a breeze in, but the air was dead still (of course). I was about to kip down on the sofa when it occured to me that we could all be murdered in our beds by some fiend cutting through the screen door. The answer was obvious. I would sleep in Mrs Stevie's outdoor recliner direclty in front of the door and block access to my loved ones using my body. In deference to Mrs Stevie's views on impromptu naturism2 I donned clean underpants before exiting the house and spent 3½ hours trying to sleep under the stars. I almost had the trick down pat when the power finally came back on, around 3:30am. I quickly decamped to the front bedroom with the others and set the small airconditioner on "Preserve Fresh Meat". Thus do I arrive at work refreshed and rested after the hottest night of this year so far. Well, if you can call 3 hours of sleep "rested", which I can't.

When LIPA was formed to replace LILCO3 it was on the grounds that LILCO was screwing up and overcharging. First order of business was to give the outgoing CEO a $48 million payoff for all his good work. Next was to screw around with the service calling, formerly so easy it almost worked itself, and make it "more efficient" (br reducing the incidence of actual service calls made). Third order of business was to raise the electricity rates significantly. So much for LILCO's overcharging. Fourth order of business was to replace the humans in the call center, who had the singular advantage of being able to write down the F*&^%ing street where the problem was with an automated one that "figures the problem out" from the home phone number you supply around 5 minutes into the voyage of discovery when you call the bleeding thing. Christ! This is supposed to be the most cosmopolitan town, in the most cosmopolitan country in the world. They can't even get a simple job like ensuring the power infrastructure can cope with expected and predicted demand in the summer. In reality, most NY utilities (such as Con-Ed, LIPA, Keyspan4 and the Long Island Rail Road to name but four) couldn't organise a decent piss-up in a brewery or get you laid in a cat-house. This city never sleeps? It's been comatose for so long someone should pull the plug and put it out of its misery.

1: Long Island Power Authority
2: See the hose incident from Monday
3: Long Island Lighting Company.
4: The Gas service that took over that part of LILCO's operation.

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