Tuesday, Feb the 16th was a very unusual day. For one thing, two essential services went down; one from time to time and area to area, the other totally down from at least 7:30 AM when I first discovered that both the internet and the cable TV were no longer working. First a shout out going to the hard working men and women working on the front lines! This post is not aimed at them, rather it’s directed at the upper management of both providers.
Liberty Utilities had apparently been stretched to its service limits and maybe a bit beyond as rolling blackouts began popping up in a multi-County area. Yes, at 4 below zero over the course of Monday night, it was was pretty darn cold. Yet other cities get routinely colder and do not seem to suffer with as many outages leaving its victims shivering in the dark. Perhaps a review of either their infrastructure or load abilities would now be in order.
Mediacom came to the outage party unannounced and most definitely unwelcome. I wasn’t sure just when exactly that the entire cable went down. I was thinking it was sometime late overnight on Monday getting into Tuesday. Over the past decade of my association with the company, it was a very rare event to lose both TV and the Internet at the same time! And was the cold really responsible? Or, was it a combination of the rolling blackouts that added in a major problem. I never learned and that that lack of transparency was actually a hallmark of both services.
The bottom line is that I’m a little angry and upset. Both these services are very essential and when they don’t work properly, can be potentially life threatening. We the public, individuals who actually pay for the services, need to be more in the loop whenever things are about to go sideways. Liberty’s email effort to announce that there was a problem with an email advisory on the afternoon of Monday the 15th, did not get the job done, in my opinion. (Even City Utilities in Springfield did a bit better when it issued a Level 2 Load Alert, telling its Springfield customers to conserve energy early on that day). Both electrical co-ops hinted at rolling outages, but never really clued anyone in on just how serious things could and did become.
Eventually service was restored, without either agency offering up; 1) What events led up to the problems, 2) A description of the problems themselves, 3) How well crews responded and 4) What lessons could be learned to help prevent the same types of problems from happening in the future!
Transparency and accountability must be better locked into place to help insure our state’s citizens sense of security and safety going forward.