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HERE WE GO again--maybe. Hurricane Sandy is chugging toward the East Coast and may have significant impact from Virginia Beach to Canada.
If the storm turns inland along the Delmarva Peninsula--Delaware and portions of Maryland and Virginia--millions of homes could lose power for days.
As a precaution, I'd like my electric supplier to park a service truck outside my house so that if my power goes out, I can get it back right away.
I don't really care about anyone else. I just want to make sure my power is restored immediately so I don't miss any good television or have the milk in my refrigerator go bad.
The power company should go ahead and park a fully manned truck in every neighborhood before the storm hits. That way it'll be ready to restore everyone's power immediately.
Anything less should be deemed unacceptable. Power companies should be ready to respond, with workers on duty 24 hours a day.
Better yet, power companies should come up with some kind of computer software that will tell them which neighborhoods will be affected by storms such as Sandy. Then they could make sure no home loses electricity for more than a few minutes.
There's no such computer program? Hire mind readers or gypsies with crystal balls. A good, responsible electric company should know what is going to happen before it happens!
And if the company can't predict what will happen before it happens, then it should at least park a truck near my house. I cannot live without my electricity.
Pretty arrogant, right? Well, that's what customers seem to demand. They expect an electric company with maybe 25 service trucks to respond to a million homes without power within a few minutes' time.
They expect utility companies to be mind readers, to know where problems will occur so they can be there ahead of time to fix them.
After every storm that produces prolonged power outages, customers scream bloody murder when they are not the first to get their power back on. Some, especially in major cities like Washington, threaten to sue. They force legislators to hold hearings to determine why the utility companies failed.
And their biggest failure?
"Not getting my electricity back on first! I'm more important than anyone else."
OK, a big old storm may be on the way. Maybe residents should alert electric companies about where the power failures will be.
"Oh, we don't know yet! But the power companies should! They're the experts!"
No one is an expert on weather--not even weather experts. Nature strikes as it will and we are powerless (pardon the pun) to do anything about it.
Maybe this storm will spare us, but maybe it won't. But whatever happens, remember that the electric company is not asking the wind to blow a tree down on the power line and take out your service.
Goodness knows, workers don't want to be out repairing downed lines 24 hours a day in wind, rain and cold.
Remember, too, that some homes are going to get service back first and others are going to get it back last. That's just a fact.
If you want to make sure you continually get your power restored in a hurry, move close to a hospital. Hospitals almost always get electricity back first.
Of course, if you move close to a hospital you have to put up with ambulance sirens all hours of the day and night and the noise of helicopters landing.
But that's life. Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world.
There's another solution. If you don't want to move near a hospital, buy yourself a generator. Even a small one will keep the TV going and the refrigerator cold.
What else is important, right?