TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: The Great Queens Blackout Continues; No Relief in Sight

Re: The Great Queens Blackout Continues; No Relief in Sight

Dennis Ritchie (
Mon, 24 Jul 2006 06:34:05 -0000

By contrast with the major power problems currently in NYC and
reminiscences of telecom disasters in the past, here's an account of a
rather minor disaster that started last Tuesday evening on my street,
when a brief but rather violent Tstorm went through. The immediate
effect was that the power went out, because a transformer was knocked
off the utility pole across the street and was dangling, with its
wires (feeding my immediate area) strewn across the street. By the
next day JCP&L, the power company, or the town had put up barriers and
parked a truck (just a pickup, not a repair vehicle) in front. I
still had phone service (VZ).

On Thursday, JCP&L arrived in force. However, when they cut down the
transformer, the pole fell over, and the added wire tension also
pulled down the pole outside my house: both old poles were rotted at
the base. No phone now either, but a hell of a lot of wire on the

By about 3:00 Thu JCP&L had put in two new utility poles and I had
power. Later that afternoon, VZ arrived and did the preliminary
hookup to the new pole. The VZ guy bitched mildly that JCP&L had cut
their wires.

Friday, VZ came back and completed their installation (wire to the
house). Now had phone service (and the DSL still works). The cable
company (Comcast) was around too and did some pole setup but didn't
string the house wire. Maybe tomorrow.

I called all of these things to the various repair services just to
get my name on the record. JCP&L had already reported the two downed
poles to the others. What was interesting was the differences in
trying to register the problem. JCP&L was right on the case. Comcast
was easy to report to (but unlike the others hasn't finished yet).
Verizon, however, uses an infuriating voice-recognition system that at
the end tried three times to get me to make an appointment for a tech
to come into my house with a possible cost of $91 if it wasn't their
fault; all I wanted to say was "Your pole fell over. Your wires are
lying on my lawn." When I finally got to the human, things went
OK. Indeed VZ pulled into my driveway again just this afternoon to
close out my trouble report.

And, as I say, 2/3 of the services were back in a reasonable time,
given the storm disruptions in the NYC metro area over the past couple
of weeks, including a tornado in Westchester Co.


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