In which I anger Rick

At this point, the bad weather in Rochester seems to have subsided and spring is in the air (oh no, column after column about melodious songbirds and green shoots. Shoot me now!).

Rick and I have a fundamental disagreement about what the duty of the local utility is- I say it's to provide service as close to 100% as possible, and to keep the entire grid in good repair. Rick seems to have a different view (at least as his reaction to the wind storm a month ago and RGE's epic failure seems to show).

I offer an idea to the local utility- inspect the system. If you drive around, you see some poles with a lean to them- replace them as they are in danger of falling over in another windstorm.

I don't know the science behind it, but I am sure there are studies that show a lean of more than x degrees is more likely to fall, etc. So replace the poles that meet the criteria.

Also, I'm sure there's an expected life span of the poles- and I would HOPE the utility has every pole indexed with date of installation etc (and if they don't...what have they been doing with my money?). Say poles are expected to last 25 years- anything older...start replacing.

Same with trees near the poles- I'm sure there are best practices regarding this- start trimming the trees. If you see a situation where a large tree looks to be in bad shape- maybe contact the homeowner. I don't really know what the options are regarding this- is there anyway that the homeowner can be responsible if their nearly dead tree wipes out the grid for tens of thousands (I would think so- if your tree is badly damaged and I bring it to your attention and it comes down on my house- I remember reading case law that you could be liable- so have the utility send a certified letter to the homeowner telling them of the condition of the tree- it's worth a try- because you're too lazy to maintain your property should not mean I have to go without power).

Now is the time to start beefing up the infrastructure for the next weather event- it will happen. We live in the Northeast. And God knows you charge enough for your service- so how about making sure it at least is reliable.

The views above do not represent Rick's. He apparently thinks if the utility has a pinwheel hooked up to a paperclip and two double-A batteries, and they call that a backup system, that's fine. I take a harder stance with heavily regulated industries as I think the regulator fell asleep.

-Zjabs (Rochester's Official Columnist)

PS. I laughed pretty hard- there was an ad for Blue Rock Energy whom I guess from what I can figure out from the ad is another supplier in contract with RGE? But their ad mentioned that it was the same reliability you've come to expect (from RGE was how I took it). Run! Run now!

© 2017 Zjabs - 4/12/17


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