Monday, November 05, 2012
We're entering our seventh day without power at home. This in the state where Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. There is progress. We can see street lamps glowing about a quarter mile from the house. Power company workers are picking their way up the hill and through the mess that Hurricane Sandy left. For the most part, communication has been good throughout this crisis. There are two conspicuous failures. The power company let it be known that we would have electricity by midnight last night. That didn't happen and now the company is saying sometime this week. People in my neighborhood were visibly deflated. It is not only dark but cold and sitting in a house around a fire is getting less than cuddly. The other mistake is New Jersey Transit's lack of communication about the status of its rail system. NJ Transit has said nothing for days. We have no idea when the system will be back up and no progress reports on clearing trees and reinstalling wires. The riders I know are angry at the agency for ignoring its customers, and my guess is that it has created a long-term reputational issue for itself that a few tweets, web-page entries and blog postings could have cured. One wonders how an agency can fail in a state where the governor has worked overtime to make himself visible and show leadership. We will cheer when the lights come back on and feel relief when we can go to the train station again. We might not feel so charitable toward the power company and transit agency.