Are politicians born stupid or do they develop that skill in Law School?
This is a sample of many articles on the subject of power outage problems in New Jersey and New York:
Governor: Utilities Could Lose License if Electricity Isn’t Quickly Restored
By Colin Campbell 11/01 6:58pm
Mr. Cuomo then described his selection of penalizing tools he can use against any utility companies that are overly sluggish in this job.
“The state regulates the public utilities. The state certifies the public utilities. Their performance in this operation I believe is germane to their regulatory status,” he continued. “If the state believes they were not diligent and aggressive in their activities to restore power, they could be subject to monetary penalties. They could even lose their certification. I have communicated this orally to most and we are also releasing a letter that I sent them today. I believe, as I said, most of the companies are working very hard and are trying their best. But this is not just about effort and good faith effort, this is about getting the job done because a lot of New Yorkers are relying on them. If they want to be a utility in this state, if they want consumers to pay the bill, if they want to be licensed by the state, certified by the state, then they have to perform.”
Perhaps the Governor is not skilled in math. Perhaps long division escapes him. Take the number of downed lines, flooded switches, blown transformers. Take the total hours to repair. Divide by the staff hours available per day ( there are only so many licensed and approved linemen and electricians who are also members of the ‘right’ unions in your state, so allowed to do the work). That’s how many days it will take to complete. Oh, and like it or not, somebody has to be the last person connected.
So you can change WHO is that last person, but not when.
The only way around that is higher costs. YOU can pay a lot more in every single bill, keeping staff ready and on call, keeping extra spare parts paid for in inventory, waiting for the once ever 50 year event. OR, you can accept that in this kind of expected and not exceptional, but infrequent, event; it will take a long time to rebuild a broken system.
There are things that could be done longer term to make this problem easier to fix, but New York is not known for being bright about such things. For example, YOU could waive union rules and licensing rules during disasters and allow crews from other States free license to join in the repairs. (There have been news reports of crews turned back for not having union cards, for example). YOU could change the permitting and building codes such that large buildings do not have their electrical switch rooms below grade, where a minor storm surge results in a flooded and destroyed electrical room. Or just don’t let so much be built on sand bars and coastal flood plains. (YOU can change the building codes…)
Furthermore, perhaps it isn’t a reasonable expectation that if you live in a flood zone on a sand bar, someone ELSE is responsible for your rescue and restoration inside days after a hurricane. Perhaps YOU ought to be letting people know that when they make stupid decisions on where to build, it isn’t someone ELSE who is responsible to ‘fix it’, and pronto too.
Now, does that mean you must be heartless about such folks? Not at all. I’d suggest that you send caravans of busses through those area and offer a “one time one way trip” to a shelter that has warmth and light. There ought to be plenty of those that are not in the mile or two coastal areas. YOU could also offer a bulk purchase of portable generators (cost to be added to their property taxes) and a daily fuel truck to deliver fuel (credit cards accepted). That could be done by contracting with larger vendors (perhaps even out of state, so not affected by the storm). Likely you could be up and running inside a day or two.
But I suppose that’s just not good politics. Better to curse someone else for the darkness than to light a candle…
No, not at all.
I’ve lived in the country where we had power outages every winter.
I’ve lived through a 7.x quake where lots of the place was out of action for about a week. (We all just pitched in an ‘fixed it’ ourselves. We didn’t bitch about the folks who were already working hard to fix things; we helped.)
I’ve lived through the Democrat Governor Grey (out) Davis and rolling power outages every summer (and occasional outages in winter). Bought 2 generators. One small one for initial use, one bigger one for more extended outages when running the major appliances was needed.
It’s called “self reliance”. Something I was raised with.
So first and foremost, perhaps you ought to start running an “education campaign” on how to be self reliant? Add in some nice old fashioned free markets and the place would be humming with power generation and clean up crews. Think with a public announcement that for 3 months anyone could ‘do business’ in those areas without a license might encourage a few thousand unemployed folks with gloves, shovels and pickup trucks to drive in with a truck bed full of generators, gasoline, and stoves /food?
But instead we see “anti gouging” laws. Sounds good. Politically smart. But, if gas is selling for $3.50 / gallon and can at most have a 10% rise or you get punished, that’s $3.85. That won’t pay the freight (literally) to haul in gasoline or generators from remote locations. That you then would also penalize the folks doing the fuel and generator delivery for “business without a license” (and who knows what other legal crap) and, well, there’s just no incentive for private folks to “fix it”.
I can only conclude you would rather sit in the dark and bitch, smugging about price gougers getting spanked and threatening the ‘limited allowed approved licensed union dues paying utility workers’ for not having feather bedded enough in the last 50 years to be able to cover this as ‘Business as usual’.
Yes, you can be happy that lots of folks have managed to get “control” of their domain (regulators, unions, politicians). That this then breaks the ability of a market system to adapt and respond to unexpected events is only natural… To then complain about the system YOU have constructed is interesting theater… but perhaps not in the way you think.
I continue to be amazed at the “Extraordinary Power Of Stupid”.
I grew up in a place where being stupid was your right, but only you would be responsible for it or pay for it. We had “stupid”, but it was contained in small patches. Now we have “shared stupid” and “organizational stupid” and even “systemic governmental stupid”. The ability of Stupid to cause general havoc has never been stronger. And the result shows.
From the Federal Food Insurance program that now “socializes” the cost of flood stupid to everyone (and is painfully in deficit) encouraging massive building in flood plains (guess whey the are called that?) and on mobile sand bars (as they all are), to the over regulation of commerce that breaks flexible and innovative response, to the selling of privilege for political favor; we have a new Power Of Stupid at work.
But do I really have to listen to Stupid complaining about the system they built? If Bloomberg and Cuomo are an example, apparently so.