Fuzzy Honesty

The ongoing power outage at Rancho Deluxe is pretty damn inconvenient but seems to be a boon to subject creation here on the screed.  A couple of things happened since the last post which I’d like to share.  One is smart business, one is not.  The first comes from a restaurant here in town and I’ll publish it tomorrow as our Foodie Friday Fun post.  We don’t normally pop out to eat on Wednesday nights but after I tell you about what we found, we just might do so more often.  The second comes from our friends at Connecticut Light & Power, our local electricity provider.  I think they’re doing many good things in dealing with this crisis – here’s one not so good thing.

The CL&P folks, unfortunately, seemed to have had a stumble in their otherwise pretty good handling of a crisis.  The thing all of us without power want to know is when it will be restored.  It’s like any other consumer issue – what are you doing to fix it and when will you be done?  CL&P has a map they update every 15 minutes to show how many homes are still out by town.  They also allow you to check either by phone or the web as to an estimate on when your specific address will be restored.  Great stuff!

Until this morning, there was no data in the individual estimates.  Now, they show our house as being fixed not later than next Tuesday night (gulp) at 11:30.  Then again, apparently that’s what they show everyone in town as well as in neighboring towns.

If you’re going to promise the consumer something – a personalized estimate of when you’ll be done, you can’t lower everyone to when you think the last guys will be done and tack on a “but maybe sooner.”  That’s honesty, but it’s also fuzzy and maybe not true.  Some of us might take it literally and rent hotel rooms or move in with relatives.  Others may just take to social media (or blogs!) and write nasty things about the effort being made, which has been pretty good when you take a step back and realize there were over a million customers out four days ago and now 80% are back up.  Obviously since I can see from the interactive map that they restored 50 or 60 homes this morning (nice work!) it’s not taking until next Tuesday for everyone.

“I don’t know” is always a good response when you don’t.  Inaccurate information is never a good response.  In the time it’s taken me to write this, another 10 homes are back on-line.  Hopefully they didn’t take next Tuesday as gospel.

And now, I’m going to head back home and see if the lights are on.  You never know!

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