Thursday, January 19, 2012


   My feud with NYSEG (New York State Electric and Gas) continues. Yesterday I received another call informing me my lights would be turned off for non-payment of $150 bill. I don't know about you, but I've paid for my electricity all my adult life and think it's a bit extreme to cut off the juice of a good customer, in the middle of winter, for this paltry sum. I told the woman I had just sent out the check (true dat). She said that the disconnect order was still in effect and I would have to call this number and....I cut her off and informed her that talking to her should suffice. "The check's in the mail. Cancel the disconnect order. I'm not calling any...." Then the line went dead. She'd hung up on me. The lights flickered.....but remained on. Phew.
    With the news yesterday of Obama stopping the Keystone pipeline it got me to once again thinking about power and it's delivery to the masses. I'm no different than most, completely dependent on my car and truck in order to make money. When gas goes up I make less. So I'm all for cheap, domestic oil and gas, but at what price? Do I want to give up the beautiful countryside for generations to come, as well as clean water and peace of mind, just for a couple of bucks? Fracking is a real threat in my backyard. So I can relate to how those farmers and ranchers feel out west. Pipelines for jobs? No way. One spill and you are fucked. Not worth it.
    We've just gotten the first taste of all the extreme weather to come. The fragility of the electrical (and oil and gas) delivery infrastructure is more and more apparent with every storm. For years I've suggested burying electrical, cable and telephone wires as a way of protecting them from snow, wind, flooding and minivans. As a fringe benefit, imagine looking across the road without having the view marred by poles and drooping wires. Of course it's much cheaper to set a mile of poles than digging and burying the lines. But set that against all the money spent in getting the power back on year after year as the weather gets worse. An FDR style Gov. work program could do the trick.
    A few of my kin are off the grid and I applaud them. But that's not for me. I need my juice and I'm willing to pay for it. Sure, once in a while I get a little behind on my bill.But should I constantly be at their mercy? Until the customized hamster wheel I've been modifying for the cats is finished and hooked up to the car batteries on the porch, I'll still be obliging to NYSEG. The next time that woman calls I'm going to suggest my wire burying idea. Maybe I'll get a break on my bill for having a good idea. Didn't a couple of bicycle mechanics invent the airplane?  


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