No-Name Winter Storm Cuts Power, But There’s a Happy Ending Right in My Backyard

The weather forecasts for January 30-31 in Rye were ominous – a rainy deluge coupled with winds gusting up to 60 miles per hour. These were accompanied by Nixle warnings from the Rye Police Department that power outages and flooding were likely.

a4 con ed
Published February 7, 2013 6:13 PM
4 min read

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a4 con edThe weather forecasts for January 30-31 in Rye were ominous – a rainy deluge coupled with winds gusting up to 60 miles per hour. These were accompanied by Nixle warnings from the Rye Police Department that power outages and flooding were likely.

 

By Bill Lawyer  

 

a4 con edThe weather forecasts for January 30-31 in Rye were ominous – a rainy deluge coupled with winds gusting up to 60 miles per hour. These were accompanied by Nixle warnings from the Rye Police Department that power outages and flooding were likely. 

 

Having lost power for ten days back in October and November, I don’t think I was being paranoid to think that bad things might happen – and they were expected overnight when it’s the most difficult to do anything about it.

 

I imagined one of those horror movies when suddenly the lights go out, scary soundtrack music plays, and you start hearing creepy noises. 

 

So I went to bed early, thinking that at least if I had to get up and deal with things in the middle of the night, I’d be somewhat rested. 

 

But it was hard sleeping with the roaring sounds of gusty winds and the occasional splatters of driving rain on the windows. 

 

By 3 a.m. I decided to get up and check to see if there was any water in the basement.  Everything was bone dry, thank goodness. I got out the iPad to make sure there had not been any change in the forecast. I was just getting ready to go back to bed – or actually go to the sofa in the living room, as I wanted to be closer to the basement – when the power went out! 

 

Now I’ve tried to be frugal with power use – minimize my impact on the planet – but I did need to keep warm and didn’t want to throw away perfectly good food. 

 

I waited a few minutes before doing anything, in the hopes that maybe it would come back on – but no such luck.  So my wife, whom I had managed to awaken with my moaning, said, “Call Con Ed,” and handed me our latest bill with the phone number and our account number.

 

After getting out a flashlight and LED camp lantern, I made the call – but first writing out the numbers in large letters, so I had some hope of getting them right on my cell phone – which fortunately was fully charged.

 

I went through all the phone-tree hoops and finally got to the place were I could tell the computer voice at the other end of the line what my problem was (I chose “no lights” which was one of numerous options) and what my account number was. The computer voice thanked me, and then reported that my problem was part of a “bigger problem.” 

 

The voice then said that I could call back for updates to find out when the problem might be fixed. This was about 3:45 a.m. So, I went back to bed and actually slept for a couple hours. Around 7 a.m., I decided to try calling back to see what was going on. Fortunately, this time I didn’t have to go through nearly as many hoops – just pressed the “star key” after dialing the main number. And, even better, my computer voice friend told me that the problem should be fixed “by…11…am… January….31.” 

 

Wow! What a change from back in the era of Hurricane Sandy, when it was several days before I even got a service restored date estimate – and that was (as I mentioned above) ten days after I had lost power.

 

So I went for a walk around my neighborhood and realized that my problem was actually part of a very small problem – just my street, and one block of two adjacent streets were without power. 

 

I’m not sure how many other customers were without power in Rye, but it must not have been too many, judging by the lack of mention in Friday’s daily newspaper. According to News 12 Westchester, Con Ed reported 4,000 customer outages countywide. 

 

And yet, I guess I was still somewhat suspicious based on the Sandy experience, and I decided that if I didn’t see any sign of work being done, I’d call again. 

 

But, at about 9 a.m., I happened to be looking outside when I saw a Con Ed pickup truck driving slowly by. I ran outside and asked the driver if he had any news. 

 

His answer was music to my ears: “We’ve located the problem and we’re working on it.”  Needless to say I thanked him profusely. 

 

Sure enough, a Con Ed bucket truck arrived shortly afterwardsand a repairman started working at a utility pole around the corner on Hill Street. I walked out to take some photos and personally thank him. By 10 a.m. he came down and drove away. 

 

And, ahead of schedule, our lights came back on at 10:30. I’m sure that I can say on behalf of everyone in my neighborhood: “ Now that’s the way it’s supposed to work!”

 

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