Power Companies and Instant Gratification

Whenever super storms hit Massachusetts whether fall nor’easters or winter blizzards it is human nature, usually the dark side of human nature, that rears its ugly head. Far too many people delude themselves into thinking that the damage caused by near hurricane winds and heavy snow can be repaired in one day or less.

So NSTAR and National Grid become the easy targets of endless complaining by homeowners who must endure days of no power, stinging cold, spoiled food and raw emotions. Certainly it is not easy for contemporary Americans raised in a culture of instant gratification and entitlement to give the electric companies the benefit of the doubt and accept the fact that they are trying their very best to bring life back to normal.

So when officials from NSTAR and National Grid announce that they are working around the clock to fix the mess caused by Mother Nature’s wrath, their words fall on deaf ears. All that is heard from the public inconvenienced by downed power lines is nasty complaints, cries of incompetence and not so subtle claims of corporate greed and shameful political pressure to weaken regulations.

It rarely dawns on these folks that severe damage to power lines is not fixed with a wink and a wish. Fixing major power outages is a slow and time consuming process, no matter how many boots are on the ground. What we need here in the Bay State during these storms, and there will be more of these climatic knockdowns, is a little old fashioned patience and goodwill plus a dose of common sense.

Moaning and groaning about the power companies is misplaced anger. If there is a culprit to vent anger at it is the rapidly changing climate that spawns these seasonal havoc makers. NSTAR and National Grid are doing their best. Can they do better? Sure. But it is not a matter of incompetence or malfeasance or some sort of corporate conspiracy.

As the old saying goes, ” Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and certainly massive power outages can’t be fixed in a day.


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