When I woke up yesterday morning my power was out, so I called NStar from my bed to report it. An actual human being answered the phone. I am not kidding - a real person, with a Boston accent! I was so astonished I almost fell out of bed.
She very nicely took my information and I promptly went back to sleep. I woke up an hour later and the power was back on. The whole experience was utterly astonishing, and nothing like I've experienced in decades with a utility company. The last time my power went out there were live wires lying across the street in front of my house, and I still was never able to talk to an actual person. They fixed it, but I never did talk to a human being at NStar.
My theory about this is that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick put the fear of God into the utility companies before the storm hit, and to good effect if my experience was any indication. So my thanks to the Governor for getting my power back on so quickly, efficiently, and pleasantly!
My own tiny inconvenience aside, the experience of the entire East Coast this weekend with Hurricane Sandy and assorted colliding weather systems demonstrates for not the first time the importance of government in disaster preparation and relief. While some of this is done at the federal level, state and local governments play a critical role in communication with residents, proactive preparation, rescue, clean up and repair.
There will be other storms and weather events in the future, and while those of us in New England were relatively lucky this time, we won't always be. Part of investing in our communities is investing in disaster preparation and relief so we can protect, clean up and repair our people and our infrastructure.
Many thanks to the people who worked on the front lines of this storm - police officers, firefighters, EMTs, dispatchers, utility workers - while I spent the day curled up on the couch. And our best wishes for a safe and speedy recovery to our brothers and sisters in New York and New Jersey, who took a direct hit from this storm and are in far worse shape than those of us in New England find ourselves.