The Joy Of For-Profit Utilities
Last week the ‘rainbow pixies’ showed up in the neighborhood, which is the first sign that life is about to get inconvenient. They wander across everyone’s front yard planting little flags and painting lines on the ground: yellow for gas, blue for water, orange for sewer, and green for telephone cables. They say this is to prevent people who are going to dig in the right-of-way from damaging the buried utility lines, but it is really so they know who to call when they break something.
Early this morning they started digging while I completed my morning routine. Long about 10 my Mother called on her cell phone to say her landline phone was dead. Remembering the activity, I checked my phone, which was also ‘unresponsive with pupils dilated’ [You can’t say dead in a police report because that is an ‘expert opinion’ that officers are not qualified to make.] The DSL was also ‘pining for the fjords’. A quick check at the corner, and there was Bubba and his backhoe with a bucket full of little green flags with a cable hanging from its teeth.
Fool that I am, I assumed that The Phone Company might be interested, so I called the repair number and followed the menu tree until there was a choice to report damage to TPC property. I was in error, as I was only allowed to report problems with my individual telephone line.
They eventually sent a crew to patch things up today, but they told me that the soonest they could respond to my problem was on Friday because of the holiday. I assume that someone called on the private utility-to-utility line to report the ‘accidental damage’.
The guy with the backhoe was a contractor, as are almost all of the local utility service people these days, and they work as fast as possible to make up in quantity what they should be paid for quality.