Marianas Variety

Last updateFri, 22 Jun 2018 12am







    Thursday, June 21, 2018-6:26:48P.M.






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‘Your call is important to us…’

LAST evening the power went out again. My daughter and I were having dinner and watching Nancy Drew on Netflix. Then poof: total blackness.

This makes the third day in a row that the power has gone out. Fortunately, we have a candle and a lighter on our kitchen table.

Sometimes we awaken in the morning to see our digital clocks flashing 12:00 and the aircons are off. This means I have to rush around the house, resetting the clocks and turning the aircons back on.

I went to our hard-line phone (the others are cordless and require electricity) and called CUC.

First I tried the hotline, but it wasn’t in service. Then I called the standard CUC repair line and was on hold for a long time.

“Your call is important to us. A representative will be with you shortly…”

Then I heard the standard “music on hold” — the same kind of funky music that Atkins Kroll uses.

“All of our customer service reps are busy. Calls are taken in the order in which they are received.”

Based on my wait time, there were probably dozens of customers ahead of me, also being treated to the ubiquitous “music on hold.” Meanwhile, my candle had burned down half an inch.

I don’t know how long I waited, but a woman eventually took my call. She asked me where I lived and I told her As Teo. She said that there was a problem with one of the power generators but that they were working on it.

I told her, as politely as possible, “This is the third day in a row that the power has gone out!” She said that she was aware of the situation and that they were working on it.

As I spoke with her the lights popped back on. By then the food was cold and the TV had shut down.

This is getting old.

Clearly, CUC needs to get its act together, but I have no solution for them. I am not an electrician and don’t know the first thing about how power distribution works. If my toaster works I’m happy.

The old diesel generators are decrepit and need to be replaced with a newer and better energy source. The blackouts are more frequent and something needs to be done, and fast. This is not news: there have been blackouts ever since I’ve lived here. However, lately they have been more numerous — often island-wide.

Although the CUC people are well aware of the problem with the old power plants, and the need for a better energy source, the problem is — as it has always been — lack of financial resources. Whatever the new energy source is, it will cost a lot and take time to get it online.

One thing (which the CUC board has probably considered) is to hire an energy expert; someone who know how to remedy a lousy situation. That person would probably cost money also, but he or she might possibly come up with a credible plan to improve our blackout situation. Without a plan, we’re lost.

Until that day comes, eBay has good deals on boxes of candles and disposable lighters.

As Teo, Saipan