So here I am, trying to start a conversation about a missing component for creating/improving a technology start-up culture in Pittsburgh, and a friend reminds me of one of my greatest Pittsburgh peeves. Duquesne light’s unreliable electricity service. Droopy hits the nail on the head. Since moving back here 17 months ago, I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to reset all my clocks.
In one recent incident, our power went out around 3 a.m. I called Duquesne Light when it happened and reported it (our carbon monoxide detector beeped and woke me up). Around 7:30 or 8 a.m. we finally wake up. Power’s still out; the house is cold. I call Duquesne Light and enter my phone number into their automated reporting system, expecting to get an estimated time when the power will be back on. Instead, I’m forwarded–after 15 minutes on hold–to a live operator, who seems irritated when I tell her that I already reported it at 3 a.m. She says thousands of people are without power and it probably won’t be back on til noon.
Other places don’t have these problems.
The thing that really gets me, though, is that everyone just accepts it, like the weather. Pittsburgh has a kind of fatalistic acceptance of all manner of poor service and other inefficiencies that would never be tolerated elsewhere. It makes me crazy. In the incident above, thousands were w/o power and it didn’t even make the papers. Scanning the local news for some explanation of what happened, I could find no mention of it in any local news, at all.
It’s like living in the third world. Maybe I should put up a windmill.