JCP&L or also known as Jersey Central Power and Light is unfortunately my forced power supply company in Long Valley NJ. This isn't the first time I've been without electrical power and those of you that know me for a long time, know how important electricity is to me. However, this is the first time I'm generally angry with JCP&L and it's not due to the lack of power, it's due to their lack of communication.
OK so quick background. Hurricane Irene blows into town. We have electricity - no problem through the night and then through most of the day on Sunday. The kids and I even went outside to play catch in the afternoon. Then as I was bragging on Facebook our power went out around 3:30. It's still out The only reason you are reading this post is that one of our friends in Long Valley lent us their generator (we had more than one person offer us). We didn't plug in our fridges or freezers because they defrosted on the overnight. So over 24 hours later still no JCP&L but that's not what has me angry.
What has me angry is the utter lack of communications from this company - specifically this "lack of information, restoration chart". It's inexcusable in a world of texting, internet, Twitter, and Facebook. How can a company in 2011, not know these tools exist and they are dirt cheap. Let's take a look at how awful their communications are:
- That chart has not been updated. Does anyone in this state actually believe you have NO RESTORATION INFORMATION? Of course not.
- When you cruise Twitter, all there is information on how bad their communication process is. People are downright angry not due to the lack of power but due to the lack of communication.
- How about a text messaging program or email program to let me know when you have restoration information.
- Writing about email, PSE&G who I use for the office building in Union NJ has been emailing me once a day since Irene was bearing down on NJ. JCP&L - nothing.
- When you visit their website you see a big graphic regarding the hurricane so clearly someone there thought, hmmm, let's throw up a graphic except the clicks to that graphic bring up useless information including links to useless press releases.
- Oh back to the "no restoration information" map, when you look at power outages in Long Valley the count is going down which means power is being restored, so clearly, THERE HAS TO BE AN UPDATE OF SOME KIND.
- So, no Twitter, FB, website updates, email updates and no useful press releases. All of which are cheap and could probably be handled by existing staff. So what happens? People call into their call center and this drives up costs and actually creates angry customers who have to sit and listen to hold music.
- Finally, my last rant, I am sick and tired of being told not to touch a downed power line. Give me something more useful than that
Seriously JCP&L you have to be better than this. Communications in the digital world aren't so hard and if I was there, I guarantee you I can make a positive business case just by saving on inbound calls. Please try to embrace some kind of digital communications before the next power failure. Imagine what would have happened if there was a real disaster.