Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Sitting in the dark

My home is without power at the moment. It went off yesterday afternoon and then again sometime last night.

I first turned on the portable radio to see what was happening. If it was World War III, I have a bottle of booze I've been saving. It seems like it is only a few blocks around us that is affected, so I reluctantly put the bottle away.

These things happen, but it's always kind of nice to know what's going on and if I should be eating all the frozen steaks in the freezer for breakfast before they go bad.

Being a connected kind of guy, I decided to go to Toronto Hydro's website on my handheld for an update. After all, even my Internet provider has a live "system status report" page in case of trouble. Electricity has to be more important than not being able to download the latest movie trailer from iTunes.

Apparently not. On Toronto Hydro's website there is a button for "Wind Turbine Status", but nothing to let customers know about emergencies, work in progress or power outage status.

You can send their customer care centre an email, which they will respond to "within three business days", or call their power outage service number (open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m), which I did and got the general help line that referred me back to the website.

You'd think that if Toronto Hydro wants to seriously get into the WiFi provider business, they might think about becoming their own customer and joining us in the 21st century by providing useful emergency service information in real time on their website.