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Sunday, September 14, 2014

News & Notes from Atwater, Echo Park, Hermon & Northeast L.A.

ATM Machine Inside, Tagging Outside, Glassell Park | Photo by Luis Blackaller/Flicker

  • 20,000 Eastside DWP customers remained without power this morning. DWP
  • Hermon supermarket shares fridge space for those without power. L.A. Weekly
  • The Echo turns 10. Echo Park Now
  • A tree – a giant tree – falls in Atwater Village. AV Now
  • Volunteers needed this morning for a post-windstorm clean up at Elysian Heights Elementary. School Yard
  • Happening Today: Silver Lake Farmer’s Market; Echo Park trash clean up; Pet Photos with Santa; Winter Square Dance. Save the Date
  • Note: Friday night’s scheduled holiday tree lighting in Hermon was cancelled after the tree on Monterey Road suffered wind damage.

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  1. I must say, after 56 hours without power — and I reported it within two minutes of the outage at 1:18 a.m. Thursday — I am quite dissatisfied with the DWP. They keep saying within 24 hours, and sometimes say to maximum of 48 hours. Well, not close. And the constant bullshit info rather than something real is very unhelpful.

    The worst bit was the DWP setting up a wall preventing us from knowing ANYTHING. They would only tell you the bullshit 24-hours line, but it kept being 24 more hours for three mornings straight! And that 24 hours wasn’t for my location, but they said that was when everyone everywhere would have their power restored — leaving me to hope I would likely be somewhat sooner.

    As a result, I and the other people in my 10-unit apartment building — and probably all over this area’s outage (two block stretch in Silver Lake) — lost all our food in the freezer and refrigerator, because we kept being given a bullshit line, rather than the real story. Had we had better information, would could have known to take more desperate and drastic action — imposing on other people — to move our food elsewhere. But they kept leaving us to believe it might be just a matter of hours away, certainly no more than 24 hours if we were the very last in line.

    For the future, DWP MUST mount a far, far better effort to give out all the info, not just set up a wall to block you from knowing anything and telling little other than a happy, public relations story — which is all they did. (I know a PR line when I hear one. That was not intended to be real info, was just stonewalling.)

    The DWP knows its plan and when the plan calls/expects to move to here or there — generally, roughly. That kind of info would have been invaluable if they would let us know. If I could have known the plan had me last in line, I could have taken action to save more than $100 of food! Instead, there now is a LOT of food in the dumpster here as everyone here had to throw it out.

    It was only all the more aggravating when the DWP phoned my downstairs neighbor at noon yesterday to tell her all was fixed, all the power restored. Well, she had to tell them no, nothing was restored, the entire area remained out of power. So, DWP said they would send someone by. It was ANOTHER five hours before that someone came by — and he was just to determine if the power really was not restored, not to actually do anything to restore it. He didn’t even know anything or have the slightest idea when repair crews might come to fix it. He left. Since he had been there, I was hopeful we would get a crew within a couple hours. But it was not to be, all night passed with no crew — and no info.

    We finally got power later this morning — 56 hours after I reported the outage.

    People here are all very unhappy with the lack of info. No one here is asking for special treatment — just info so we can have some kind of idea about what to REALLY expect so we can act and take action as needed.

  2. Pasadena did a much better job, but even there, the lack of info was frustrating — no matter when we called, we’d be told 12-24 hours. Then they finally realized we were on a pole that had gone down (something we’d already told them over and over) and they started to say it could be 72 hours. Ugh.

    When you phone the DWP, you basically get an answering service that takes down info (not always well) and knows absolutely nothing. The lack of communication makes it hard to have any confidence in them, even if they are doing a good job.

  3. It is difficult to understand why DWP public relations wasn’t better prepared to deal with this situation. One can appreciate the problems in determining what needs fixing and the time it takes to fix it, when there are a multiplicity of items damaged by heavy winds, including power poles, transmission lines, and pole transformers. But, if the public is dealt with in a straightforward manner, rather than being given promises that are pulled out of the air, they will understand. Since this same kind of thing happened just five years ago in the 2006 heat wave, they should have been better prepared to deal with callers this time. We know the engineering side has prepared to deal with the situation that came from a shortage of new transformers in 2006 and is now well stocked. Surely the information side could have been better prepared, likewise!

  4. DWP did what I would call a hostile Public Relations job. It was not the least bit helpful, which made it only all the more infuriating. The PR honchos there clearly do not see we customers as people but as inconveniences to be thwarted and shut up.

    Lisa: actually, with the LA DWP, if you know how to get past that stupid recording (punch in 0 five times), you can get to someone. But what I described is what you get when you talk to them.

    Mind you, they not only won’t tell you anything but the 24-hours-for-all-repairs-to-be-completed line, which turns out to be just made up bullshit, but they also will not pass along anything you want to tell them to the people in charge of the repairs — they just stonewall you. So, if a situation like the downed pole you described that would be VERY helpful to know, you can’t get the word through to the people who need to know.

    I see this as a MAJOR failure of the communication team at DWP. The honchos there should be replaced after this failure of a performance and someone put in who actually wants to earn their pay.

  5. I will add, while this was a huge undertaking for the DWP, still, they performed far too slowly. Note, the DWP says it had about 180,000 customers out of power. It has taken them just about four days to restore it all.

    Well, on the East Coast, after Hurricane Irene just before Labor Day, they had 600,000 to 800,000 left without power (and a LOT of trees down, and massive flooding all over — all thwarted their every move). They got all back in order and all power restored in five days.

    If you do the arithmetic, even the best case arithmetic, you will see that DWP was working at HALF the speed of the crews that dealt with Hurricane Irene! That is not a good performance if you ask me! Yes, it was a major undertaking, but DWP should be just as much up tot he effort as the crews on the East Coast — but DWP was not, was at half speed.

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