David Ward: No land lines during power outage? | TheUnion.com

David Ward: No land lines during power outage?

Having survived three PG&E outages in the very recent past, luckily I have a recently installed Generac Automatic Transfer System, which still requires several manual drop-cord connections due to their first overkill process in the over 30 years I’ve lived in Alta Sierra.

After the last one, when speaking in a check-out line with a late 70-year-old gentleman, who has a heart problem, our talk came to him saying, “I’ve got to find out why PG&E killed the land phone for the first time that I’ve ever had to endure. I’ve been totally out of contact with my rescue heart monitor system.”

I added, “At my 92 years I was extremely concerned when my Med-Alert was useless at each outage.”

This prompted me to consider his thought.

So, I went to the AT&T office near Raley’s. The charming young lady in charge, to me seemingly primed, offered, “Gee. I have no idea why the phones were cut off. My home phone too.”

Feeling she was useless, I left, with a “thank you.”

Then I realized that the PG&E service yard was between 100 and 200 yards to the right, on Taylorville Road. OK. Gotta go to the horse’s mouth for some possible answers. No parking spots open in front of the office. Only a couple of questions, so, I double parked in the driveway.

The front door was locked. A couple of rattles and as I turned away, a man, dressed in office-type dress, not pole-climber Levi’s, but wearing a worker-danger-type jacket, opened the door.

I asked him, “In my over 30 years in this Grass Valley area and with the many power outages we’ve had, I’ve never had the land line phone shut off. Have always thanked this reliability to others with, ‘At least my land line works when my cell is dead.’ Can you tell me why my land line has been dead the last three outages?”

Boy, did he looked surprised, being confronted at his office. While fumbling, he stammered with, “Gee, there have been telephone pole accidents. One over off 174 where a car took out …”

I interrupted with, “That accident took out the entire county?”

Quickly realizing that he wasn’t going to answer my questing honesty, I turned away with a “thank you” and left. Boy, am I impressed with both AT&T and PG&E refusing to give us the correct information regarding why our land phones were killed for those days.

David Ward lives in Alta Sierra.

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