Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

We Need a Hero to fight FPL in Miami... good article links and thoughts,0,6964475.story?page=1&track=mostemailedlink

Note that Orthodox Jews maintain that there is a connection between trees and the souls of Tzaddikim (righteous people) and a child is compared to a tree which is why we don't cut a boy's hair until he is 3 years old.. in the same way we don't take fruit from the first 3 years of a tree. Many cultures link trees to holy spirits. Trees not only protect us from the sun, provide many childhood memories but they inspire us and keep us connected to our own roots.

Another link.. to an article below..

Then there is an excellent article by Fred Grimms who has maintained and built a new fan base in the Miami Herald since Hurricane Wilma. He seems to speak for all of us who went through the storm known by the National Hurricane Center as a "minimal hurricane" and yet suffered damage that we never thought we would see short of a Cat Three. Who knew? Well.. to be honest, FPL knew but they didn't care. In their race to attain record profits they sacrificed their fiduciary responsibility to their users and the people who pay their bills.

On a year round basis they hire out of state crews from "non-union" states that give contracts to out of state workers and not have to pay local crew and employees benefits. As nice as those guys from Arkansas and Louisianna's not their backyard and they can go home to their families. Sort of like outsourcing if you ask me.... They no longer maintain their poles. They no longer disturb our peace by hacking apart mango and other trees that some long ago transplated northerner thought would be nice to plant out there in the area once known for the Utilities Company's "Right of Way". They own that land.. it says so on my house deed and yet they no longer maintain the trees under their wires. Yes, I would pay a gardener to go up there but gee, golly gosh.. I can't find any who want to do it and they all give me the number to FPL to put my name on a waiting list... haha.. ho ho.

Someone, somewhere should do SOMETHING. Do we have no leaders in this State or anywhere who can regulate what the Public Utility Commission can do when it is raping it's customer base and giving FPL a bonus for a poor, poor job of maintaining the area's service grid?

If ever we needed a is the time for one to emerge to protect the people...
Article below:
Posted on Thu, Nov. 17, 2005
FPL, customers are poles apart since Wilma hit
The object of my neighborhood's distress was a power pole, knocked askew by Hurricane Wilma and a prime suspect in the 16-day blackout along our wretched little stretch of the power grid.
The old pole leaned at a perilous angle and I knew that no juice would be flowing until an FPL crew trucked into the neighborhood with a new pole in tow.
Didn't happen.

''Oh, that old pole was rotten,'' said the lineman on loan to FPL from Detroit, chatting over my wooden fence like a longtime neighbor. ``We should have replaced it.''

Instead, the boys from Michigan attached a line, pulled it upright, drove two four-by-four wooden posts into the earth and bolted them to the pole. ''That'll hold for a while,'' he said.

So far, so good. The repair job has stayed up a week and two days now. It remained unbowed through a drizzling blow Tuesday evening. I'd say there's a fine chance the pole may even survive the spring. My new friend from Michigan was not so optimistic about next hurricane season.

And I'm disgusted. Me and 3.2 million other Wilma-whacked FPL subscribers.

Rotten poles and angry customers have made for volatile conditions since the great blackout.

FPL's subscribers have ripped the company in any public forum they can find. The Broward League of Cities asked the governor to investigate. State legislators want hearings. Newspaper editorials rail about 10,000 poles downed by a piddling Category 1 hurricane. Outrage at FPL may be the most unifying factor in South Florida since the Dolphins' undefeated season.

But this is the storm that FPL has been built to weather. Not Wilma. But public opinion.

Instead of spending all those millions anticipating an actual hurricane -- replacing suspect poles and trimming tree limbs that threaten power lines -- the company has opted to save its money and ride out the subsequent public outrage in the safe, friendly, permissive environs of the Florida Public Service Commission.

The math is pretty simple. FPL either can worry about shoring up 10,000 power poles or spend its time and money fawning over five members of the PSC.

The Herald's Debbie Cenziper, John Dorschner and Oscar Corral unearthed documents this week indicating that FPL -- with the PSC watching -- cut operating and maintenance costs per customer by 32 percent from 1991 to 2001. In the next three years, they reported, FPL cut costs again by 4.5 percent.

The reporters interviewed 20 out-of-state utility workers who said South Florida's 98 percent power loss was the obvious consequence of lousy maintenance. I heard much the same thing last summer, after Frances knocked my neighborhood off line for four days. A lineman from Kentucky told me the line negligence was stunning. ``I've never seen anything like it.''
What wasn't so obvious to a utility worker from Kentucky was the time, money and effort FPL has devoted toward maintaining a balmy relationship with the Florida PSC, the un-elected misnomer that looks after the monopoly and all its financial wants like a doting mother with a spoiled child.

The Herald's findings certainly match the circumstantial evidence accumulated along my end of the grid. Hurricane Andrew sent ferocious winds through the neighborhood, yet the power was never interrupted. Back in those days, FPL spent money on tree trimming.

Its contractor swept through regularly, like army ants, to hack trespassing tree limbs. I remember because their coming would coincide with bicycles disappearing off the back porch.
Haven't seen a tree crew in ages. And we've suffered blackouts after Frances, Katrina, Wilma and some piddling tropical blows.

On the other hand, I've had the same bicycle now for years.
Fred Grimm is The Herald's Broward columnist.

On a personal note... I'm watching the area that is either 27 or 28 or 28a .. well maybe it's 27 and a half.. not sure but I am watching it as are many other trackers in the South Florida area.

It's looking a little bit threatening if you ask me.. but what do I know?? Okay, I know a lot but I don't have a crystal ball and I am not Miss Cleo though I would like to have the money she got by those nice little supporters of hers who picked up the bill for their idea and her brillant execution of it. I would never have done as well.. no matter what Alan thought.. I don't look good in a turban. She was good.. probably still is. Maybe I should call her and ask her for inside rates.

Where is Jean Paul I am wondering... Sharon could use a good solar return. Or the sleazy palm reader who followed me around the convention center trying to convince me of the depth of feeling I had for a lost love.. out there somewhere...

Inquiring minds want to know but as for me.. I will stay the hell out of Palm Beach.

And..may I end here with a quote from Anais Nin..
It says much .. and it should be remembered by many.

"Living never wore one out so much as the effort not to live"

That's all for now.. Bobbi


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