There’s Power in Twitter–Literally

This morning at 5:58 a.m. I awoke abruptly to the fact that my power was out. It came back on for a few minutes and I rested again. But then it went off. And at 3:40 p.m. it’s still off.

I patiently awaited it to come back on throughout the morning. I heard of Chase banks here in the area having issues, but their power had just come back on and they were booting their computers. Not so here.

So I started venting a little bit via Twitter. I included #Oncor and #TXU hastags in my tweets and shortly, I got Tweets back from Oncor, then Catherine Cueller, whom I know of by communications circles I’m in but have never met, and then from @TXUEnergyNews

I’ve told them I was going to write something positive about them being so responsive via Twitter. This is something I emphasize to my clients. It’s great to see others doing it, too.

I was asked by Catherine and @Oncor to call 1-888-313-4747 to report my outage. I’d already done that, but at least I knew I was on the right track.

Then came the Tweets from @TXUEnergyNews asking me first to friend them, then to DM them with information. Shortly there after, I got a DM back saying to Email a contact at TXU. I provided him the information from my account.

I received the DM 23 minutes ago. I sent an email back about three minutes later. I received a call back from TXU 16 minutes ago. They’re checking with Oncor again on my behalf, and the several hundred others here in the complex who have been without power as long as I have.

We’re coming up on the nine-hour-mark, but I do in one way have a warm feeling inside. I know that what I’ve been emphasizing to my clients, the need to actively monitor Twitter is essential in today’s marketplace, and second of all, I know that at least two people inside these two power companies in Texas are working on my behalf, just because of a Tweet.

BTW: The TXU guy who called, Greg, says the rolling blackouts in Texas have been stopped. So, my power outage is something worse than them trying to keep the grid from overloading. The third good thing I’ve now seen from this interaction via Twitter.

Thanks Catherine and thank you, Greg.

I’m glad I had a Long John’s moment a while ago. And I don’t mean the restaurant kind. I’m warmer now, but it’s getting really cold.

I’d go back up and do links, but iPad Safari doesn’t let me do that in WordPress–Something that seriously needs to be taken up with Apple. .

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This is an image of the tree line from the new County Road 510 Bridge near Marquette, Michigan.

1 Comment

  1. Joel

    Having worked for Oncor/TXU in my prior life it’s apparent that communication has changed a huge amount since I worked there. Would never have figured on social media being incorporated.

    I can tell you that rolling brown/black outs are the last thing the Electric companies want to do. The only way they make money is when power is being used. When you have temps this low and nearly everyone staying home with lots of electronics and heaters running it puts a huge strain on the system. On top of all that a couple of plants went off line due to frozen pipes. When a power plant goes down it can cause a domino effect and knock other plants off line. There were 50 plants that were off-line. ERCOT controls the grid that interconnects all of Texas that the power plants feed into. They initiated the rolling black outs.

    When your power is off for hours, it’s most likely due to some driver who lost control of their car and hit a pole, either knocking it down or slapping the lines together causing an outage. In ice storms tree limbs freeze, get heavy and fall on power lines (probably not as much an issue this storm). I always dreaded storms like this because it usually meant longer hours.

    Is it possible to build an infrastructure that can handle the stuff we’re dealing with now? Yes, but nobody would want to pay the rates that it would cost to build.



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Donald J. Claxton | The Timberlander, a selfie from camping for 13 weeks in 2022 on the Claxton family land in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, northwest of Marquette.

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