Friday, July 21, 2006

Ameren, you suck

Much of this is just frustration at the situation. But...I just checked the Ameren site to try to get a feel for when I might get power back. Clicking on their press release gives me the canned response from yesterday. Not helpful. Clicking on the outage map gives me a map of the St. Louis area colored in various colors to represent how many people are without power. Not helpful. I could get an estimate if I log into my account center. Of course, I don't have an electronic account. I went to sign up for one, but check out their shitty ass privacy policy:
Unrelated Companies. Ameren occasionally shares limited customer information with companies we hire to provide operational, marketing, or advertising support, companies that help us distribute our products and services, or companies that provide products and services we want to offer. The companies we choose must satisfy our security and privacy requirements. We share your information with these companies only if they agree to treat it confidentially and only if it is legally permissible to do so. We limit the information we provide these companies to what we reasonably believe they "need to know" in connection with their agreement with Ameren and we don't permit them to use our customer information for any purposes outside our oversight or control.
I'm grateful that Ameren limits its sale of my personal information to the extent permitted by law. That's what I call restraint. In short, Ameren's committed to selling my shit to anybody. Thanks for being a customer! What a bucketload of suck. So I didn't sign up for an account.

Honestly, though, I can't really fault them. They're not to blame for the storm or the heat. I wish they were more helpful in their information, though. I've actually been surprised at how bad the various local sites have been at getting out information. Only two of the local tv stations make at attempt with their websites for distributing information about the outages KSDK and KMOV have some information, but KSDK's been linking, annoyingly, to Ameren's press releases instead of giving out actual information. The Post's page is OK for information, but I don't feel that it's updated enough.

Basically, I feel that there should be a big fat fucking link in bold at the top of each of these guys' pages that says "WHEN WILL I GET POWER BACK?!", because there are around 320,000 St. Louis households right now without electricity, and that number's down from something like a half million. Surely these places can throw together a better response than the magical mantra of "72 hours", which sounds creepier the more it's repeated.

Local pols seem to be criticizing the company. I don't know how much of this is just easy politics, but I would like to see Ameren give some more information about when the power'll be back up. Ok, that's all.


Fishfrog said...

In remember last time there was a big wind storm Ameren took some heat and may even have gotten fined for they failure to keep their power lines free from trees. Most likely they still hadn't done shit about it as of Wednesday. When big old trees hang over power lines, those power lines are gonaa get fallen on. So lets not act like this isn't their fault at all. Also, they destroyed Johnson's Shut-ins. Fuck Ameren.

Matt said...

Good points. You know, the tree-i-ness of St. Louis is certainly one of its strengths, but right now that largely means downed power lines and debris everywhere.