Pepco is the electricity supply company for the Washington D.C area. They send out with their monthly bills short newsletters, well–meant and intended to show how communitaire and concerned they are. Unfortunately, on a scale from one to ten they can sometimes score ten for the proclamation of the glaringly manifest (in British English “the bleedin' obvious”) and even for being downright patronizing. They need a little help. What follows is my proposed draft of their next newsletter, intended to appeal to an area crammed with PhDs.
• Local TV stations talk about “storms” when they mean that a light drizzle is forecast. However, you can never be sure, so always wear sensible shoes.
• Be extra careful when you go out in the rain. You could slip on wet sidewalks.
• If it is raining, wear a raincoat. Raincoats are useful and can prevent you getting wet.
• Always take an umbrella. They come in two types, one a foldaway design, the other the larger, traditional type that most people lose on the first outing.
• Be careful not to poke out the eyes of passers-by as you walk down the street.
• In high winds hold onto a lamp post.
• Do not walk in the middle of the road after dark.
• Migrating birds can leave a mess on steps, crossings, streets, and sometimes people’s heads. Wear a hat and keep one eye on the sky when walking around.
• Know the hazards of rutting deer.
• Never smoke cigarettes near propane and oil storage tanks or you may not live long enough to get lung cancer.
• Springtime is the start of the barbeque season. Inform the Fire Department in advance if you intend to barbeque in your family room.
• The days are drawing out and the evenings are becoming lighter. But always be aware of hazards around the house in the evenings and early mornings. Like most Americans, leave all the lights on in the house so that you can see where you are going.
• If you bend down to turn off an electric appliance you could injure your back. This is why it is wise to leave appliances permanently on stand-by (some have stand-by lights), so that you can switch on with ease and not hurt yourself while doing so.
• Turn on your air conditioning early and often to avoid the famous Washington area humidity. Income Tax Credits are available for those unable to pay the $200-$300 a month for air conditioning during the warmer months. If you are poor, homeless and are begging on the street, download the requisite forms in quadruplicate from pepco.com.
• Take frequent breaks to avoid exhaustion and injury.
• If you hear rumbling in the sky it does not necessarily signify a terrorist attack–– it could mean that there is about to be a thunderstorm.
• Thunder can sometimes be accompanied by lightning. Do not expose yourself to a bolt of lightning –– it could result in burns, abrasions and an emergency ride to your hospital casualty department.
• Count the number of seconds there are between the lightning and the thunder, and this will tell you how long you have before possibly being toasted.
• Thunderstorms are frequently accompanied by heavy rain and flooding. Hurry to the store to lay in food for six to seven days. Stock up with tinned goods and snacks on special offer (click here to learn about Safeway’s special offer on Snackalot.®).
• In preparation for Spring, buy and install tamper–resistant electrical receptacles. Even if you don’t have kids in the house, you never know when you might sleep–walk and stick your fingers into an electrical outlet.
For more tips on weathering rain and thunder storms, vehicle breakdowns, button replacements on jackets, nutrition for your dog or cat, and how to rake up leaves in Fall, visit pepco.com
Every month Pepco asks questions of selected customers to make sure we are meeting the needs of you, the customer. A market survey of customer preferences, conducted in January 2009, asked customers what they expected of Pepco in the event of an interruption of service. These are the results:
1. When the lights go out Pepco has concluded that customers want them back on again:
27% of Pepco customers wanted power restored urgently.
52% wanted it restored as quickly as possible.
12% weren’t fussed but would like to see the lights on sometime in 2009.
6% wanted them off permanently for religious reasons.
3% told us they never use electricity and when they do it’s not ours.
(Sometimes storm damage is so severe and widespread that extra help is needed. We have a “mutual assistance” program among the nation’s utilities that allows us to “borrow” skilled crews from other regions, if necessary. We asked these utilities if they had any conditions attached to help, should we need it).
The bad news is that utilities in the “red” states insist on the following conditions, were they to send crews to help D.C. We would be asked to:
• admit that God is a white Protestant.
• introduce tax cuts to put everything that’s wrong, right.
• agree that the Director General of the United Nations is sending tanks to invade Pennsylvania.
When D.C customers were asked in our monthly poll what their reactions were to the above conditions, the responses were as follows:
• 87% of cutomers said “we won the last general election. Get lost!”
• 9% asked what the United Nations were.
• 4% asked for proof of God’s existence.