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Following energy issues in the state of Connecticut and beyond.

Friday, August 31, 2012

New And Improved Outage Maps Only As Good As The Information Being Fed To Them

                     Technology is a wonderful thing when it is used to better inform people and make their lives easier.
 It's not clear that the new customer outage map available on United Illuminating's web site did either of those things on Friday. If you were checking out the map at about 7:30 p.m. Friday, you would have seen West Haven as one of several towns listed as having outages.

A view of the 'old' UI outage map
                     And if you cared to examine the map further and get additional information about the outage by running your computer's cursor over West Haven on the map, you would have seen that there were allegedly 52 outages there. I say 'allegedly" because according to the map, the outages began at 1:49 p.m., a repair crew was on its way to the area where the problem was and service was expected to be restored at 2:46 p.m.

                     Almost five hours later, if you were just going by the information on the map alone, it was impossible to tell whether the problem had been fixed or was still active. Outages listed for other towns were clearly still active because they showed power restoration times that hadn't passed already.

 Hopefully this was just a minor glitch that only occurred just this once. But if it wasn't, what good is new technology when it provides users with what was likely old information?

 That's a question the people at UI ought to be asking themselves right now.

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