I can save the state $10 million. Right now. I know in terms of the state budget, this is a drop in the bucket, but we have to start somewhere and it costs us nothing.
This is my idea: Name me as the CEO of Eversource. I will accept $1 million each year as salary. The current CEO reportedly makes $11.7 million. I promise to return the $10.7 million to the state. Free and clear. And there is more. I would ask for a simple 3% raise annually, you know, cost of living and all. The current CEO reportedly got a 30% raise just last year.
OK, so I know that strictly speaking, Eversource is not a state-run utility but surely the governor should be able to issue some kind of executive order to make this happen. Executive Order #1 code 1, 1-A, or something like that.
Now, I should confess at the start that I am in no way qualified for the position. I was a sportswriter for much of my professional life and now I am a lawyer. Neither job has prepared me to run a massive utility company but I have a platform of ideas I think people will find very attractive.
First, I promise to make sure Eversource is completely unprepared for any natural weather events that happen upon Connecticut. And folks, when I say completely unprepared, I mean it. Under my tenure, my company’s pre-storm estimates will be wildly inaccurate and undershoot actual damage by at least 50%. I guarantee it.
Second, during this current crisis, Eversource has brought in workers from Canada to assist in restoring power. This is far too close. My emergency call up workers will be from Guam. They will arrive by boat. They will not be on the ground in the state for weeks, which is fine, because we will be using that time to assess the damage. We will assess the damage from the ground, from the air, and through the state’s vast array of friends’ and neighbors’ Facebook pages. Not until we have identified each and every downed tree, including their genera and taxonomic families, will we begin to work on the lines. I promise.
Third, during a major storm, you will never see me. I will send interns into press conferences before making an appearance myself. I will not be reachable by phone (not even landline), text, email, regular mail, or telegram. I will be invisible. You have my word.
Along those same lines, I promise to oversee the development and installation of a web platform that will fail in any crisis. I mean fail in epic fashion. You will stand a better chance of successfully canceling your Comcast service than you will of reporting an outage. It will take days for you to even find a number to call. Now, I admit there is a flaw in my plan. The folks answering the phone for Eversource have generally been courteous and professional in dealing with irate call after irate call. (What else have I got to do? I have no power.) They have managed this despite the fact that Eversource has made sure they have no access to any information that might be useful to the caller.
Under my administration, these dedicated employees will be prohibited from even acknowledging that there is a company called Eversource. In fact, they will be instructed to deny that they are on the phone with you at that very moment.
Even if you are able to penetrate the system and report an outage, an automated program will be designed to tell you that we are evaluating your problem. Which is what we will be doing. As we wait for the workers to arrive. From Guam.
A word about the workers. My goal as CEO would be to make sure that all of the dedicated rank and file Eversource employees who are doing their best to navigate us through this crisis, including the line crews and call center people, and everyone else really, will face the same awkward moments I did when I was a sportswriter. I would tell people at a party that I worked at the Hartford Courant, to which many would say, “Oh, I don’t care for that paper.”
Nice to meet you, too.
Under my administration, I promise that the hard-working, boots-on-the-ground employees of Eversource, the ones who stay up all night to fix my faulty web platform, and reroute power, and clear downed trees, the ones we all should be making sandwiches for, all of them, will feel that same desire to change the subject when work comes up. All because of me and my failures.
I also promise to return to the legislature after each and every natural disaster and proclaim that in order to prevent the next disaster we will need to increase rates on all customers. In fact, a delivery rate increase will not be enough. I will propose new rates to increase. Folks in red houses could see their bills skyrocket. Same with folks who mow their lawns. Rates will increase for anyone who has trees on their property or even shrubs. Do you have skin? You get a rate increase.
Well, I could go on but I am writing this long-hand and it’s getting dark. I have to save the candles for emergencies. In closing, all I can promise you is gross incompetence and a decade of rate increases.
Oh, and a savings of ten million dollars.
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