An Open Letter to Hugh McDonald, CEO of Entergy Arkansas….or, to quote Al Pacino “I’m In The Daaahk Here!”

This is happening WAY too often.

This is happening WAY too often.

UPDATE:  At about 3:30 this afternoon, Hugh McDonald, President and CEO of Entergy Arkansas, knocked on our door.  He was extremely nice, extremely impressive & I am writing an additional blog entry detailing our experience.  My plan went pretty much exactly as I hoped.

Dear Mr. McDonald,

We’ve never met, but I’m willing to bet that we have a lot in common, the least of which is probably that we love for a lightbulb to come on when we get up in the morning and flip the switch.  You like this because it pays your salary & I like it because I don’t like to wipe my ass in the dark.  (You probably do too.)  I, like most empathetic human beings, realize that this world we live in is not perfect.  I realize that occasionally things are going to happen that inconvenience me and I try my best to think of people in worse circumstances.  People whose children don’t have enough food, people who live where there is raw sewage in the street & anyone who is currently involved with one of the Kardashians.  I GET that there are people suffering.  HOWEVER, each month when we pay our electric bill, I expect to have electricity in my home.  I have compassion for those in less fortunate circumstances but since I do pay for this service monthly & on time, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect to be able to make toast on a whim if I want to.  Or watch tv.  Or make snide comments on the internet:)  Or see my hand in front of my face when I walk into my closet to suit up for a belly-dancing gig.

I’m writing this because all but four houses on the north side of Waverly Dr. were without power AGAIN today, January 12, 2013 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 6:13 p.m.  It was not because an ice storm came though, not because a tornado struck, & not because an idiot drunk driver took out one of your poles.  We were without power because leaning poles that were damaged in the ice storm were never fixed, fell completely over and started a fire.  And quite honestly, they could have caused much more damage than they did.  We, as a community of neighbors, are really at the end of our rope.  We, as a street, feel like the forgotten stepchild of Entergy Arkansas. We are, Mr. McDonald, ready for someone to listen to us and hear our concerns as to why we are ALWAYS last on the list.  We are equally ready to march downtown and knock that little red & white ball off your office roof to get SOMEONE’S attention.  Never underestimate a group of pissed-off mothers.  If it’s within the capabilities of your database at Entergy, I’d love for you to look up our street and see just how many times we’ve been without power in the last oh, ten years.  And of those times, I would like you to see how many times we had our power restored DEAD LAST.  If the resulting answer is NOT  “Uh, oh.  A hell of a lot! You DO have a point!” then I suggest you hire a new IT staff because your data is waaaay off.

We survived the ice storm of 2000.  That was a rough one on Entergy & us both.  I’ll give you that.  It was hell.  We ended up in a hotel with a norovirus outbreak and if, perhaps for writing a letter like this, I DO end up in hell, I guarantee you it will not be worse than that week of my life. (Picture Steve McQueen at the end of  “The Great Escape”, should you need a visual.)  We had intermittent outages before and after that.  We were without power nearly a week when the tornado hit Cammack Village & we were without 6 days just this Christmas season and lived in a hotel.  If a thunderstorm blows through we are almost always without power for at LEAST a few hours.  I live in fear that one of my kids will simply fart & “POOF!” we’ll be at the Motel 6 before nightfall.  I’ve gone to work with wet hair.  I’ve thrown away, if you count all the outages, probably close to $1000 in food and meat, if not more.  I have cleaned up the re-solidified drippings of Klondike bars and popsicles until last time I just gave the kids $5.00 to come lick up the mess, with bonus incentives if they finished before their tongues stuck to the freezer.  I have had to leave my daughter’s birthday cake in a powerless oven and run out to buy one for her party.  I then had to move that party to the park because we could not see each other in our home.   Our power has gone off in the middle of the day, the middle of the night, upon waking, upon retiring and once at noon, as I was leaving for a lunch date.  I really CANNOT COUNT the number of outages we have had but I know I have a street of neighbors willing to back me up on my claims.

The point of my letter is this:  There has GOT to be a reason that we, on Waverly Dr.,  deal with so many outages.  Something with the “Waverly power grid” (I made that up, I’ll admit) is grossly deficient and inefficient.  Perhaps some trees need cut.  Maybe we need to put some sort of access from the adjacent school property that makes getting to our lines easier.  Maybe the linemen look at our property when they arrive and say, “We’re saving that mess for last. It’s Waverly again.”  At any rate, NOTHING pro-active is being done to make these outages fewer & easier to deal with.  Maybe, just maybe, for the length of our little street, the lines need buried.  (And before you cite cost as a reason to avoid that remedy, you have to be paying out-of-state workers and weekend workers a fortune to constantly get us up and running again.)  I will admit we used to have a few tree-huggers on our street that refused to allow trees to be trimmed and removed by the utility company.  I am happy to report that they have moved and not only will we now allow that, we will fire up our Stihl’s &  grab our machetes and pitch in to help make your access easier.  Actually, if it helps my case, I’ll stay away from the chainsaws.

We are done. We are tired. In the summer, we are hot.  In the winter, we are cold.  We like to see things during our waking hours.  I have a torn ligament in my leg & my husband will tell you that I’m just a bit testy when my electric blanket is no longer “electric” & I drop my bottle of hydrocodone in the dark.  It’s not pretty.  I am tired of people telling me I need a generator when I pay for electricity & I expect that it be there when I need to roast a turkey, fire up a hot dog in the microwave or charge my freaking phone.  I run a photography business out of my home and my clients have a reasonable expectation of when their prints will be edited and delivered.  Mr. McDonald, I do not know your family situation, but I can tell you that hell hath no fury like a teenage daughter that cannot dry her hair to go out on a Saturday night or a husband who cannot plug in his nose-hair trimmer.  All of the aforementioned requires power & this is getting to be a real pain.  Over & over.

Your linemen have been great and worked hard.  I’m not complaining about them or the wonderful workers who come in from surrounding states to assist them.  All we are asking is that someone with some power and influence in the vast entity that is Entergy agree to hear our concerns.  We will come to you or you can come to us.  We are a nice group of people but we have had enough.  Won’t you please help us?  Or ask someone to at least try?

Sincerely,

Noelle Buttry

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One thought on “An Open Letter to Hugh McDonald, CEO of Entergy Arkansas….or, to quote Al Pacino “I’m In The Daaahk Here!”

  1. Tammy says:

    Noelle, I live on Kenwood Road, next door to Anna and Stuart. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed reading your letter…and found myself saying YES!! YES!!! YES!!! throughout the reading of it. Thank you SO very much for writing this account of what it’s like to live on our side of Cammack Village. I don’t think Kenwood has as many outages as you described on Waverly, but we DO have our share. (I spent 2 days in a hotel during this last storm, and that was AFTER enduring 2 MISERABLE days and nights “waiting it out”, hoping that any minute the power would be back on.) I used to ENJOY an occasional, mild, thunderstorm, but now I dearly DREAD the thought of hearing the splat of one tiny rain-drop, because I’m quite sure that we will at some point lose power. I hope you have or will get a response from Mr. McDonald!! Tammy Lake, Kenwood Road.

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