Sunday, November 6, 2011

PSE&G ads are an insult to customers

This ad appears on

I wonder how many utility customers agree with this ad, which appears on, the Web site of North Jersey Media Group?

A similar, self-congratulatory, full-page PSE&G ad appears today on Page F-12 of The Record, in the Better Living section.

Maybe the ads explain why the paper's editors seem to be going out of their way to treat Public Service Electric and Gas Co. gently in the wake of massive outages from last weekend's nor'easter. 

Again today, the anger and frustration of customers still without lights, heat and hot water are buried at the end of the Page 1 story, which focuses on rate-hike requests "months or years"  down the road.

Fall back, take a nap

Interim Editor Doug Clancy's first Sunday paper is a snoozer.

The off lead on the front page is a slow-moving process story on privatization of state services that doesn't even mention the disastrous, private automobile inspections put into place by the last governor named Christie -- Christie Whitman.

Also on A-1 is a story about two women who competed in today's New York City Marathon in memory of their marathon-running father. So what?

A far better choice for Page 1, and a story of wider interest, is coverage of Friday's "Seniors in Suburbia" conference in Paramus that the editors held for a day -- especially in view of how senior citizens in the audience projected a new image.

Negative stories

Staff Writer Colleen Diskin reports on the Local front today that one panelist said the "senior community is often portrayed as being a population in need rather than as a population that has something to offer in a community."

Of course, Diskin doesn't mention that her assignment editor has had her write story after story recently that portrayed seniors in just those negative terms.

The assignment desk under Editor Deirdre Sykes has become so addicted to turning out filler based on reports, surveys and statistics no one batted an eye at Road Warrior John Cichowski's latest, sleep-inducing column on the cost of road fatalities (L-1).

Most of Local today is heavy on election coverage and death notices and light on municipal coverage.

Let's get fat

In Better Living, the photo of a rail-thin Asian woman is really inappropriate for a story urging readers to do at least 15 minutes of exercise a day (F-5).

And the photo is a counterpoint to Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung's pudgy cheeks on F-1, where her Sunday column informs readers she will personally taste every cookie submitted to the paper's annual let's-get-fat contest.

No editorial appears in the Opinion section taking PSE&G to task for its slow response to the massive outages, but a reader who lost power for at least six days had a lot to say (O-3):

"I guess when you're a monopoly you really don't have to worry about what your customers think of you," Richard Dalin of North Haledon says in a letter to the editor.

Indeed, Clancy should ask the paper's non-profit reporter, Harvy Lipman, to get off his ass and explore why a utility that provides an essential service -- but has no competition -- should be profit making. 

PSE&G would have done a far better job restoring power, if it didn't have to worry about paying overtime, hiring extra crews and seeking rate increases to compensate.

More shameless promotion

Travel Editor Jill Schensul is urging fliers to spend more time in airports, with an upbeat, promotional column on "real restaurant dining."

It's weird to see this pet-loving vegetarian recommend steak and barbecue restaurants, but not provide readers with a list of non-meat alternatives (T-1 and T-5).

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  1. "... her Sunday column informs readers she will personally taste every cookie submitted to the paper's annual let's-get-fat contest."

    No it doesn't.

  2. True. That was a satiric comment. But you know she will.

  3. Three cookies? I'll order her some Lipitor.

  4. Don't waste your money. She thinks she'll live forever.


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