Ops, Nets Cope with Power Failure


Cable operators in the Northeast and Great Lakes are dealing with the ramifications of Thursday's mammoth power failure, which zapped power grids from as far west as Toledo, Ohio, eastward to New York and northward to Canada.
The outage affected some 50 million people in major metro areas including Detroit; Cleveland; Buffalo, N.Y.; Newark, N.J.; and Toronto.

Power went down at approximately 4:20 p.m. EST, and as of Friday, many areas were still without electricity.
Information was still sketchy about the impact of the failure among cable operators, but it appeared that they were making headway in restoring service and maintaining operations in the affected areas.

“Time Warner Cable has restored service to the vast majority of its customers in upstate New York and parts of our New York City division who were affected by yesterday’s power outage,” the MSO said in a prepared statement Friday.

“In those locations without service, we are working hard to restore it on an area-by-area basis as power is brought back and in a manner that protects the integrity and safety of our system, equipment and employees,” Time Warner added.

Cablevision Systems Corp. said in a prepared statement Friday, "As was the case yesterday and through last night, all of our central facilities are fully functional and continuing to operate on backup power sources. All systems are being monitored on a continual basis by our network-operations center."

In Michigan, Comcast Corp. customers continued to suffer sporadic video and Internet outages. Parts of the state were still under emergency orders Friday, so cable employees complied and stayed home, spokeswoman Jenni Moyer said. Customer-service calls were rerouted to active call centers, and the added volume resulted in delays reaching the company by phone, she added.

Local systems were working closely with utility and municipal officials to bring all services back online.
Cox Communications Inc., which has systems in Connecticut and the Cleveland suburbs that were affected by the blackouts, said that it suffered some limited service disruptions when the power went out.

The MSO's biggest concern was its Connecticut systems, where it offers a lifeline-telephony service on a circuit-switched network in Meriden and Southington. Cox passes 48,000 households and counts 35,000 basic subscribers in those towns.

Cox spokeswoman Leigh Ann Woisard said backup power supplies kicked in on most of its Connecticut network. But of the 60 generators that power its telephone network, six backup generators did not work properly, causing some telephone customers to lose service for about 20 minutes Thursday.

"By and large, our telephone customers in those areas did not experience a loss of telephone service," Woisard said. She added that commercial power was restored in the Connecticut area by 3 a.m. Friday.

A Cox customer-call center in Cleveland also lost power during the blackout, so calls were rerouted to a contractor's call center in Augusta, Ga., according to spokesman Bobby Amirshahi.

All of Cox's headends in the Cleveland area reverted immediately to backup power during the blackout, so any subscribers who were able to power their TVs or cable modems during the blackout would have been able to receive service, Amirshahi said.

Charter Communications Inc., which has several systems in the affected area, was taking stock of the situation as of Friday, but there were no indications that the outage did any real damage.

"I've surveyed our guys. I have not heard anything. I have to assume no news is good news," spokesman Dave Anderson said.