Human error

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

March 11, 2014 1:28:37 PM PDT
I'm pretty obsessive about deadlines and keeping track of my "things" - whether they're car keys or charge cards or my household expenses.

So I was more than floored last night when I opened my ConEd bill and found a gynormous spike in my usage - such a big increase the cost was close to quadruple my usual charge.

Either someone was siphoning off my gas, or the meter reader had radically goofed.

When I was younger I would have called indignantly, demanding immediate action from the utility. But, to quote Bob Dylan, I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now. So I called, cool and calm, and explained the situation to the very nice woman - nicer, I suspect, because I was nice to her. I asked her to look up my gas use history - and she could see that, for the past 2 years at least, my usage was a fraction of what the bill showed. So I read her the meter numbers, and, lo and behold, they were very different than the ones she had in her computer.

Why this doesn't happen more often, I don't know. Such an obsolete system - a person coming to your home, going to your meter, and manually reading the numbers. Make a mistake - like transposing the numbers (which is what I suspect happened in my case) - and the whole system is screwed up. Why not have this electronically connected to some central system? (Not that computers don't mess up, right? As I write this, Twitter is down. Imagine the torture for so many!)

It usually comes down to the human stain, doesn't it? I was thinking about my ConEd experience today as we keep up with the confusing, bewildering and mysterious disappearance of that Malaysia Airlines flight. If it didn't crash into the sea - and we don't know for sure it didn't - then where in the world could it be? The mystery deepened today by a factor of two - the transponder was apparently turned off (why? Who knows? But of course we can guess!), and the plane reportedly took a turn westward - nearly a u-turn - on its way to Beijing from Malaysia (a not-on-the-flight-plan turn).

We'll have the latest at 11 on a Twilight Zone kind of mystery that has so many people talking, wondering and worrying.

Also at 11, an elderly couple in New Jersey tonight - ripped off and furious after a thief, posing as a gas company worker, lured them outside to show them a bogus project. While they were in their backyard, his pal walked into the house and helped himself to the contents of the woman's purse, as well as her jewelry, about $50,000 worth of it.

And if you're out and about on the east side of Manhattan tonight - be forewarned, there's gridlock out there. Big time. President Obama returning to his favorite city - well, favorite in terms of raising money. He will attend two fundraisers - for the Democratic Party. If you have to be on the east side, best to use a helicopter. Just sayin'.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg with the big change coming in our spectacular (at least for today) weather, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.


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