Well, this is more annoying -- what the Pepco "outage map" has shown about electric supply in the nation's capital for the past eight twelve hours now:


I can see the map, or see that there's no map, because I've left our house in DC to check into a hotel in Arlington, so I have electricity -- and heat! -- to finish an article.

I know this storm is an Act of God, I know it is force majeure, I know a warmer climate overall is making for colder and harsher winters in the US Northeast, I know that DC has a lot of lush and beautiful trees that cause hellacious problems during storms because they drape over power lines, I know that brave and beleaguered crews are out there in the cold and dark. I know that weather in some place you aren't is inherently boring. And I know that people have problems 1000x worse than this. But -- not even the outage map? This is a version of another "here's how to make people feel out of control and anxious" strategy: the Amtrak policy, in NYC's Penn Station, of making everyone stand around in a big herd and stare at the departure board, waiting for the last-minute announcement of which track a train will be on so they can all rush toward it, rather than announcing it earlier and letting people form a line. 

Earlier Pepco showed a shrewder PR approach with the map. It gave an estimated outage time of about 100 hours for much of DC and suburban Maryland -- and then improved it to 48 hours for a number of areas, making two nights without lights or heat seem like reason to rejoice.

Back to work. But, c'mon. Even a phony map would give us some little illusion of control. And I won't even get into my "collapsing American infrastructure" riff.

Update: Maps are back up, after only 16 hours of downtime. Showing that after two nights with no heat or power, much of Maryland and DC can expect two and a half nights more -- estimated on time is 11pm Sunday. Hmmm.

Update-update: Lights back on along our street and at our house after 45 hours. In the circumstances, expecting twice that long, I'm conditioned to say, "not that bad." Especially since I see, from the now-functioning service map, that there are scores of outages very close by. Solidarity with the 66,000 households in the DC area still in the dark and cold.

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