If you’ve noticed a diminished sense of, well, urgency on Business Insider today, there’s a reason for that.About three hours ago, the manager of the building that houses Business Insider World Headquarters came rushing into the newsroom and announced that we had better all save our work because ConEd was about to cut the power off.
Our president, Julie Hansen, who normally handles things like this (thank you, Julie!) was in Florida, so the manager’s announcement got me out of a meeting. And soon I was following the manager to the utility-room basement, where I was introduced to a friendly but stubborn man from ConEd.
After 10 minutes of conversations with the friendly but stubborn ConEd man and the friendly but stubborn ConEd man’s boss (less friendly and more stubborn), who was outside in a truck, I learned the following:
- There was some paperwork ConEd apparently needed that ConEd had not gotten
- The ConEd men had been ordered to cut the power off
- ConEd has figured out how to avoid getting its service folks dragged into endless arguments with emotional customers about why, exactly, it is that their power is getting cutting off–by not telling them why
- ConEd’s service men have been trained, when offered an upfront payment not to cut the power off, to say “it’s not about the money,” thus presumably reducing the frequency of bribes
- ConEd’s service men have been trained to give out no information whatsoever about who at ConEd ordered them to cut your power off other than an 800-number for customer service
- There was nothing I, our Managing Editor Jess Liebman, or my wallet or checkbook could do to stop the service men from cutting the power off.
And, in fact, by the time I finished freezing my arse off pleading with the guy in the truck, the guy in the utility room had already returned with the electric meter, and the power had been cut off. And when I asked the guy in the truck when he could get the power back on (assuming we certified to ConEd’s satisfaction that the necessary paperwork had been completed), he said “I’m not going to lie to you…” So I went back upstairs to the dim office filled with dead computers and wished all of my colleagues an early Christmas.
Then I set about figuring out what had happened.
And what happened, it turns out, is this:
Until October, we were subletting our office from the prior tenant. Then we extended our lease by renting from the actual landlord. Somewhere in the transition, someone neglected to convert the ConEd account to our name as opposed to the prior tenant’s name.
ConEd called us on Monday this week and said we needed to convert the account or they would cut the power off. This had the desired effect: We quickly faxed over the paperwork to convert the account. ConEd reviewed the paperwork and, on Wednesday (yesterday), said it needed a piece of paper called a “DBA” to reconcile the difference between our first company name, Silicon Alley Insider, Inc., and our current company name, Business Insider, Inc. Our office manager explained to ConEd that the DBA was locked in our president’s files, that our president was in Florida, and that our president would fax over the DBA Monday morning. ConEd said fine.
And then, today, the guys showed up in the truck and cut the power off.
So, ConEd, from our family to yours, let me say, “Season’s Greetings.”
And let me also add this: If ever there comes a time when New Yorkers have more than one power company to choose from, don’t let our door hit you in the arse.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.