Opinion

PSE rediscovers Whidbey Island

Puget Sound Energy has suddenly rediscovered Whidbey Island and this week opened its new “South Whidbey Island Customer Service Office” in Freeland.

It’s an office abandoned years ago as PSE cut costs by shutting down many of its local offices throughout the region. It was one of those moves made possible by deregulation combined with the corporation’s pursuit of profit regardless of the cost.

Now, PSE has a presence in both Freeland and Oak Harbor, as it should have had all along. Cynics will say with some justification that it wouldn’t have happened had a Public Utility District movement not started this summer on Whidbey Island. PSE counters that it’s been planning the move for a year and has signed a long-term lease for its Freeland office, which means it won’t disappear Nov. 5, the day after the PUD election. Regardless of the reasoning, the new office means improved service for Whidbey Island residents.

What PSE hasn’t promised to date is that the two Whidbey Island offices will go back to being open during power outages. This should be a priority. Islanders are tired of dialing 1-800-GETLOST when inquiring about local power outages to uncaring customer service representatives in Bellevue. We want to know what happened to make the power go out, we want an estimate of when it will be restored, and we want to hear it from people we trust on Whidbey Island.

When the power goes out at 2 a.m. some freezing winter’s night, call the PSE office in Oak Harbor or Freeland. If someone answers the phone, you’ll know they finally got it right.

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