Reading Between the "LINES"

April 17, 2012

Yesterday we got our electric bill from Atlantic City Electric. Each month they insert a little paper called LINES that includes items of interest. We especially liked the community events calendar, "Things to Do." It was nice to know what was going on in our area that we could see and do.

Now we can read between the LINES. This month's edition of LINES had a note to readers (customers) that I would like to share with those who aren't. It starts out as follows:

"Dear LINES Reader:
We're making some changes to LINES based on your feedback.

In a recent survey, you told us that you want more information about our efforts to improve reliability and restore services faster following storms. You also want to learn how to save money on your bill and how system improvements relate to the rates you pay for electricity."

Neither of us took part in any survey, but it was likely just a sampling of customers who were called by someone in India. I think I understand the above paragraph. Customers probably complained about outages due to squirrels and storms and how long it takes to restore services. And they probably complained about high electric bills. Under "system improvements" they are probably referring to the Agenda 21 required meter boxes that give the government remote control over our power usage.

The note continues:

"In response to your comments, future editions will devote more space to these specific topics of customer interest. In order to focus on what's important to you, LINES no longer will carry the community events column, Things to Do."

The best part of LINES has been discontinued and it's all our fault!

There is more.

"LINES also will be published quarterly instead of monthly to call more attention to the information presented. Frequently covered topics, such as electricity safety, how to prepare for outages and information on customer service programs, will be treated on separate bill inserts."

Less information is better because electric customers can't handle information overload. LINES will therefore come less often, but in it's place, more advertisements will accompany our electric bill.

The note concludes:

"Finally, LINES will sport a new look. The redesign will use photos more effectively and present information in an easier-to-read format.

We hope you find future editions of LINES a great improvement. Look for the new LINES with your July bill."

Got it! Many customers are illegal aliens and the rest of us are uneducated or lazy. We only read photos and text messages.

At the bottom, there is another note:

"Follow us on Twitter at"