How PECO shut Indy Hall down for two days - Technical.ly Philly

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Jan. 17, 2014 8:30 am

How PECO shut Indy Hall down for two days

When Adam Teterus found out that PECO had to shut off Indy Hall's power for the day, he immediately called to ask them to reschedule. He didn't want to have to tell the Old City coworking space's roughly 300 members that Indy Hall was going dark for a day -- less than 24 hours before it actually happened.

Inside Indy Hall.

Updated 1/17/14 10:00 a.m.: The previous headline of this story was inaccurate. PECO shut Indy Hall down for two days.   3:17 p.m.: Updated to add that the three other businesses in the building would be affected.

Adam Teterus found out Wednesday afternoon that PECO had to shut off Indy Hall’s power Thursday morning because of maintenance work.

Teterus, the operations manager for the Old City coworking space, immediately called PECO to ask them to reschedule. He didn’t want to have to tell his roughly 300 members, about 90 of whom work out of the space on any given day, that Indy Hall was going dark for a day — fewer than 24 hours before it actually happened. The outage would also affect the 30 or so employees of the three other businesses in the building: Wildbit, Axis Philly and Tamman.

His call didn’t work. A customer service rep told him that she couldn’t get in touch with the appropriate people, according to Teterus.

Defeated, he alerted Indy Hall’s members. But then he found the lights on Thursday morning. Apparently, the Coldwell Banker around the corner, which was also going to be affected, also told PECO it couldn’t shut down and this time. This time, it worked.

It’s not the first time this has happened at Indy Hall, said founder Alex Hillman. In November, it was a similar situation: after a last-minute alert, the PECO work fell through and the power never went off, but the damage, so to speak, had been done. It’s the communication issues that are the most frustrating, he said.

“I understand that utilities need to be maintained, and I’m thankful for the service,” Hillman wrote in an email. “But on the communication front, this sucks for everyone and it doesn’t have to.”

So what happened?

A bad case of communication mishaps.

A PECO representative told Technically Philly that if it plans to do work and needs to shut a customer’s power off, they give notice “weeks ahead.” But sometimes there’s a situation that just pops up, like this one, and customers aren’t always so lucky, said PECO spokesman Greg Smore.

But PECO didn’t hear from any customers asking for work to be rescheduled, Smore said. When PECO staff arrived on the worksite Thursday morning, Coldwell Banker told them they couldn’t shut down.

Had Teterus’s call gotten to the right people, would PECO have rescheduled the work for a weekend and saved him the headache?

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Maybe.

Regardless, Hillman’s worried it’s going to happen again. And for a city that says it’s “open for business,” this seems a little counterproductive.

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