Four of the nation’s major cable providers, Comcast, Time Warner Cable (TWC), Cox Communications, and Cablevision, are giving billing credits to subscribers who lost service due to Hurricane Sandy. Subscribers in the affected regions are eligible for the credits even if the service outage was due to factors not within the cable operator’s control, such as a neighbourhood power failure.
“Many of our customers have been severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy,” said Cablevision Senior Executive VP of product management and marketing Kristin Dolan. “In addition, customers will not be responsible for any damage to Cablevision equipment caused by the storm, and will be able to exchange damaged equipment at no cost.”
Cablevision customers can claim their credit as long as they call within 30 days of their service being restored.
The losses related to the destruction by Hurricane Sandy are extensive, and not just for local communities and governments. The storm may cost Cablevision as much as $40 million in damage and lost revenue in just one week. Barclays analyst James Ratcliffe estimates that Hurricane Sandy will cost telephone and cable companies as much as $600 million in repair and cleanup expenses alone.
TWC, which has about 12.5 million digital TV subscribers nationwide, has yet to determine if credits will be awarded automatically or only upon request.
Philadelphia based Comcast is asking its subscribers to contact their customer care department so they can offer credits accurately to those who need them. In a statement released by Comcast spokeswoman Jenni Moyer, she said “Our hearts go out to our customers impacted by the storm, and we want to do everything we can to make things even a little easier as they go through this difficult time. Customers can contact us and identify the time period during which they did not have access to Comcast services to receive a credit. We will work with each customer who contacts us so we can be sensitive to their specific needs and circumstances.”
The cleanup and rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy will hopefully be a short process, and it’s good to see that the country’s cable providers are doing what they can to bring back a sense of normalcy to the region’s storm victims.