Because of the severity of Hurricane Sandy, Time Warner Cable (TWC) has announced that it will be departing from standard operating procedure when it comes to crediting customer accounts due to service outages. Usually, customers are required to call customer service representatives to request credits for hours or days that their digital TV, home phone, or internet was not working.
“By posting credits automatically to customers’ accounts in the hardest-hit parts of our service area, we hope these affected residents and businesses will have one less call to make as they recover from the storm,” said John Quigley, TWC’s regional VP of operations for New York City.
For many storm victims, remembering the exact hours or days of their service outage is the least of their worries. Many residents who live in New Jersey and Long Island are still without power, so calling their cable provider is not even possible for most of them.
With the advent of advanced digital cable technology, Multi-system operators (MSOs) like TWC can track every click of a remote control from subscriber households and detect whether a set-top is powered on or off. The new digital technology also makes it easier for MSOs to prevent unscrupulous neighbors from piggybacking on paying subscribers’ networks, so it’s fair to assume that the technology to automatically gauge the accurate time period of service outage already exists.
Perhaps other MSOs will follow TWC’s lead and start applying automatic credits to customers still recovering from the storm. Hurricane Sandy was definitely as bad as advertised, and the damage to the communities was extensive even with all the preparations. The clean up and recovery is just beginning—so there’s plenty of time for other MSOs to grow a conscience and follow TWC’s example.