PG&E Bill Paying Site is Down. Where’s the Hue and Cry?

There is a great hue and cry in our land over the bugginess and unavailability of the healthcare.gov Web site. Our President has felt moved to go on national TV and apologize for the mishap. Like the President has nothing better or more important to do? Yeesh.

Yeah, well, the Republicans with their blind worship of All Things Corporate and Capitalist just look the other way when large consumer-facing Web sites owned by profit-making companies go on the fritz or fail. And it happens hundreds of times per day at a minimum. I run into these issues practically daily.

Tonight, it’s PG&E, a company that’s been in business since 1905. Their online bill paying capacity is offline, both from the Web and from their smartphone app. Since they’re a publicly regulated utility, I expect the Republicans to be jumping up and down any minute now, excoriating the company and its senior administrators for allowing this customer inconvenience!

My point is not that government implementation of technology is perfect or even good. It’s that technology is hard to get right, difficult to scale, and quite near impossible to maintain for every customer combination of browser, operating system, network supplier and level of computer expertise on the planet. Or in a state.

Let’s give the President’s health care implementation some time. A year ought to be fair; that’s how long it took Massachusetts to get their system running a few short years ago. Meanwhile, registration for the national plan is 500% ahead of Mass’ plan at the same relative time frame.

Patience, little ones. Patience.

 

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