For those paying attention, Hurricane Sandy provided a useful object lesson on the difference between the public and private sectors.

Example: Early on the morning of Tuesday, October 30, barely 12 hours after the storm hit, the historic district in Stratford was teeming with private work crews from as far away as Rhode Island. They wielded chain saws, bucket trucks and wood chippers to clean up the mess — working hard throughout the day and, above all, making money.

Meanwhile, the government-regulated monopoly utility was nowhere to be found.

Indeed by mid-morning of Saturday, November 3 (as this editorial was being written) they were still nowhere to be found. (Ed. note: Power was restored to this neighborhood on Sunday, November 4.)

Granted, Sandy was a once-in-a-generation event (one hopes). But the long waits for service restoration (United Illuminating finally had 99 percent of its customers back online by November 6; as of press time Connecticut Light & Power had not committed to a time frame for complete or nearly complete restoration).

This is not to pick on our hometown electricity provider — United Illuminating’s parent, UIL Holdings, on November 7 announced a $25,000 donation to the Red Cross for storm relief. But we have seen this movie before — twice before, in fact, over the most recent 14 months. Both Tropical Storm Irene last August and the freak snowstorm of October 29, 2011 (cosmic coincidence?) vividly illustrated both the vulnerability of the power grid to severe weather and the fact that both CL&P and UI are staffed for normal operations, not emergencies.

Since Sandy’s severity was accurately forecast no late than October 27, that utilities found themselves scrambling to find crews from hither and yon after the storm hit strikes us as inadequate preparation.

 New Dean Edward A. Snyder has big plans for the Yale School of Management (SOM).

 

Since arriving in New Haven this spring from the University of Chicago, he has shaken up the grad school’s administration, including hiring two high-profile administrators from competing business schools, to place greater focus on each of the school’s initiatives.

 

Snyder has drawn attention for his candor, having admitted to the New York Times that SOM lost $15 million to $20 million over the last 15 years — not an easy feat during the MBA gold rush of the last three decades when prospective business-school candidates shot up to more than 750,000 annually.

 

He was interviewed by the New York Times about his urgency to burnish SOM’s reputation nationally and internationally. In an August 7 New York Times Magazine story provocatively headlined “Is Michigan State Really Better Than Yale?” Snyder acknowledged that in terms of its present national reputation, Yale’s business school “second-tier…[but] with a real shot at making it to the top.” He wants his school, which once prided itself on going against the Harvard-Stanford tide of preparing the next generation of Wall Street titans, to change its focus to provide executive leadership for “elite multinationals.”

 

Maybe he will succeed. It’s an interesting time for SOM, which has long danced to the beat of a different drum. We’re sure the region’s business community would like to hear more from Snyder about his plans.

 

But they’re not going to — at least not here. Snyder has apparently decided to snub local media (although he plainly has ample space in his schedule for the New York Times). This publication has been trying to get a sit-down interview with Snyder. Over the course of multiple requests we could not get an answer from the SOM communications office. Finally, on September 13, we received our answer: “[Snyder] isn’t available to do the interview.”

 

Not “at this time,” or “for the foreseeable future.” Maybe he means “ever.” Not exactly a good way to introduce himself to the local business community.