KCRA back in Meyers in 7 weeks | TahoeDailyTribune.com

KCRA back in Meyers in 7 weeks

Susan Wood, Tahoe Daily Tribune

There’s good and bad news coming out of Charter Communications for the 4,000 Meyers cable subscribers trying to get KCRA back into their households.

The good news is that improvements should be made in seven weeks. The bad news is the change won’t likely be made in time for California’s recall election coverage.

Charter subscribers want to tune in the Sacramento NBC affiliate but instead are receiving Reno television news because the system falls within a Reno-based network.

While Charter management said it’s trying to rectify the problem that has lingered for eight months, the solution has taken longer than expected.

The permit tussle between the cable franchise and phone company SBC over installing the necessary fiber optic lines has been resolved, with the cable operator recently securing its long-awaited permits.

Power poles are expected to be ordered by next week and Sierra Pacific plans to have them set up by the first week of October. Charter said the 7.5 miles of fiber lines will take two weeks to be strung.

“We assumed this process would take 60 to 90 days and we could tighten up the time line given the circumstances,” said Judge Smith, Charter Lake Tahoe general manager.

But by the time the $200,000 job is completed over the seven weeks, viewers will probably miss the California governor’s recall election coverage planned for Oct. 7.

It’s a case of deja vu for the southern Lake Tahoe residents, who have fluctuated between immaculate patience and off-the-chart anger since the Sacramento channel went off the air for last year’s election.

At the time, Pinnacle Communications went into bankruptcy and turned off its microwave system that provides service to Meyers subscribers.

Since then, calls and letters from disgruntled subscribers about bad reception and a changing cable lineup have swarmed the Tahoe Daily Tribune.

Missy Springer, a Meyers resident, said she’s ready to switch to satellite service.

“They can’t just do this continually,” Springer said, lamenting over missing out on an election “that’s so important to California.”

The accusations of poor service has spilled out into South Lake Tahoe, where the city has a franchise agreement with Charter — the only cable operator that has expressed an interest in this market.

City resident Margie Horst said that she’s experienced spotty, sporadic coverage in the city, with KCRA being abruptly cut off. On Monday, Horst said she didn’t receive the channel at all.

“I pay $42.52, and I can’t believe the service is so bad,” she said. “If you went to a restaurant and the service was bad, you wouldn’t give a good tip.”

If the service doesn’t improve and rates continue to rise, Horst said she’s considering circulating a petition asking subscribers to turn off their cable for a month in a mass switch-off to hit Charter in the pocketbook.

Rates went up April 1 by nearly $2 a month for extended cable service. Charter management said rates remained unchanged for the Meyers subscribers.

— Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at swood@tahoedailytribune.com

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