Feb 13 2014

Cold Again… Glad It Wasn’t 6 Days This Time!

I thought the ice storm was enough, thank you very much. And Mother Nature seems to be ok with that; while we’ve had some exceptionally cold weather we haven’t had outages and problems as the result of it. Here’s hoping it stays that way, I know there are some storms and weather watches happening along the eastern US & Canada as I write this. Seeing the photos of all the snow in the southern states has been amazing and fortunately not too much of a problem.

So I was more than just a little annoyed at having a dysfunctional company cause something that had the potential to be just as big an impact. The story from there to here goes like this…

I thought this was pretty clear…

Back in October 2013 our local gas company (Enbridge) was looking to replace older meters with new smart meters. They came by at the beginning of November and determined our meter needed to be moved as well as being upgraded (I’ll attribute that to letting a lazy contractor get away with a decision back in 2005… that’s a story all on its own but it should now be firmly in the past). So we agreed to have the meter moved and specified that we would get dates agreed to, that we’d get advance notice, and all the usual things. The representatives who came to do the assessment also said it would include a new meter being installed so it would all get done at once (but didn’t write that detail down).

 So at the beginning of February we got a call from the utility to arrange a date (they called on a Tues. & wanted to come the next day). The original documentation specified that I needed to get a gas fitter to connect the house back onto the newly located meter so this was not going to happen… I had arranged with a fitter to be in his queue but these guys are busy so one day’s notice wasn’t happening. We all agreed to the following Tuesday (Feb 11).

My guy showed up early (great!) and we both sat waiting for the utility guys to show up. When they were half an hour late I called up the contact I had and he finally got back to me to say they got called away on an emergency and wouldn’t be able to make it. What a waste of everyone’s time! I put it down to a lack of respect for their customer (me and everyone else they do this to). So I told the utility that I would work out a new date/time with my gas fitter and get back to them later the same day. Which I did, saying the following Tuesday would work. Left a message, said “call me back to confirm”.

Needless to say, I was more than a little surprised when I finally talked to him mid-afternoon the next day only to have him tell me they had already completed the work.

“Completed” is very subjective in this context…
Yes, that had disconnected us from the gas main and moved where the gas line comes up out of the ground.

And of course my gas fitter wasn’t available, he’s booked out for the rest of the week (but to be fair he said he’d make sure we weren’t left in the cold if I couldn’t sort it out with the utility). So I got a hold of my contact and put this pile of smelly stuff back in his lap where it belonged. He said they’ll send someone from the people they sub-contract gas fitting to. And home I go so  I can make sure it happens and to see how cold it is (keep in mind that Punch is there and he’s no fan of the cold).

Not what I was expecting to see…

This is what I came home to…
No, they did not install a new meter. In fact they didn’t install any meter, the old one was just sitting in the snow. My contact was no longer answering his phone, gone for the day.

On the phone talking to the 1-800 number; on hold, bounced around, the usual big business that has a monopoly treatment. The good news is that the original contact had actually set something in motion before he left the office and forgot about his customer… their fitter arrived while there was still some daylight for him to connect things. And I give him credit for having a positive attitude and getting the job done. We had heat back a couple of hours after he arrived (but he did have to finish the job in the dark using a headlight).

The end result (so far)

I’m curious to see what our next gas bill will look like! Really not looking forward to arguing with them over what the details will be…

So there’s the story of my Wednesday.

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