08 September 2008

We Fought the Gas Company and ...

... the gas company lost. First, some background.

B. and I are good people. We like animals. We mow our yard. We pay our bills on time. So when the gas company sent us a letter recently threatening to shut our gas off, we were not happy. Evidently, because they haven't been able to get into our house to physically read our meter in over 11 months, we're bad customers. Never mind that we both work during the day. It's not like we sit in our living room and ignore them while they ring the door bell.

Since the bill is in B.'s name, he called last week to get this mess cleared up. The customer service rep says no problem, someone'll be out Wednesday after 5. No one showed up, so being the proactive people that we are, B. called again. This time the rep said they don't have evening meter readers in our town. The readers only work 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, no holidays. They can't give us a window smaller than 4 hours. B. said that wouldn't work; we aren't going to take half a day off work just to have our gas meter read. The CSR's only suggestions included leaving the door unlocked or leaving the reader a key. I don't think so.

Rumor has it that B. may have gotten upset with the CSR at this point and may or may not have used the 'f' word and may or may not have gotten hung up on. Since I've only heard B. yell once in 10 years, I highly doubt this, but evidently there were witnesses.

So, I called the gas company. After confirming that B. was my husband and that I was authorized to make decisions regarding the account, I asked if we could have an outside meter installed (thanks E. for the suggestion). Guess what? We could. For only $35. And they have evening installers. Why didn't the d*mn CSR a**hole suggest that before getting B.'s blood pressure up?

Oh, well. It's over now. We have an outside meter. It took 15 minutes to install. The readers never have to set foot in our house again. Our gas is not getting shut off.

But here's the kicker. The outside meter installer was once a meter reader. You wanna know what she would've done at our house if we weren't home? See answer in comments.


A. said...

She would have looked in the window! I thought B. was going to go through the roof when she said that. Evidently, you could see the meter fine through the window, thus eliminating the need to come in our house at all. Arg.

Miss Jack said...

I feel your frustration! You want to know what our lovely meter reader was doing?? Our apartment building had a fence going up the side of it on the windows side. Evidently, the people who owned the building before us didn't like that people could see into the windows. But, beyond this fence were the meters. And wouldn't you know the fence had a gate with a lock. We were getting bills and we were paying them…until one day we got a bill that was over $1400.00!!! Greg and I always wondered how they were reading the meter. Then Greg realized they were leaning on our fence. They leaned on it so much they loosened it…it was falling over. So, instead of calling us and asking us to unlock the gate, they were straining their eyes and our fence to get a reading. The fence was a good 6 or 7 feet from the meters!!! And the meters are hard as hell to read to begin with!! So, we took the fence down! Problem solved. And now our bills are much more reasonable. Not sure who was more stupid, us for letting them take the meter reading that long without getting beyond the fence or them for not asking us to unlock the gate!

Kelly said...

Good for you guys! We had that issue only once for our electric. They estimated the bill one month and the next month is was like $700. I called and asked what the heck was going on and the woman said I needed to trim my bushes. I asked how they couldn't read it last month, but this month they could. Turns out, my meter isn't even near a bush! Stupid lazy meter reader didnt' feel like looking. My current beef is with the federal government and all of their red tape. check the blog for more.