{ Tuesday, March 02, 2004 }

Bitching About Utilities.

So, today the water got turned off, because I am a terribly irresponsible human being who hadn't opened her mail in about a month.

It's back on now. I went and paid them the balance and the reconnect fee this afternoon. While I was digging through the mail, I found the other utility bills. I dropped those payments off while I was out.

The water company is beginning to get like the gas company. (In looking for previous whinings about them, I came upon this charming story...) I came in, I paid, and then I had to go to a bank of telephones with my receipt and give the receipt number to customer service rep.

When paying the bill in person, I just don't feel like I should have to give my money to a teller and then turn around and call the customer service department. The teller should be perfectly capable of putting my payment into their system or whatever it is that the person on the other end of the telephone was doing for me.

It wasn't as bad as the gas company. There when you go in all sheepish about your service being disconnected, you automatically go to the line at the counter with the person at the end of it. She sends you to the telephone bank where you call and say "I'm here, and I want to pay my bill now", and they tell you what, if any, deposit will be required. Then you go back to the line and give the person your money. Then you go back to the telephones and say "Okay, I paid it." and you can leave.

Except, after that, they give you an absurd window of time during which you must be home in order to have service turned on. "Between eight am and ten pm today or tomorrow." If you are not home when they arrive, you have to pay a service fee and go back to the end of the line to have your heat back.

The water company only made me go from the teller to the telephones and not back again, and they only demanded that I sit at home for one entire day (and it really only amounted to a few hours before they arrived), so they aren't as bad.

When my former employers were building their new office, I happily joined the contractors and building owner in the argument about which utility company is the biggest pain in the ass. They made it very clear that I should be happy not to have cable television, apparently those people are as bad as the rest of them combined.

posted by mary ann 6:09 PM