Friday, May 28, 2010

Springtime Update

Aaah, I love to be asked my opinion, don't you?  After the last electrical outage I wrote about I received a call from our energy supplier to ask how I would rate the customer service I received. I was in the middle of preparing dinner for a guest and TBO, but I put them off so I could give the energy company my FULL attention.

This survey was being done by a REAL, LIVE person, who responded to me with more than press 1 for most satisfied, 2 for satisfied...etc. which was remarkable, to say the least.  I felt that someone who could actually do something for my frustration was actually listening to me.  This lovely person also asked me what they could do to improve their customer service!  Wonder of wonders, miracle of I gave them my opinion.  I asked that the company give courtesy calls to let people sitting in the dark know that the automated system had, indeed, submitted the notification to the powers that be, or not be.  I truly did not believe this was something they would implement, but a girl can dream, right?

Skip forward one week.

TBO and I are sitting in the living room, minding our own business enjoying a DVD, when BOOM, the lights and everything disappear.  Our transformer has blown, AGAIN.  There is no weather involved this time, just out of the blue loss...could have been a squirrel, but who knows?
We look out and realize that we are the only ones without power...not a happy thought.

I pull out my trusty cell phone and electric bill to give the asked for id number, (which I may have memorized by the next outage) and get the automated service...rats!  This very pleasant voice tells me that they will get right on our outage and that we should have service returned within 2-3 hours.  TBO and I laugh and scoff, the outage is less than 3 minutes old and they are saying that we'll have power in a matter of a couple of hours?

Suddenly, the home phone rings.  (TBO has connected it to a UPS which is protecting our computer.)  It is the energy company checking up on us!  OH MY GOODNESS!  They have someone in the area who will be out to our house within minutes.  Sure, we think.  We load up into the truck to go find a movie, discover that at the first theater there is nothing we want to see, and realize we have left both phones at home.  

Head back to the hacienda for said phones and lo and behold, the energy company is, indeed, there!    Alas, it is only a first responder, not a repair crew. Said transformer is now officially toast and will have to be replaced.  TBO gives permission for the crew to pull their truck onto our back lot close to the pole to make it easier for repairs.  Off we go again to seek entertainment in the air conditioning...

Three hours and a half hours later, (four and a half since the outage), we return.  It looks like a SWAT team has parked in front of our house.  There are flashing lights, trailers, bright work lights, trucks and a cherry picker in the back lot.  I am excited to see all the activity, I must say!

TBO goes out to sidewalk supervise, while I remain at the house...too many critters out at night for my taste.  I am sitting on the patio hoping to catch a breeze, reading my book by flashlight, when the lights come back on.  Yippee! Back in the 21st century...only 5 hours of an outage this time.  TBO did find out that we are at the "end of the line" when it comes to service in our area. This translates into our being the last ones to be restored to power when there is a major outage. Oh, well.  Again, I thank the crew who came out in the night to get us back on the grid.  They are the unsung heroes of springtime, and summer, and fall and winter! 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Springtime in Texas

I love spring...just not the severe weather that seems to be requisite with the season.  Yesterday, along with the rest of the entire state, we were inundated with rain and thunderstorms.  I was minding my own business when crack! the lights went out!

I called the prescribed number (proscribed?, given?) and actually talked to a human being, who gave me a confirmation number and told me to call back in "a couple of hours" to check on a time frame for restoration of power.  

I am, of course, home alone at this point, without a car, but, it is cool outside and not raining cats and dogs, YET.  Call TBO and ask if I should move the generator we bought during the power outage in February to the porch.  It was deemed a good idea before the deluge began in earnest.
Mind you, I have no idea of how to connect the generator to anything, but it is ready for use when TBO gets home!

After four hours, I decide to call and check on the status of our work order.  I am surprised to once again get a human being on the line.  Not so impressed with her people skills, however...I imagine she had had one too many huffy customers, but she still left me with a bad case of feeling like I had stepped all over her toes.  I actually had tried very hard to be patient, but she wasn't having any of it.  Customer service?  I don't think so.

We had decided to go to the movies yesterday, so off we go.  Saw Robin Hood, which we both enjoyed...I spent a great deal of time with my hands over my eyes in battle scenes, but all in all, it was very good.  Called the house to see if the answering machine functioned power. Had dinner, still no power.  Bought more gasoline for the generator so TBO could have his CPAP during the night and we could have a few lights and hook up the fridge.  

As we entered the circle, lights were on in every house around us- except our next door neighbor and us...woe is us.  Try calling the energy provider, but only get automated response...I am beginning to become a little cranky...ok, a LOT cranky.  Around 9:00 I receive a call from a real live person from said provider.  She couldn't explain why we were the only ones in our neighborhood without power, but assured me they were out working and we would be back online as soon as possible. Different person from earlier in the day, and I made sure she knew I appreciated her kindness and the return call.

I went to bed realizing that I really had no reason to be so dang upset...I didn't have a hole in my roof, or no roof at all, I had a generator and a good flashlight.  Added bonus of the outside temperature being in the sixties...perfect sleeping weather.  Decided I should really get over the crankies!

At 4:20 this morning, the TV came back to life, the ceiling fans began to turn and we returned to the 21st century.  I got up to turn off lights and the TV, and saw the number of trucks it took to get us back online...looked like a convention out on our street!  So, thank you to all those men and women who go out in the elements to make my life easier.  I hope that the Customer Service Rep I had yesterday gets some sleep and feels better soon.  I am blessed!