thenodrin (thenodrin) wrote in bad_service,

I consider it Bad

When the hurricane came through the state I live in, millions of people lost power. Over the course of the week the hard working crews of AEP restored power to almost all of those people. I applaud those efforts and those crewmen.


After the 84+ MPH winds on Sunday, I still had power. I wasn't sure why I had power. A neighbor's tree lost some sizable branches, and when they fell they brought my power and cable lines down with it. There is a pic on my Journal.

So, I had a down power line and power. I assumed this was a BAD THING and called AEP. OK, it took multiple tries to get through. I considered that understandable. I left two messages because the first one cut out early and I was worried it didn't save properly.

On Tue, the cable company came out. They saw the down and live power line intertwined with their cable line and declared themselves unwilling to work on the situation. I understood that. They aren't trained or equipped to deal with a down power line. They instructed me to call back when the power line is repaired.

So, I called AEP to get an ETA. The best they could give me was Sunday at midnight. I pointed out that this wasn't a case of no power, this was a live power line laying on the ground and across my deck. I also pointed out that the meter had been pulled from the house and was shattered in my yard. I asked if they could put a rush on it, not because I wanted power, but because I considered it a safety hazard. They said that they would.

I called back on Thursday. I only did so because the radio had advised that if a down power line has caution tape around it then the power company knows about it and it is on schedule to be repaired. As there was no caution tape, I phoned to make sure that they did know that it was a live down line, and a hazard to anyone who might wander through my backyard. As I live between two schools I was worried that a child might be chasing a ball, or be taking a shortcut, and get seriously injured or killed. The woman on the other end was unsympathetic, but I figured she must be overworked with the crisis. I asked her to make sure it was reported as a live down line with the meter smashed, so a repair crew would need a new meter.

On Sunday the crew arrived. Two crews. Apparently either one for each call or one for each message or something like that. Anyway, they turned off the power to the line. They CLIPPED the line. They coiled it up on the pole in the alley. And they informed me that once I get an electrician to repair the meter they will come back and restore my power.

Let me explain that again, because I didn't understand it at first either.

The meter belongs to me. It is my property. The power company does not own it, fix it, or replace it should it be damaged. They only own the little dial in the meter that displays how much power has been used.

The technical terms I learned last night are: Meter = dial inside the housing. Meter Base = the housing for the dial. AEP owns the meter. I own and am responsible for the meter base.

So, the power company didn't tell me that I would need to purchase and have installed a new meter base. They instead cut my power first, then informed me of this fact. And, when I get it fixed, I go to the BACK OF THE LINE in priorities to get the power restored.

Ike didn't cut my power. AEP cut it!

When I asked why I wasn't told that I was responsible for fixing the meter base, I was told that the phone techs are trained not to advise customers of this fact. Because, if the customer were to call an electrician to repair it based on information from the phone tech, they might be held responsible for the cost.

Yes, I have to spend this week without power because it was financially necessary for AEP to withhold information from me. Their phone techs said that the problem would be fixed on Sunday. I think that the problem is now worse, but they insist (and I guess they are technically correct in that there is now no longer a safety hazard) that the problem is resolved and this is a new problem.

And, because it is a new problem, I don't even get a priority on them coming back out to reconnect me. As the reconnection is a separate issue, I go to the back of the line.

Teel Deer version: I reported a down power line and broken meter and advised that the power was still working and therefore possibly dangerous. AEP's solution to the problem was to cut power before informing me that the meter was my responsibility to repair. So, now I'm without power whereas before I had power. And, because the "problem" was "fixed" when I call back to get my power restored, that will be a new issue and I go to the back of the line in queue.

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