First Time Homeowners Lesson #...

Well I'm not sure what number it is because we've definitely had lots to learn since we bought this house. However, we're probably in the hundreds by now.

Yesterday we had a less than pleasant surprise. I took Luke into his room to put his shoes on and his light didn't turn on. Then I looked around and noticed that there wasn't power to anything. I opened the front door to check the breaker box and found a thing on the door knob that said our power had been turned off and the reason marked was "No Applicant". What the....?

You have to understand that in the apts. we'd rented in Logan and Bountiful the power was included in the city utilities bill. When we set up our utilities account we assumed the power was included, especially because we had power. The gas bill was obviously separate and we had to call Questar to come turn the gas on when we moved in. So why was the electricity on? Who knows. Also, why didn't they leave a notice on the door the day before or send one in the mail saying our power would be turned off if we didn't take a certain action? I think that's just stupid and a waste of their time and money not to send a notice in the mail or leave one on the door or SOMETHING.

Well I called the customer service number in my confusion and she explained that we hadn't set up an account and that we didn't pay it through the city like I thought. I didn't believe her so I went and got a city utilities bill stub out and sure enough, power wasn't listed there. That made a lot sense for that city bill though. It has been the same each month and I couldn't imagine how we were possibly using the same amount of power each month. Maybe the light should have clicked on back when I noticed it was the same each month, but it didn't, I just thought they had decided to charge it like the do for water, a set amount for a up to a certain amount of usage.

Anyway, I got the account set up and told her when we'd closed on the house and she said they would be sending us a really big bill at the end of August because it would have all the months' usage since March. Lovely. Why did they let us have power for 6 months without noticing until now that there wasn't an account when the house had been vacant since January of last year?

Well she said someone would come back and turn it on. By this time it was already heating up in the house. Our little house doesn't take long to heat up! Tyler was on his way home though and I was glad for that. We waited and waited for someone to come and then I decided to call and find out if they'd be out the same day or the next day because if they weren't coming right away then I'd need to go buy a bunch of ice for the fridge and freezer to keep our food from going bad. Why couldn't they just warn us beforehand?! We could have told them oh, sorry here's our info. And saved a lot of food and energy!

So the customer service lady said it would be within 24 hours of when the service ticket was opened and would depend on how many people had tickets in front of ours in line but if the power wasn't on by 5:00 then it would be the next day.

Shortly after this phone call we heard someone by the break box and meter doing something for a minute or 2 and then they left. Our power still wasn't on so we decided maybe they needed to do something else that might take some time or something. We decided to go get dinner in an air conditioned place since we were burning up and I couldn't cook anything. Thank goodness the Pizza Factory by our house has a sweet pizza and salad deal for $5.99 each. That was tasty and we got to fill our salad plates with things Luke likes so we didn't really have to pay for him. Cheating? Well... I ate some stuff off my salad plate too so not completely.

When we got back to our house the power still wasn't on. I called the customer service AGAIN to see if the service ticket was closed and she said that our meter was on and the guy came and that the ticket was closed. I said, "But our power still isn't on." and she said "Well your meter is on so if you're not getting power then it is a problem with your breaker box. Have you flipped the main breaker on?" We had, but we did it again since we were on the phone with her. Still nothing. So then she tells me to find the main breaker inside the house. I explained that there wasn't one and she said yes there is, there is all houses have 2 main breakers, one inside and one outside. Tyler confirmed to me that we only have the one breaker box and I told her again and told her our house is 100 years old and only has one box.

We talked about the breaker box where I was looking and she asked if the main breaker was in the full on position. I told her I was pushing it over and it wouldn't go any farther on. She then said, "Well push it hard!" I was surprised by her rudeness and said, "I am pushing it hard, it's in the on position!" She then said that there must be another main breaker somewhere that isn't on. I again told her there wasn't.

She wouldn't believe me. She had me walk all over the house and in our detached garaged looking for a breaker that doesn't exist. At one point she said, "Is there an adult there who can show you where it is, maybe a neighbor?" Are you kidding me??? I said "I am an adult!" and she said, "Someone older who would know what they're looking for? Like a neighbor?" I was so annoyed at this point I really almost asked to talk to her supervisor. Instead I said, "you want me to go next door and bring my elderly neighbor over here? to do what?! we only have one breaker box and one main breaker and it's on." I don't remember what she said after this but then we talked about if our breaker box is broken or something and I said that if it was then it was something caused by them turning our power off and then back on because we've never had a problem with it before and she said there would be a fee charged to us to send someone out and I said that we shouldn't be charged a fee for something that was working before their service man came out and did whatever he did!

I was really frustrated and told her she could talk to my husband and handed the phone to Tyler. He had the same arguments with her and finally said, "Well I want to talk to a supervisor or someone who can wave the fee because I shouldn't have to pay for something I didn't break, something that was working before you guys turned off the power without notifying us first".

After sitting on hold for a while some other lady got on and was much better to talk to. She explained that basically we'd only be charged a fee if the service man got here and flipped the main breaker and the power came on. Tyler was like oh, ok well I'll risk that because I've already tried that many times.

An hour later a guy got here and after Tyler explained what had happened the guy opened the meter and found that the service man who came and turned the power back on had left some type of stoppers on that should have been removed. They were keeping us from getting power from the meter. So even though the meter was on, the electricity was still being stopped.

Someone needs to tell that lady at the call center that there can be something keeping the electricity from getting to our breaker even if the meter is "on". She made me want to call her not nice names and call back and tell her supervisor to review the call because she was so rude to me. I don't think I've ever been treated so rudely by a customer service rep on a phone call before.

In the end we got our power back on before Luke had to go to bed which was great because I couldn't imagine him going to sleep without A/C when it was getting to be 85 degrees or so in our house and the window in his room was open and our street is somewhat busy. In addition, it was only his 3rd night in his toddler bed so I couldn't imagine him staying in bed in those conditions. Luckily, the service man didn't take very long.

The moral of this story is, that lady isn't very smart and isn't a very good Customer Service Rep. Oh wait, I guess that's not really the moral of the story. The moral of the story is... when you buy your first house, make sure you know who you're supposed to pay for your power so you don't end up with a 6 month high bill to set up a payment plan for.


Heh. Dude. That sucks. :( And it sucks that customer service lady was dumb. The ironic thing about people like that is that I can practically PROMISE you that she's never had to do what she was asking you to do in real life. She just spouts out preconceived information that they told her to say. And she thinks she's smarter than everybody else as a result. Grrr. Dumb people are aggravating. . . and they're everywhere!
Shay said…
That is crazy and so rude! They really should have given you some notice.
I'm glad that Luke is doing well in his bed!
kimmers said…
Oh my gosh Bre! I'm sorry! This sounds terrible. You are much more patient than I am. I would have asked for a supervisor WAAAAAY before then. I'm glad it all worked out.
kimmers said…
You are probably seeing my old photo blog, which failed miserably. Haha. Yeah, my normal blog is private, and even though I don't blog much on that one either, there are more recent posts. Give me your email address and I will invite you. :)