At the end of last year, tornadoes in north Texas destroyed homes, killed twelve people, and caused as much destruction as you might expect of a tornado. One family near Dallas was fortunate that they were out of the country and not in their house when it was destroyed, but in the aftermath had to deal with a frustration that they didn’t need: their electric company kept sending them bills for power in their non-existent house. [More]
M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas offers world-class cancer treatment, and a man who lives near Dallas traveled there to continue treatment after fighting cancer for three years. He had just learned that chemotherapy was no longer working when a call came from their neighbors back in northern Texas: their home was on fire. [More]
While we might never know how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop (wait, did someone figure that out?) we can reasonably guess how much water a single woman uses in a month. And just to start things off, if the EPA says the average family of four uses around 12,000 gallons per month, what is the likelihood that an 84-year-old woman used 55,000 just by herself in that same time span? Highly unlikely, city of Sacramento! We call shenanigans.
Thieves have been dressing up as local utility workers for BGE in Maryland.
A neighborhood is up in arms after, without notice, the utility trimmed several old-growth shade trees to make way for new power lines. They even took one down to the stump. PSE&G says emergency measures had to be taken to address resident complaints about outages. The Montclair homeowners say their street and property values have been damaged to provide power to a tony neighborhood and country club the next town over.
When the water bill for $8,000 arrived, a New Jersey man quickly found out why his showers had been so weak over the past few months. It turns out that the pipes had burst in his yard, sending nearly a million gallons of water into the soil. He doesn’t think he should have to pay because when he called the water company to complain, they told him his pipes were probably just frozen and so he should just wait for warmer weather. “Like an idiot, I listened to them,” he told The Star Ledger.
Claude has a cool story about how Philadelphia Gas Works went the extra mile to make sure his girlfriend’s car wouldn’t explode after a gas leak started nearby.
There are some things that you really, really don’t want to handle doing yourself. After a tree took out electric and phone lines on his property, A. in Texas is left with the heavy trunk resting on high-tension steel cables that normally go between the poles. An AT&T told A. during a visit to just remove the tree trunk and let the cables go up. A city inspector and a professional lineman separately told A. that doing so might lead to the cables flying up and taking the utility lines out again, and could also injure or kill the person doing the work.
One home was paying for both their power and their neighbor’s after their meters got crossed. Over seven years they overpaid by $11,000 despite making costly upgrades to reduce power consumption.
Brrrr. Melanie and her housemate have no heat or gas after the Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) turned off the gas four days ago. She’s never missed a payment but they tell her they need to investigate “meter tampering” because they found two loose screws on her meter. It’s 48 degrees in her house and she has no way to cook anything. Customer service can’t tell her when the “meter investigation unit” will get around to checking it out and there’s no way she can get in contact with them. UPDATE: Melanie reports that after this post went up and we contacted PGW, they called her and said they’re coming to turn the heat back on this afternoon.
Avi recently went to his mailbox and found a notice from Philadelphia Gas Works warning him that he was going to have his account referred to a collection agency if he didn’t pay the $0 past due balance on his bill.
Think fast: if a utility offered you $5,000 not to complain about the noise from their wind turbines, would you accept? What if the noise was so loud that it caused headaches and nausea? It’s a choice Caithness Energy is asking some Oregon residents to make as the utility tries to build one of the largest wind farms in the country.
Jesse has turned to Consumerist for help because he is being haunted by a relic from his past. Specifically, he writes that a debt collector has contacted him, claiming that he owes them for having a gas service account that he never used–in an apartment where he thought all utilities were included. What should he do?
Got a longstanding PG&E customer service issue that’s getting you down because no one at regular customer service will fix it? Escalate to the top with these executive email addresses and phone numbers:
Reader Jim writes in to let us know that he feels mislead by a pushy salesperson for Vectren Source, a gas supplier in Ohio. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this business, gas suppliers are independent companies that you can choose to purchase gas from instead of your utility.
As the slumbering economy forces more people to think of ways to save money, the basic costs of living continue to increase. Case in point: Con Edison is set to jack up rates for electricity to millions of customers in the New York City metro area.