Since I didn’t make it clear in my last post on the subject…an update:
Oncor’s meter is stuck. Pretty sad that a digital meter can get stuck. They show my usage for the month of January (and now for half of February) as ZERO kilowatt/hours.
Now, we don’t use much when we are NOT air-conditioning, but ZERO is not possible if the power is on. I know we made at least one pot of coffee in the last 45 days…and I usually turn on the lights to pee (even though they are CFL’s) LOL!
WooHoo! Free Electricity!
Yeah, well, we can always dream, right?
I DID call about the problem…
And that’s the sad thing…
I *believe* in paying my way…I may want the rate to be lower /etc…but I will pay for what I legitimately use at the agreed upon price.
So, I watched the meter all this weekend. It’s a digital display, but it never moved.
So I called Oncor (they are the grid service provider, not the retailer…they own the lines and meters and do all physical service). They told me they could only talk to me about outages and to call my retail provider for any complaints.
So I called my retail provider (paraphrased, even though I used quotes for effect)
“I believe my meter is not reading right.”
“If you would like to schedule a meter evaluation there is a charge.”
“You mean I have to *pay* you to come out and see that your meter is broken?”
“Yes. Would you like to schedule a technician?”
“How much does it cost?”
“I can’t tell you for sure. There is a base rate for coming out, and it depends whether they’ve been out before, and possible equipment charges if they have to install a test meter in addition to your normal meter socket. Looks like it will be between $36 and $75 dollars.”
A note here…they don’t want to do their job, and they want to make it difficult and expensive for the consumer to ask them to do their job…thus, charging to diagnose defective equipment…
And just to put that “punishment” for questioning them into perspective, I expect that $75 would cover MY ENTIRE YEAR’S worth of electricity usage if you subtract air-conditioning.
“You’re serious I have to pay for a technician to come out and figure out why you are giving me free electricity?”
“Will you note on my account that I called in a complaint?”
“Already done sir.”
“Huh. Good. Okay. I think I’ll skip the technician. After y’all figure out the trend on my bills you’ll send somebody out.”
“Okay sir. Have a nice day and be sure to call us for any other problems.”
Deregulation and call centers. Gotta love it. Hell will freeze over before I PAY for a technician to come out to diagnose their busted meter.
I did call Oncor back today and clearly explained to the gal that answered that they were giving me free electricity and my retail provider wanted to charge me money to schedule a technician to check it out.
“You are giving me free electricity.” Can’t get much plainer than that.
“I’m not paying a technician to come out and figure out why you are giving me free electricity. That’s on your dollar.” Pretty plain too.
She said they’d send somebody out within the next 48 hours. I just hope I have power when they are done. They didn’t inspire a lot of confidence…their system showed me being serviced by a different retailer than I am (and I’ve been with my current retail provider well over a year).
Deregulation has not been good for the Texas power industry.
Oh, and I should note just for the chance Oncor or my retailer reads this…their phone folks WERE polite and professional…no gripes with them at all. It’s the bureaucracy and hurdles and complete unwillingness to take ownership (because, somehow, this MUST be the consumer’s problem, yes?) that is the issue. The bureaucracy needs to be pushed out of the way, and let’s get the working men/women involved and get something done.
Four things are in question now:
1) Will I have power at the end of the week?
2) With the correct provider?
3) Will they fix the problem?
4) Will they try to bill me for fixing their problem?
Oh, and hey! An update to the update already…here!