Today's Link: Hatrack River
Today's Music: Tricky
Current Book: The Uplift War by David Brin
Today's Quote: Oops, I thought. Oops is an all-purpose word standing for every bit of profanity, blasphemy, and pornographic and scatological execration I could think of.Flux -- I Put My Blue Genes On

So... for my first rant of 2003 (what can I say, I've been sick or busy) I'm going to piss and moan about the utility companies that seem to conspire to make my life miserable.
First of all, ComEd has mostly just been confusing. Sending out a late payment notification on the day a payment is due, while the payment is sitting in their building. That's merely annoying. However... People's Energy apparently doesn't care one bit about their customers. They don't bother sending bills... unless you ask for them. So you can imagine my surprise when I got a bill in October for over $200. Keep in mind... I've got a stove and that's all. Heat is from a boiler in the basement that the land-lord pays for. Along with this bill was a disconnect notice. So I called them up to say "what's going on?" and was told, that not only should I have been paying this gas bill (which may have been my fault) but because I didn't have an account, I could not make a payment to prevent the disconnect until my account had been set up, which, they told me, would take several days.
Knowing my own history, I was willing to accept that I owed them for a year of gas, and I set up a payment plan with them. I've since made my payments every month.
Yesterday... I got another disconnect notice. Apparently, they haven't recieved my check (although my bank show that the payment has cleared) and therefore, I'm booted out of the payment plan and owe the full back amount. Needless to say... I was a little bit annoyed by this. So I called their customer service line and was told I owed... not the $50 that the last bill I got said... or the $80 that the disconnect notice said... but over $90. I asked the woman to explain how I owed that amount. She said something about me not having made my November payment. After about 10 minutes of her not telling me anything that agreed with what they had sent me in the mail, I got angry and told her I was filing a complaint with the Illinois Commerce Commision and hung up.
After venting to the Best Wife In The Whole World©. For a while I had calmed down a bit and called the customer service number again and the conversation went about like this.
Me: I'd like to speak to a supervisor, please.
CS: Is there anything I can help you with?
Me: No. I'd like to speak to a supervisor.
CS: There are only two supervisors on duty right now, and they are both busy.
Me: I'll hold.
CS: I can't just leave you on hold sir. Is there something I can help with?
Me: No. I want to speak with a supervisor.
CS: I can have someone call you back.
Me: About how long would it be before my call was returned?
CS: I have no way of knowing.
Me: Would it be a matter of a few minutes, a few hours or a few days?
CS: Well, it depends on how many people they have to call, our policy states that they cannot call people after 10:30pm (it was just after 10 at this point) At which point they'll begin calling people again at 8am tomorrow.
Me: Fine. Please have someone call me.
Although there was a call from People's Energy this morning, I was unable to answer the phone and the message simply gave me the regular Customer Service number, so I guess I have to go through the whole ordeal again. Anyway. I'm annoyed with them. And as an added annoyance... every time you call them the first thing you hear is a recording telling you to visit their web site. You also get a similar message every time you get put on hold. The funny thing is their site is apparently down... none of the images load and every link gives you a 404 error. (Except in Netscape where you can't even load the first page.) So... I think I'm done ranting, but I'll keep you posted on any developments. What do you think of the situation? Am I over-reacting?

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