Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Utterly Powerless

July - I get a call from Commerce Energy where a smooth-talking salesman convinces me to change my electric service from TXU. I have two electric bills - one upstairs and one downstairs. I am assured the change will be seamless.

I am such an idiot.

Aug. - The change occurs. I experience no loss of service, but for some reason I only get one bill - for the upstairs unit. I can’t pay the downstairs bill online because I don’t have the account number. Because I never received a bill. Even though I signed up both units at the same time with the same mailing address and contact info. Concerned, I call Commerce but after waiting for over an hour to talk to someone on their jammed phone lines, I give up. I write an e-mail asking for someone to please contact me with my account number so that I can pay the other bill.

Sept. - I am in Dallas working on a sandsculpture at the Texas State Fair. Someone claiming to be the owner of the Commerce Energy calls me on my cellphone, apologizes profusely and tells me he has things all straightened out. He gives me my account number which I write down on a small piece of paper while I am driving in Dallas and tells me a bill will be in the mail. And then he assures me that they would never disconnect without attempting to get ahold of me.

I promptly lose the little piece of paper.
I am not overly concerned because the owner of the company has called and told me that everything has been worked out and that they won’t disconnect without contacting me.

Oct. The bill for the upstairs arrives but, again, there is no bill for the downstairs. Alarmed, I try calling Commerce. After waiting for half an hour to talk to a human being I give up.

Nov. 14 My downstairs lights go dark. I call Commerce - just a little bit distraught. Amazingly enough, I don’t have to wait. The first guy can;t find any record of my existence. I get even more distraught. He hangs up on me. Next time I get Denise who is sympathetic and is able to find me in the system. After about half an hour we are able to ascertain that two bills - both addressed to me at 117 E. Saturn instead of P.O. Box 2694 - have been returned by the SPI post office as undeliverable. When I ask why no one tried calling me, I am told that they tried to reach me at my office phone number but either no one answered or my ex-husband answered and said he would convey the message. Or something. Whatever -- I never got a call or a message from anyone ex-husbandlike and there is no explanation for why no one tried me on my cellphone - which is the way they were able to contact me back in Sept.

So I use my Mastercard to pay two months worth of electric bills plus an additional $54 fee for quick re-connect which only maybe will get me turned back on within the next 24-72 hours. Which pisses me off even more because I can’t figure out how it is MY fault that they didn’t send the bill to the mailing address that I provided them when I made the switch.

15 minutes ago - I drive over to the SPI post office to give whomever will listen to me a piece of my mind. Poor Gilbert. He is a really nice guy and I know it isn’t his fault but somebody has to hear me vent and tag he is it. He suggests I need to talk to someone named Tony Gracia at 943-2212.

I am mad as hell that mail addressed to me at my home address gets sent back as undeliverable. I am mad as hell that the people working at the post office cannot be bothered to connect the dots when something really important - like an electric bill - shows up addressed to a street address. I am mad as hell that Commerce - which had both my cell phone and email address as well as my office phone number and my P.O. Box number which they had been sending my other bill to - didn’t try a little harder to contact me and tell me how much I owed and how to pay it before cutting me off.

And everyone on the Island who depends on the SPI Post Office to deliver important things like electric bills should be nervous -- because if it happened to me, it could happen to you, too. So maybe if all of us call Tony, something will finally get done.


Blogger mustlovespi said...

You are not alone - important papers like IRS statements, insurance renewal papers, PASSPORTS!!!! the list is endless. When we first moved here I had more mail returned than you can imagine. To add to the frustration - try ordering something on the internet with a POBox - not possible. I will call Tony today!

6:46 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

The advice I got was to use BOTH your physical address (which is supposed to work here on SPI) and a P.O. box number on Address Line 2.

UPS, FedEx, and those kind of companies don't deliver to US Postal boxes ... but some people have gotten so frustrated they changed over to private boxes like at the place near Ship Shape (sorry I forgot the name - but real nice fella with a pretty bird).

I don't know if complaints will do one darn thing ... I have to say that my cluster box on the side of the road (free) is working pretty good though. /sam

6:56 PM  

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