Entry #601: A good 'ole fashioned rant


As I logged-in to the control panel for my little blog here, I noticed a "congratulations" message from the system. The message informed that I had reached 600 entries with my previous tome.

I also realized that it has been a while since I've gone on one of my infamous rants about something, and since so many of you out there seem to enjoy tales of my frustration and misery, I'll share a recent experience to celebrate blog entry number six hundred and one.

MG&E is incompetent and almost blew-up my house

Ok... that may be a bit drastic, but I figured it would grab your attention. Here we go.

A few weeks ago, upon returning home from work, I noticed a big "hang tag" from MG&E on my front door. The tag said that MG&E had stopped by to replace my gas meter, but I wasn't home, so they asked me to call and schedule an appointment.

I quickly forgot about the request, and about a week ago noticed another similar hang tag on my door. This one was a little more aggressive, as it was filled with highlighter marks, underlines, and a note "requesting" that I schedule my appointment immediately.

So, I called them the following morning and set-up an appointment for Tuesday, November 29 between the hours of 10am and 12pm. Done.

Later that day, I received a phone call from MG&E asking if I would schedule an appointment to have my gas meter replaced. I was confused, as I had literally completed this request about 3 hours earlier. The gentleman from MG&E was also confused. After a bit of a stalemate, he said, "Well, I must have an old list here, so I'm going to erase you from it."

Ok, perfect.

Fast forward to Tuesday, 11/29. I decided to work from home so that I wouldn't miss the MG&E team. At precisely 11:45am, my doorbell rang and it was MG&E. They were here to replace the gas meter. I asked if I needed to do anything, and the somewhat schleppy technician said, "Nope, I'll do it all from outside."


About 10 minutes later, my doorbell rang again. "All finished with your gas meter replacement," said the technician.

I asked if I needed to do anything to see if it was successful, and he said, "You can go see if your furnace is working."

I had a better idea: I'd test my gas range. And yep, it was working.

He said something about needing to do some paperwork in his truck for a bit, so I locked-up the house and headed to work. It was just after noon when I left the house.

At about 3:00pm, I received a phone call from my neighbor.

"Hey Steve, it's your neighbor," said the voice. "I wanted to let you know that I can smell natural gas at my house, and it seems to be coming from your house."

Oh great. Just great... I asked a few questions of my neighbor and he confirmed, "The smell is really strong by your gas meter, and the little dials are spinning at about 100 miles per hour," he said.

Joy!!!! A natural gas leak coming from the newly replaced meter (that I really didn't want to have replaced, because every single project at my house turns into a nightmare).

I called MG&E's emergency line, and a woman answered. I told her the story, but before I could finish it, she started into a script.

MG&E: "Have you called the fire department or 911?"
Me: "No."

MG&E: "Is there anyone in the house?"
Me: "I'm at work. I don't believe so."
MG&E: "Sir, please answer with a yes or no."
Me: "I really don't know, I'm not at-"
MG&E: "Sir, please answer with a yes or no."
Me: "I guess it's empty, so no?"

MG&E: "Can you see gas leaking from the ground?"
Me: "Gas is a vapor. I'm not sure how you would see it leaking, and I'm not at home."
MG&E: "Sir, please answer with a yes or no."
Me: "Oh my god. Really???? No, I can't see it leaking because I'm at work."

MG&E: "Can you smell gas from inside of the house?"
Me: "Again - I am at work and I don't know."
MG&E: "Sir, please answer with a yes or no."
Me: "How can I answer this?"
MG&E: "Sir, please answer with a yes or no."

(you get the idea)

After the script was read and my answers deemed suitable, the woman said that dispatch would "send someone to look at it within an hour or so."

I decided to head home, so that I could meet MG&E there and to see what the problem was. I arrived home exactly fifty minutes later (traffic was heavy), and immediately walked over to the gas meter.

I took a big sniff.

Nothing. No smell of gas. So, I took a look at the meter, and it wasn't moving.

I looked around - no signs of MG&E. No notes, no trucks, nothing. So, I went to the front door and looked for a note or hang tag. Nothing.

I called MG&E and got the same woman from just an hour earlier. I told her that I was home and wasn't sure if the leak had been repaired, or if the gas had been shut off, or if there was more work to be done.

MG&E: "Is the technician there now?"
Me: "No. I just told you I don't see anyone."

MG&E: "Is your gas working?"
Me: "That's why I'm calling you. I don't know what has been done."

MG&E: "Is the meter locked-out?"
Me: "I don't think so. I don't see any tags or locks on it."

MG&E: "Can you go inside and see if your appliances or furnace are working?"
Me: "What? Just an hour ago, you told me to evacuate the house, and now I'm supposed to turn on a gas appliance? I seem to remember a house in Fitchburg that just exploded from a gas leak a few weeks ago."
MG&E: "Let me check with dispatch to see if they fixed it."

(me on hold for about 5 minutes)

MG&E: "They fixed it. It should be ok."
Me: "Should be ok? Or is ok?"
MG&E: "There was a leak at the meter, and they fixed it."
Me: "Was there any plan to tell me about this?"
MG&E: "Was there a note on your door or the meter?"
Me: "Holy cats. No. This is why I called you. I didn't have any idea what had been done."
MG&E: "Well, good thing you called. It's all fixed now."


Oh how I wish any of this was exaggerated. How do companies operate like this??? Oh, that's right - monopolies. I have no other options or choices for natural gas and electric where I live, so I'm stuck with MG&E.

They forced me to change out the meter, arrived nearly at the end of the service window, did a hap-hazard job, then nonchalantly fixed their mistake without telling me anything, and wanted me to go inside of a house that just had a gas leak to see if it was fixed.


Hope you enjoyed this entry. And I hope my house doesn't blow-up in the next few days or weeks.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steve published on December 1, 2016 2:02 PM.

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