a.k.a. It’s a rant, people.
Convinced DTE is never going to show up, I just might have to power the new house this way.
So, let me tell you all about my new house. It is spectacular. It is paid for. It is mine. I’d love to move in tomorrow (or last week when I closed on it, actually), but I can’t – because my whole family would be dead from pneumonia in a matter of days, taking cold showers in a house without heat, because DTE Energy cannot be bothered to TURN ON THE GAS.
I guess I should be happy we at least have electricity. But that was six phone calls ago and I’m over that victory now. So… so… over… it. (Oh, and we have water – but that just came back on by itself without any phone calls from me. Magical water fairies or something…)
There have been no utilities going to the house for months now as it was vacant. So, as soon as I got my closing date, I set up a new account online and scheduled an appointment to have the electricity/gas turned on – on the 18th. This was a full week ahead of our closing, mind you.
I received an automated email from DTE: “You have successfully requested to start service on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at: [address], DETROIT, MI 48224 for the following service(s): – Residential Electric Service, confirmation number xxxxxx6305, Gas Residential Heating, confirmation number xxxxxx6305.”
Awwww, warm fuzzies! It was my first account for the new house – the first time I had legitimately tied my name to the address. Oh bliss, oh joy, oh rapture!
Oh blah, blah, blah…
After closing Bryan and I drove as quickly as we could to the new house and, once we figured out where the keys were (thank you Bowers Realty for removing the lock box and leaving the keys on the electric meter where just anyone could pick them up… fuckwits), we ran inside and flipped on all the lights and… nothing.
I called DTE and they assured me that the power was on. I assured them I knew enough to know I was standing in the dark. They assured me that someone would be out by dusk to turn on the electricity and gas – they were just “backed up” because of some power outages earlier in the week.
So, we left – and came back two hours later. Still no lights. Still in the dark. And DTE customer service was closed for the evening.
I drove over the next morning on my way to work (well, it is no where near on my way – it was actually one big side trip), flipped on the lights and… nothing.
Again, I called DTE and, again, they assured me that the power was on. And again I assured them I was standing in the dark. They assured me that someone would be out by 3:30 to turn on the electricity and gas – they were just “backed up” because of some power outages earlier in the week.
I went to work and sent a mad Tweet to @DTE_Energy. Their social media peeps DM’ed me right away and asked me to send them details via email. I was so relieved. I trust social media peeps, after all.
And, then… nothing.
After work, at 6:30, I made another detour on my way home. And, again, flipped on the lights… and, again, nothing. And, again, DTE customer service – closed for the night. I started the long drive home, dejected.
Half way home my new (and most awesome neighbor), George, called me. DTE was there! With three huge trucks! To turn on my utilities? Overkill, miscommunication, whatever… I didn’t care. The DTE workers told George that they got a call that power needed to be “restored,” not “turned on” and that they couldn’t help. George threatened to turn on the meter himself if they didn’t. So they did.
Fast forward to Saturday. I take elMom-o over to the new house to show it off and it is balls-out freezing. I tried to turn on the furnace, but nothing happened. So I go find the gas meter. It is as still as can be – not moving a smidgen. I’m assuming this means there is no gas. I don’t even bother to call DTE – I know they aren’t going to pick up.
I thought about calling DTE yesterday, but the POWER WAS OUT at our current-soon-to-be-former house – as it is wont to do anytime the wind blows over 5 miles per hour – and that was about as much as I could deal with them for one day. I almost let it slide another day until DTE called me early this afternoon. Here is the transcript from Google Voice:
“Hello Ms. Adams, My name is Ms. Williams and I’m calling from the Consumer Affairs Department at DTE Energy. I’m calling in response to an issue that was referred to our department by our social media department. Just wanted to inform you that your concerns have been assigned to a representative and that representative will be giving you a call back tomorrow to discuss. Thank you. Bye bye.”
You go, my social media peeps!
I decided to call back since I was working from home and could scream loudly if need be. I explained that my electric was on, but the gas was not. I was assured that the gas was on – to check my circuit breakers to see if I had tripped anything. I didn’t yell, but I might have gotten a little testy when explaining, again, that I know when my damn utilities are on and when they are not. I’m not a freakin’ moron.
For about the fifth time in a week I was told that there was probably a problem with the meter and that it would have to be replaced and that it would probably need a special work order. And for the fourth time I explained that I’m not playing that game anymore – the only problem with the meter is that IT IS NOT TURNED ON.
Oh, and somewhere in the conversation I ascertained that you have to turn the meter on from the inside of the house – the first I had ever heard of such a thing. Kind of important information that should be shared up front, don’t you think?
After being put on hold for a few minutes, I was told that, “due to a new policy,” the customer service rep on the phone couldn’t actually set an appointment for me, that her supervisor had to and that the supervisor would call me back – “you know, probably before the end of today.”
A few minutes later I got an automated call from DTE, surveying me on the previous phone call. I was brutally honest without actually saying, “I want to blow your entire office up right now,” so, go me, for having some sense of restraint. That phone call was followed up by a live person calling from DTE to survey me about the survey.
So, yeah, DTE is freakin’ killer at surveying you about customer service. If only they put that much effort into actually delivering their actual product.
An hour later I get a call from a service worker who was at my new house to turn on the gas. He wanted to know why I wasn’t also there. I quickly calculated in my head how to stall him while I hightailed it to the new house, but I didn’t think he’d fall for “I’m at the front door, I mean the back door, I mean the front door…” for a full 30 minutes. I mean, this might be my only chance to ever get a hot shower in my new house! But, alas, I had to admit to him that no one had ever called me to tell me he was on his way, so he would just have to leave. In a huff he told me to call DTE and schedule “another” appointment.
Apparently someone hasn’t informed him of the new policy. Pee-shaw, you can’t just call DTE and schedule an appointment to get your gas turned on, silly man. You must turn somersaults, do a Mexican hat dance, call upon the great god Odin to perform miracles and then wait on hold for 37.2 minutes exactly whereupon you will be told to hang up so an elusive DTE “Supervisor” can call you back if they so happen to deem you worthy.
Oh, have I forgotten to mention in all of this that DTE has already sent me my first bill? It’s $5… for TURNING ON THE UTILITIES.
So, guess what I did? Yup, called them back. Because, you know, that’s how I roll… all “I need gas in my new house so my kid doesn’t die of pneumonia” and uppity and shit. This time, when I was told a supervisor would call back, I told them I’d wait on the line to talk to her. I don’t believe this elusive supervisor actually exists.
The customer service rep put me on hold and then came back and said someone would be at the house between 4:30 and 6:00. Aha! I was right – the “supervisor” thing IS a sham! But, more to the point, it was 4:19 – and I was a good a half hour away. I ushered Bryan out of the house as quickly as possible as I was dealing with a work issue that killing my soul almost as rapidly as DTE to wait for this rare beast we call the “gas turn-er on-er.”
I called Bryan at 5:55 because I knew I had exactly 5 more minutes before DTE stopped answering the phone. Still no gas. So, I called again. Guess what they told me?
DTE: Our records show it is on.
Me: Nope. Next excuse!
DTE: You may need a new meter.
Me: Shutyermouth, liar, liar, pants on fire!
DTE: We’re backed up because of the power outages on Monday.
Me: I don’t care anymore. I put in this request 14 days ago – before the power outages.
DTE: I see here they came out earlier and you weren’t there as scheduled. They don’t always hurry right back when you aren’t there the first time.
Me: Motherflippingchickensuckerballsonfiresonofadamnablebiscuiteater, that appoint wasn’t scheduled!
DTE: They should be out tonight. Maybe by 7:00, or 7:30, maybe 8:00, probably 7:30. I can’t call and check because dispatch is closed. Okay?
Me: NO, THIS IS NOT OKAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Then he went on to explain that outages take priority, that they don’t actually schedule “times” to be there, that they might get to it if they are in the area tonight, and that he knows I’m frustrated?
He feels my pain? Really? Because he has a house that he just paid half his life’s savings for sitting vacant because he can’t start moving in because it is 50 flipping degrees because there’s been no heat since FEBRUARY?! Oh, coincidences of coincidences…
About 40 minutes ago a very nice lady from dispatch called. (You know, dispatch… that same dispatch that is supposedly closed.) She swears that someone will be out tonight. I’d sooner place my bets on winning the lottery than the “gas turn-er on-er” actually showing up, but who knows… maybe Odin is listening.
Post-script: DTE showed up 10 minutes ago. Guess what? The gas was on the whole time. The furnace was turned off. Asshole here, signing off for the night…