Saturday, January 28

Let there be light, motherfuckers

All the fire in hell right now could not be hotter than my anger for the incompetent paper pushers at Memphis Light, Gas & Water.

First there was this. But they warned us for months that price gouging was to be expected in the winter months. And like a nation of turtles on our backs, we just sat and let the power companies run over us.

But today MLGW really outdid themselves with their corrupt, useless malarky.

At the beginning of this week, I called to have all my utilities/cable/internet transferred to the new address, which I will be moving to tomorrow morning. I scheduled light and water for Friday (yesterday) and cable/internet for Monday.

So yesterday I stopped by the apartment to drop off a couple of boxes on my way to work at about 3 p.m. There was no power. Hmmm, I thought, that's weird. Oh well. There's still a couple more hours left in the business day for them to come do it, so I won't worry too much. Who left this Kerry/Edwards yard sign in the hall closet?

Then, to ease my paranoia, this morning I called MLGW to confirm that they had indeed connected the power on Friday. The nice customer service lady gave me the affirmative and I breathed a naive sigh of relief and thought precious little more about it as I clawed my way through my closet, stuffing clothes into old Old Navy bags and chucking boxes to and fro.

I left for work a little early so I could swing by the apartment and see for myself that I had electricity. And I didn't.

And my shit hit the fan. I called MLGW and, despite having talked to an actual human just hours earlier, was informed by a friendly voicebot that they were closed on weekends. So I wrote down the number for emergencies and called it.

I told the emergency customer service lady about my predicament -- I am moving into this place tomorrow and had scheduled to have power connected on Friday and was told by someone that morning that I did indeed have power -- and she said that they must have sent someone out yesterday but if no one was at the apartment, they wouldn't have connected the power.

The play-by-play:

"So I was supposed to be there? No one ever told me that." I was livid.

"Yes, someone has to be in the apartment for us to connect the power."

I had not heard of such a thing ever in my life. They certainly don't require you to be there when they cut your power off if you don't pay your bill. WTF?

"Well, I don't live there yet. Why would I be hanging out in an apartment I don't even live in?"

"We can send someone out today between now and 11 p.m." It was 3:30 and pouring rain and I was already late for work.

"Well, I'm on my way to work right now. So someone is supposed to go sit in the apartment until you guys get around to coming any time between now and 11 tonight?"

"Yes ma'am."

"You can't narrow it down to like a couple of hours so I don't have to find someone to sit up there in a dark apartment until you guys feel like coming out?"

"Some time between now and 11 is all I can tell you"

[140 decibel mental screams inside my head.] "Well, the only time someone will definitely be there is tomorrow when I'm actually moving in. Can we schedule it for then?"

"No, we don't work on Sundays. If we don't do it today, then Monday is the next day we can do it."

"OK, well I will already have been living there for a day by then."

So, mustering as much bitchface as I could, I instructed the lady to just send someone out and I'd try to have someone sitting in the apartment, waiting on a feckless MLGW drone to come do me the favor of doing the job I was told had already been done. I actually had no plans to have anyone there waiting. I just wanted some MLGW asshole to waste his time like they were wasting mine.

But Lady Luck, that sweet piece of ass, showed me a little skin: My leasing agent/maintenance guy happened to walk through the parking lot (ever-present glass of beer in hand), and he saw me and asked if everything was OK. I explained the situation to him and he said he has to deal with MLGW's shit all the time, so he wasn't surprised. He said he was going to be in my apartment for a while doing some last-minute preparation, and that if they came by while he was there, he would let them in, but that he had other work to do so he couldn't hang around all night waiting on them.

So I just asked him to call me if they came.

And they came a couple of hours later, while my landlord guy just happened to be walking around the parking lot. So I have electricity. And it feels almost as miraculous as it would had God himself descended upon this fair Earth and lit my lamps with a flick of his holy finger.

And, lest you think my bitching is an empty endeavor, I am working on a formal complaint that I'll file with MLGW. It's a futile gesture, I know, because I have it on good authority that as those things come in, they're routed straight to the shredder.


Blogger Brandonian said...

That sucks.

Everything I've heard about Memphis power is that it totally sucks, but I've actually had an easier time with them than I ever had with Murfreesboro Power. In fact, I actually got them to cut the power on here without me even being in town. I called them up the Wednesday before I moved, and it was up when I got here.

Must be the "white guy with a dental plan" discount...

I'll help you with the witch-hunt if you need it. I'm pretty good at carrying a torch.

Sat Jan 28, 10:13:00 PM  
Blogger theogeo said...

I think maybe the deal with your apartment and my soon-to-be former apartment is that those complexes keep light/water on all the time, and all you have to do is have it transferred to your name when you move in.

This new apartment of mine had everything turned completely off. I won't pretend to know exactly how a worker physically turns the power on, but I don't think it requires coming inside the apartment in either scenerio. Unless your meter is located in your bathtub or something.

IMHO, Memphis power sucks because it's owned by the city, which means it's horribly run (kinda a rule around here). I think M'boro power was a collective or a co-op or something officially unaffiliated with the city, which, as the common belief goes, means it runs more efficiently because it's privately owned.

What pisses me off about both is that these companies have TOTAL monopolies over the communities, therefore they don't have to do any better. People don't have any recourse.

Gooo, I'm sounding like a capitalist!

Sat Jan 28, 10:20:00 PM  

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