My PG&E Nightmare

I am seriously giving thought to solar power or electricity powered by gerbils after this weekend. You would think that transferring PG&E service from one place to another when you move would be easy. I thought so. I’ve had PG&E service in my own name for decades, eons, well – a long ass time and never had an issue.

Until now.

So approximately two weeks ago I called PG&E. I told Lady #1 I wanted service to my condo in Richmond turned off on Saturday August 13th and turned on at my duplex in San Leandro on the same day. It’s a no brainer. The duplex is on a middle class, residential street. The meters and the fuse boxes (this will come into play later) are on the side of the house next to the driveway. There are no gates, dogs or attack squirrels.

At about 10:30am, I get a call from my new landlord telling me the power isn’t on. I call PG&E and talk to a nice young lady who informs me the power is scheduled to be turned on today but they do not have a work order to turn on the gas. Great. She said they can send someone out today but there has to be someone there for that to happen.

I tell her we are in the process of moving in and if she can’t give me an hour window, this is problematic because after everything is inside, we are leaving to eat, need to return the truck, go back to Richmond to drop one of the movers off at their car and then return. I ask if I can leave the back door open for them. She said I would have to leave a signed note giving the guy permission to enter the house but it is up to the technician whether they want to do that or not.

Great but I understand. I ask if I can schedule the gas appointment for Tuesday because I have to be here anyway after 1pm for the UVerse guy. She said she will schedule the gas for 1-5pm on Tuesday. Fabulous.
So we move, we unload, we have pub grub and beer, we brave inner city gang turf to pick and return the UHaul. Note: no one should be anywhere on International Blvd/14th Street in Oakland between High and 98th if you can help it but especially if you your ancestors hailed from the frozen North.

I return unshot, unscathed and exhausted to find there is no power. I call PG&E to get an ETA. At this time it is about 5:30pm. The lady informs me that young lady #2, who I spoke with that morning, cancelled my electric turn on for today when she set up my gas appointment for Tuesday. She says she must be new as PG&E have hired a lot of new people. Great. Lady #3 tells me she is dispatching someone to get the power on for today and the gas appointment is still Tuesday from 1-5pm. Since this was their screw up, she is also going to credit my account with $30 since they missed the appointment time (expired at 5pm). She wants to make sure there are no gates or dogs and the meter is accessible. It is. Great. I feel good and start unpacking.

It is now about 7:45pm and it is starting to get dark. I call PG&E. I talk to fabulous gay man – PG&E employee #4. He looks at my file and informs me Lady #3 screwed it up. Instead of cancelling the ticket and doing it over, she updated it which marked it as a “future appointment” meaning if the tech in the field didn’t look close enough it indicates this isn’t high priority and it can wait until Monday if they want. WHAT?!

He re-does the ticket, assures me he has been doing this for years and knows what he is doing. I tell him that it’s getting dark fast, I am a female, alone, in a brand new place, surrounded by piles of crap with no torch, candle or glow stick to be had since everything is packed. I reiterate there are no gates or dogs and the meter is accessible. He gets his Supervisor Elaine and tells her what is going on. He informs me the ticket was escalated through the dispatcher and Elaine is calling them as well so this will get top priority. He also takes my phone number and says Elaine will be calling me right back to tell me the ETA for the technician arriving at the house. Great.

Twenty minutes go by, it is dark. It is about 8:20pm. Now I am mad. Elaine hasn’t called me. I can’t work. I can’t do anything except Facebook on my iPhone from the car because the car charger is the only one (a) I can find and (b) that works because the house has no power.

I call back and ask to speak with a supervisor. I get asshat #5. This guy is a piece of work. He is brusque, stubborn and a general idiot. He informs me that the ticket says someone will be out. I ask for an ETA. He tells me that the tech is coming out but doesn’t know what time. He also informs that:
a) They while the field techs have cell phones. They can’t call to get an ETA. Dispatch can call but they can’t give me an ETA also they should not have promised me the $30 credit for missing the appointment.
b) He doesn’t know who Elaine is but then tells me “she is on the phone” and I can’t wait for her.
c) I have to be there when the tech comes in case my fuse box doesn’t have a “magic button” and she needs to get inside and the topper is . . .
d) “We didn’t promise you anything but since we said we would have your power on today, we have until midnight to do it.

Yes, after hearing that I lost my shit. I work in customer service and I would NEVER treat a customer the way this guy treated me. I ended up decamping for my friend Val’s place at 9:15pm to have wine, sympathy and a hot shower.

Sunday morning I swung by the house before heading to Richmond to clean and pick up the odds and ends. There was a note on the door. Christina the PG&E tech showed up at 9:30pm. The power was on, I just had to flip the main breaker but she said that the “power to my dryer was unsafe”. How does she know and what does that mean? I have no idea. I do know I am still pissed off so I’ll call them tomorrow about that. I won’t be using the dryer for a bit anyway.

You would think after that gas main explosion on the Peninsula where their faulty pipeline killed all those people and damaged/destroyed so much property, they would be jumping through hoops like a demented circus poodle to make people happy.

Not so much. Just like the Honey Badger, PG&E don’t give a shit.

Posted on August 15, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Hi Deirdre,

    I’m Paul from PG&E and I want to apologize for how this was handled. If you’d like, feel free to send a note to with your account number and contact information, and I’ll have a colleague give you a call to resolve your situation.

    Best regards,

  2. Just as a follow-up note: I sent my information to Paul. I never received a call back from PG&E. I did receive my $30 promised by one of their employees. I see the bad stretch of pipe that blew up before ruptured during a high-pressure water stress test, blowing a hole in a hillside and causing a mudslide that closed part of the 280 freeway. Yeah….. that makes me feel soooo much better.

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