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Nov 17, 2021 - 3:15:53 PM
12835 posts since 1/15/2005

Gee .... where to start. I'll try and make it brief!

Go up my driveway last Wednesday for my morning walk around 9:00 AM and notice a large power company vehicle (bucket truck) parked on the other side of the road working on a power pole. As I start to walk down a grass swale on my side of the street I notice a puddle of water over my water meter despite not raining in a week. When I get to the meter box, water is bubbling out at a pretty good rate (7 gallons a minute). I ask the driver of the power utility truck if he ran over my meter box. He admitted to driving off onto the shoulder there, but said he did not run over the box. I immediately went back to the house and called the water company. After a 30 minute wait the customer service lady said they would get somebody out that day. This Monday ....... about 60,000 gallons .... and 5 days later they did. As my wife left the house Monday morning she said the water company was up at the road fixing the broken pipe.

When I left the house that afternoon, no repair people were there and water still bubbling out of the meter box. I figured they would be there later in the afternoon or the next day. No show either day, so today I called back and waited 45 minutes for a customer service rep. She looked up my "case" and said the crew found the break was on my side of the check valve and they were not responsible. I asked, if that is the case why was no one here seven days ago, and when they came two days ago why did you not contact me and let me know it was not your problem. No good answer came forth.

Next ..... after about a dozen calls to the power company, I finally got to talk to a real person who handled urgent situations. She filled out an urgent ticket and in a couple of hours and service bucket truck pulled up. Since his company was a different sub-contractor than the truck that did the damage, he said he could not do anything about it, but at least called the sub-contractor whose truck had been there on Wednesday. An hour later the sub-contractor that had been there shows up and basically says "we didn't do it", but it was probably the "Flagging Company" truck since he had been there himself that morning and saw the flagging truck parked on my side of the road. The guy was really nice and said if I would cut the water off in the morning that he and his helper would come back in the afternoon and help me repair the pipe. I am just wondering who is going to pay for the 80,000 gallons of water that has run down through the swale.

Nov 17, 2021 - 4:48:30 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

25512 posts since 6/25/2005

Yeah, they are incompetent, as is any large bureaucracy. I’ve had experience with Missouri Utilities and Pg&E. They’re all too big for the left hand to have any idea what the right hand is doing. State and federal government bureaucracies are no different. Even smaller bureaucracies at the city and county levels are overrun with both structural and personnel failures. Bureaucracies tend to retain incompetents. For more see "The Peter Principle" and "Parkinson's Law," both of which apply here. 

Edited by - Bill Rogers on 11/17/2021 16:53:57

Nov 17, 2021 - 5:29:30 PM

10666 posts since 8/22/2006

Similar problem with a buried cable company but not as severe. Cable company broke my mail box post and mess up my mail box set the post back on top of the broken post in hopes I wouldn’t see it. Fix it and send us a copy of the invoice was there response. Yeah right like I would ever see that check. So fixed it myself for about 85 dollars and sweat equity. We also had a break in our waterline when I found it the water was standing in the neighbors drive. My wife says oh yeah by the way the water bill was 300 bucks this month. What? Why did you wait before telling me that? So rule of thumb if she sees an anomaly in any utility bill let me know ASAP.

Nov 17, 2021 - 6:10 PM

2662 posts since 5/2/2012

I had a yard hydrant (actually the line) go bad a few years ago. Didn't know it (was winter, it was in the back yard), but got my water bill soon after, realized it was way too high and did some investigation. Some $400 of my money fixed the problem, plus the higher water bill. Last summer, when the rural water company was changing the valve on the meter, one of the guys suggested a "smart meter". I took them up on it (at no cost to me) and can monitor water usage through a company called Waterscope. I can literally get online and look at an hour-by-hour report of my water usage. Fast forward a few months and I got up in the morning and heard the water running. Checked it out and it was the outdoor water faucet. I got online and found out when the water started running (middle of the night) and how much water had been wasted. Later that day I got an email from Waterscope saying they detected unusual water usage. Recently, Waterscope sent me another email telling me that, once again, they detected unusual water usage. I was able to figure out what that was.

Nov 17, 2021 - 9:16:55 PM

12835 posts since 1/15/2005

quote:
Originally posted by thisoldman

I had a yard hydrant (actually the line) go bad a few years ago. Didn't know it (was winter, it was in the back yard), but got my water bill soon after, realized it was way too high and did some investigation. Some $400 of my money fixed the problem, plus the higher water bill. Last summer, when the rural water company was changing the valve on the meter, one of the guys suggested a "smart meter". I took them up on it (at no cost to me) and can monitor water usage through a company called Waterscope. I can literally get online and look at an hour-by-hour report of my water usage. Fast forward a few months and I got up in the morning and heard the water running. Checked it out and it was the outdoor water faucet. I got online and found out when the water started running (middle of the night) and how much water had been wasted. Later that day I got an email from Waterscope saying they detected unusual water usage. Recently, Waterscope sent me another email telling me that, once again, they detected unusual water usage. I was able to figure out what that was.


That makes a lot of sense ..... don't know if it is available here.  The frustrating part in all of this is getting an actual person on the phone that is competent to handle the problem.  One of my calls to the power company resulted in getting me switched to the claims department, which turned out to be a third pary service in India (if I got the ladies accent correct).  Of course, she was zero help.

Nov 18, 2021 - 3:04:04 AM

1483 posts since 9/6/2019

I called my local water company about high bills and they did a "meter test". They told me I was leaking over 2,000 gallons per day in my house. That's a lot of water and I think I would notice something like that. just to be safe, I replaced all of the valves in my showers and toilets and waited. The next month I had the same bill so I told them I wanted a new meter. they jerked me around for a week and then they said I would have to pay for the new meter because they were sure it wasn't a bad meter. I said if it's not a bad meter I will pay for the install of the new one. They put in a new meter and my bill dropped by 2/3 the following month. Oddly enough, I haven't heard a word about refunding the excess fees they charged me for their meter issue, and that was three years ago.

Nov 18, 2021 - 6:47:30 AM

7387 posts since 9/5/2006

they don't have to be competent,,they got us by the short hairs and know it just like spectrum has a monopoly around here...

Nov 18, 2021 - 9:21:43 AM

Owen

Canada

10062 posts since 6/5/2011
Online Now

Terry, is the monopoly ^^ via government edict or a [predictable?] evolution of a free market?

Nov 18, 2021 - 9:39:49 AM
like this

58614 posts since 12/14/2005

Fun story which did not happen to ME:

Lady bought a house, lived there a few months.
Her dad came to visit, and he, being an observant handyman type, noticed there was no shutoff for the supply pipes to the faucets.
Said replacing faucets was a lot simpler if the supply lines were off.
Offered to install them.
Went looking for the shutoff for the house.
Could not FIND it.

Alternative to shutting off the water, is to FREEZE the pipe. Expensive.
So she calls the Water Dept, and two guys come out.
They can't find what's called the "Buffalo Box", tell her to hire a contractor to dig up her awn and look for it.

She has a better idea.
She stops paying her water bill.
The Water Dept threatens to cut off her water.
She calls them up and asks them to do so, at their earliest convenience, the sooner the better, AFTER which she will gladly pay.

The SAME two guys come out, manage to locate the Buffalo box UNDER the public sidewalk.
Rip up the sidewalk, shut off the water.
The lady calls the water Department, says she's coming in to pay the bill, and asks a supervisor what they're going to do about the box location.

SAME TWO GUYS move the box, and the City repairs the sidewalk.

Nov 18, 2021 - 1:33:06 PM
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12835 posts since 1/15/2005

Well ...... just spent six hours up by the road bailing water, shoveling water, dirt, and the resulting mud. About 1:30 PM the two gentlemen from the power company sub-contractor showed up just like they said and helped me finish shoveling and to remover the valve box. I thought the valve box would weigh a ton, but he pulled it out with one arm ..... plastic. I had never noticed. The cut-out on the box was resting right on the joint where PVC male fitting screws into the water company ductile iron female fitting, so when the vehicle ran over it valve box it likely cracked the plastic fitting. After we got everything cleaned up and the pipe wiped down, the two guys went to Lowe's and bought the proper fitting. I already had some Schedule 40 PVC and a coupling, so they bought the fitting and some fresh purple primer and glue. Then minutes after they got back it was fixed. We tested it and there are no leaks anywhere. They put the valve box back on and we cut the exit hole larger and put bricks at the base so it won't happen again. All's well here now. Now the fight with the water company who was supposed to have a supervisor call this morning ..... but have not called yet!

I tried to pay the two electric utility men that helped, but they would not accept any pay. I finally got them to let me give them each enough for a real nice dinner ..... for them and their wives. I wouldn't be surprised if a plumber would have charged me in excess of $1000 ...... so that is the least I could do. I'll also be writing a nice letter to the head of their company.

Nov 18, 2021 - 1:48:41 PM

4155 posts since 11/29/2005

Don't get me started. I put in 20+ years with a real telephone company and moved from telephone installation & repair up through Electronic Switching Central Office Engineer. Retired in 1984.

In Oct, our home land-line went dead, again, for about the 3rd time this year. After 30 minute phone tag with CS I got a trouble ticket repair date of 7 days! (lots of stuff happened here) On the promised repair date, not a peep from anybody. Late afternoon I played phone tag again and finally was told that the "promised repair date" was the next week. I called in the next day and cancelled our service, we now use my cell phone for all telephony needs.

Kicker is, last monday evening I got a text notification that the repairman would be here that Thursday. Guess what - another no show.

When I was with GTE, business lines had a 2-hour OOS commitment time, residential OOS was 4 hours. Misc. trouble (static, etc) for business was 8 hours, residential was 24 hours. The PUC had tight hold of the reins and we almost always met our commitments, barring unforeseen circumstances. Then Judge Green decided to destroy the world's best communications network (that's all I'll say, because - you know - politics).

Nov 18, 2021 - 4:22:18 PM

bubbalouie

Canada

15657 posts since 9/27/2007

Lived in a big Animal house in Alberta. There was a 3 bedroom main floor apt. A 2nd floor 2 bedroom apt. I shared with a buddy & an attic apartment. There was a small basement apt. where the Old Guy lived. He was 30!

The city was digging a big hole out front & we could watch from the second story balcony. It was in the winter & the workers said they were working on the sewer pipes. They might be frozen. 

The Old Guy went off skiing for 2 weeks & turned off his heat. It turns out the pipe for our house was still plugged & every time we flushed our toilets it came up in his bathtub until it overflowed!

Edited by - bubbalouie on 11/18/2021 16:25:02

Nov 18, 2021 - 4:56:47 PM

kww

USA

1478 posts since 6/21/2008

These stories are making me glad that I just have a big tank of water that the water truck fills once a week. Sometimes, primitive is best.

Nov 18, 2021 - 5:04:04 PM

888 posts since 5/22/2021
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by mike gregory

Fun story which did not happen to ME:

Lady bought a house, lived there a few months.
Her dad came to visit, and he, being an observant handyman type, noticed there was no shutoff for the supply pipes to the faucets.
Said replacing faucets was a lot simpler if the supply lines were off.
Offered to install them.
Went looking for the shutoff for the house.
Could not FIND it.

Alternative to shutting off the water, is to FREEZE the pipe. Expensive.
So she calls the Water Dept, and two guys come out.
They can't find what's called the "Buffalo Box", tell her to hire a contractor to dig up her awn and look for it.

She has a better idea.
She stops paying her water bill.
The Water Dept threatens to cut off her water.
She calls them up and asks them to do so, at their earliest convenience, the sooner the better, AFTER which she will gladly pay.

The SAME two guys come out, manage to locate the Buffalo box UNDER the public sidewalk.
Rip up the sidewalk, shut off the water.
The lady calls the water Department, says she's coming in to pay the bill, and asks a supervisor what they're going to do about the box location.

SAME TWO GUYS move the box, and the City repairs the sidewalk.


That is a great story Mike, hahah! I am laughing right now.

Russ A.

Nov 18, 2021 - 5:04:24 PM
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Owen

Canada

10062 posts since 6/5/2011
Online Now

Bubba: "The Old Guy went off skiing for 2 weeks & turned off his heat. It turns out the pipe for our house was still plugged & every time we flushed our toilets it came up in his bathtub until it overflowed!"

^^ reminds me of a couple of episodes from my illustrious teaching career:

1) At Pine Point, NWT the small apartment block where they housed the single teachers was the last station on the [sewage] line ... before the lagoon. Apparently it was not uncommon for the lagoon to freeze and the line to back up into the two basement apartments [i.e. that of the butcher at the IGA sad, and mine crying ].  The years I was there I spent New Year's eve helping the [school] janitor clean up.  I think their remedy was to break the ice with a backhoe.

2) At one of the northern MB fly-ins, the school custodians were to check into the [four] school buildings while everybody was out for Christmas break. I think it was supposed to be daily, but somebody had the bright idea that if the heat was cranked up and everything got good and warm, they could extend the time period to 2 or 3 days.  What they didn't compute was the extra fuel oil that would be consumed.... and... you guessed it.... fuel ran out and quite a few of the sinks and toilets in one of the buildings burst.  My classroom was across the hall from the boys' washroom where all 3 urinals cracked, but one toilet was left functional.  They jackhammered the broken urinals out and got the replacement urinals shipped in, but then "lost interest."   The kids would whiz down the open holes [3 or 4 foot crawl space with gravel bottom].   Periodically the stink would get to be a bit much, so I solved it by keeping a jug of Pine Sol in my room and pouring a slug of it into each hole when it would get a bit iffy ... and then carried on inspiring the kiddos.  All's well that ends well.

Edited by - Owen on 11/18/2021 17:09:46

Nov 19, 2021 - 12:50:47 AM

Paul R

Canada

15377 posts since 1/28/2010

The water backed up in our Toronto house and we called the City. They said they required a $75 deposit to dig and inspect, and if the blockage was on City property we'd get it back. They came, they dug, they saw it on their side, they repaired, and we got our money back. No problem. Dealing with Enbridge Gas, however, a private company, was a different scenario. They even threatened to send a collection agency for money we didn't owe. Also, a very large appliance company lost the certified cheque we sent and asked, "How are you going to pay ?" Try explaining what a certified cheque is!

Nov 19, 2021 - 5:46:33 AM

7387 posts since 9/5/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Owen

Terry, is the monopoly ^^ via government edict or a [predictable?] evolution of a free market?


they have no competition for high speed around here ,,, and why i don't know,,, even verizon has nothing in this area and i live a stones throw from a cell tower...

Nov 19, 2021 - 8:00:26 AM

12835 posts since 1/15/2005

I have gotten the names of all of the board members of the water commission, so if and when I get a call from the supervisor, I may mention that my next call will be to one of the elected commissioners. Although they probably do not get into the everyday operation of the water system, I would think that they would like to know how it is being operated.

Nov 19, 2021 - 1:45:45 PM

12835 posts since 1/15/2005

Supervisor finally called back this afternoon .....Friday. She was very nice and said that they are just stretched very thin and that is why it took five days for them to come out and inspect my water meter leak. She said it was primarily due to Covid ..... but I could not get her to elaborate, as I would think that would be one line of work that Covid would have little effect on .......working outside away from people, but she could have been referring to office personnel, etc. She was upset at the fact that I was not notified that the leak was on my side of the meter when inspected on Monday and said they would adjust my bill accordingly from that date. I then asked her why I should pay for the 60,000 gallons or so of water that leaked out because they were not able to get someone here for 5 days. Her answer again was she was sorry, but they are working as fast as they can to get to problems and sometimes it just takes longer ...... and I am the one that has to pay for their personnel problem (not what she said, but in essence that is what it was. Finally, she said she would not make me pay for the excess 77,000 gallons that are showing on my current bill (coming out today) and would adjust my next bill to reflect how much water I normally use. I guess it is resolved ..... if she follows through.

Nov 19, 2021 - 5:40:37 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

25512 posts since 6/25/2005

Years ago, when I had a toilet leak, I told the city water utility the reason for my water bill jump when I found and fixed the leak The city (Columbia, MO) rebated the overage from my average usage. Some cities/water districts have customer-friendly policies; some don’t. Note that I made no request for an adjustment since it was on me.

Nov 19, 2021 - 9:24:23 PM

12835 posts since 1/15/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

Years ago, when I had a toilet leak, I told the city water utility the reason for my water bill jump when I found and fixed the leak The city (Columbia, MO) rebated the overage from my average usage. Some cities/water districts have customer-friendly policies; some don’t. Note that I made no request for an adjustment since it was on me.


They have done that here before too, Bill, and I wonder about the inconsistency.  I am also lucky that we are on a septic tank.  If we were on the sewer system, they also base your sewage disposal fee on how much water you use, not what actually goes into the sewer and that adds a bunch to your bill.  My best friend's father was the head of the water system here for 40 years and he would be rolling over in his grave if he knew the service was not this bad.  I guess the only good news is that we have some of the best water in the country .... and I think it is relatively cheap.

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