I’ve achieved a sense of satisfaction now that I have spoken to the local project manager of Vectren’s riser replacement repair project. It took 45 minutes on the line with a very helpful customer service representative who works in Indiana to try and connect me to the right person to help me with my problem. She directed me to Fred Willet, who has an office in Fairborn, Ohio- less than 30 minutes from me here in Centerville. After almost 40 minutes of discussion with this man, he has determined that the fault of my gas leak did indeed lie with the contracted firm who worked on my gas line. You can read more about my problem HERE. And I believe I have made him aware that, even though my situation may have been an isolated case of workman incompetency, there are issues that Vectren needs to address regarding safety and competency within the company and its contractors.
It was explained to me that, while these contractors do not have to a be licensed plumbers or technicians, they have passed a certification that complies with the guidelines of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. So, they should have the knowledge that it takes to do pipe work and know how to deal with the intricacies of a gas line. However, once I gave him the details of where the leak was actually found and how it had not been detected by the technician who came to turn on the gas last week, he assured me that the issue will be addressed with the contractor and a written reprimand will be issued to the workman.
Fred concurred with me that all fittings from the line replacement should have been checked after they restored gas service to the house last week. A leak would have shown up with a simple soap test, and one would assume that a competent worker would do this. Instead, someone failed to do his job. During the course of our conversation, Fred made several attempts to reassure me that the potential for fire or explosion had been minimal. I told him that we will never know what possibly COULD have happened if I had not discovered the leak.
I also found out that the field supervisor who originally made the decision to make me wait two days for service called Fred at home on Saturday morning to ask him what he should do about the situation. My thoughts are that perhaps Curt felt guilty about making a bad call and he wanted to let himself off the hook by calling HIS supervisor. Whatever the reason, Fred authorized the service, citing that I should never have been inconvenienced in the first place.
*** Oh, I was just interrupted to take a call from Chase Kelley from Vectren’s corporate office. Seems that my comments to Fred and the CSR in Indiana that I fully intended to speak to someone at the main office did not go unheeded. Fred placed a call to her and the CSR e-mailed her. Toward the end of our conversation she relayed to me that she will be delving into the decision made by Curt to make me wait for service until after the weekend. She stated that it is company policy to deal with any type of gas leak 24/7. And what a coincidence that she is having a meeting tomorrow with company project managers for the riser replacement program! As part of of the meeting agenda, she stated she will be addressing the issues that I encountered regarding the contractor and the Vectren field supervisor.
Originally I thought that I was being charged for the gas that was leaking. When I mentioned to her that the leak was detected in a valve below the meter, she told me that the gas had not even registered as my usage. She said it was company-owned gas that had been dissipating into the air. It hadn’t entered the meter yet! She agreed with me that this was lost revenue for Vectren and that other leaks caused by poor workmanship could still be out in the field.
Maybe this dollar loss, small as it may be, will be more of an incentive for Vectren to resolve its internal company problems regarding the handling of gas leaks and those it has with its contracted firms regarding shoddy workmanship. You know what “they” say about companies only addressing a problem when it hits them in the pocketbook….
I feel much better about my issues after spending several hours discussing the situation with knowledgeable company personnel. I believe that Chase Kelley will look into the field supervisor’s decision making skills and that she will discuss safety concerns and guidelines with company contractors. With the company addressing these issues, it should be a step in the right direction for helping them resolve future customer service and safety issues.