Monday, September 14, 2009

Who ya’ gonna call ? Corporate office! ~ update on the gas leak saga


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I also found out that the field supervisor who originally made the decision to make me wait two days for service called Fred at home on Saturday morning to ask him what he should do about the situation.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. 


Susie Q said...

Whoa! I wasn't on here this weekend and it looks like you had a big worry! I am so sorry! You could have come over here ya know! : )
Or maybe leaking gas and the threat of being *blowed up real good* is less scary than staying in our looney bin!! *laugh*
I am glad things look good now and that you are getting the answers you need.

I will call ya can fill me in on all the good details!

Stay safe!

Gwen said...

I hate it when something goes wrong like that, but want to hug the higher ups when they acknowledge the problem and take action! I just wish that it didn't take so much of your time to deal with.

Lovin' that it was their dime too!

Jo said...

It's great you got threw to them. If the gas company has to pay for the gas then they end up making us all pay threw rate hikes.I'm glad they didn't push your concerns to the wayside......Jo

Lori E said...

Every body has a supervisor, even the supervisors do. We have a saying around here when things get all screwed up...DYFJ...stands for do your f...... job. Saved for the most irritating people who don't do what they are hired to do and don't care.

Dawn said...

I'm glad you finally got through to someone who could address the situation.

I still don't understand how the threat of fire or explosion was minimal?! If somene had tossed a cigarette...But it didn't happen and you all are safe, that's all that matters.

If I ever have a customer complaint I'm calling you to be my spokesperson!

imjacobsmom said...

I'm proud of you for sticking with your guns and following this through. I am so tired of incompetence and Pass the Buck because it isn't my problem. Or the people on the other end of the line not listening in the first place. I am also tired of shoddy workmanship and the good enough attitude. For heavens sake, there are so many unemployed people waiting in line for your job, if you don't want to do it. ~ Robyn

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

I have been following along. I love your patience and the adult manner in which you handled the situation. I wish...I could be sure I would be just as calm..and all that you were...but I honestly doubt it.
My hat is off to you and while you were telling your story...we learned a lot from you. I will remember you when in a crisis.
:) Mona

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Sue, It looks like I've missed some excitement on your blog. I'll have to come back and catch up on reading your blog. Sounds like you've about got it under control. You go girl! If you get a minute, please come over to my blog and get info (if you don't already know about it) to send a card to Amy. Thanks so much. laurie

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Glad it is finally being taken care of the right way, Sue!

bj said...

Wow...I missed some of this, Sue. Seems like you handled it in a very mature way. I would have been screaming my head off. Well, as a matter of fact..2 summers ago, I kept smelling natural gas in my back yard..stronger in our ally. I called the gas company probably 5 times to report it. They FINALLY came out and checked around and said, " gas leaks showing up" I said, "Can't you smell it?" "Nope..sure can't". Well, I DID smell it and just called them every single day for almost a week..FINALLY, several men came out, detected a LARGE gas leak in the alley and had a crew out, dug down deep, fixed the leak and....all is now well.
Dang...wonder you and me both didn't get blown to Kingdom Come!!
xo bj

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

you go girl! And so glad you did the follow up. Having to wait 2 days for a fix on a gas leak is ludicrous! We had a similar problem...not with a gas leak but with phone and computer lines. We had to wait 5 days. When it was all over we went to the highest higher ups and got big time apologies and changes to the policy, (I hope). xo

Beth@The Stories of A to Z said...

What a headache to have to deal with! Hoping that all is resolved quickly and that you are somehow compensated for having to endure someone else's incompetency. Blessings!

Gwen said...

When you get a chance, I have an award for you!

Dawn said...

He can have a new chair when I get my own computer! On second thought, if he has a nice new comfy chair to sleep in while he "watches" tv he wont be buggin me so much to get off the computer so he can play games!

Did you post on your nesting tables yet? I don't think I saw them.

Your red wallpaper would definately count! There is also a Ruby Tuesday that showcases red but a lot of people participate and I didn't see too many blogs I recognized. REDnesday is still small enough its fun but not a huge committment. I guess you could say I like small cozy memes with friends over big bashes with a lot of strangers. Depends what you're looking for!

BTW, you'll never guess what I got in the mail yesterday. Let's just say for the next two weeks I will be walking by my gas meter sniffing it! I kid you not! They're putting in remote access meters so they don't have to come on the properties. Sounds efficient but also sounds like the unemployment line for a bunch of meter readers!

See ya next REDnesday if not before!

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Wow! What an ordeal! I'll need remember to check our meter. Unfortunately J has no sense of smell, so he would never know, even though he is on that side of the house trimming and such, more often than I am!

I didn't lose my follower list, but I did lose my blog list, which was more than 150 strong!! I've spent the better part of this past week, visiting and picking up links. I have replaced over 70 and still picking up links. I put the list on a separate blog, this time. It won't appear at the back porch.

My list of followers was in and out all week, but seems to be okay now.

I changed my blog to a .com and wonder if that might have had something to do with losing my regular blog list. I love that list, because it lets me know when someone has a new post. That really helps in my visiting schedule. I was at loss when it disappeared!