Joe Kennedy should be ashamed of his organization! On January 24th, when the program "officially" opened I began a 2 week, everyday, twice a day attempt to reach their application number. EVERY time I called I reached either a busy signal, "all circuits are busy" or "we're experiencing line difficulties". Finally, on Feb. 8th my daughter was successful in getting through, gave the operator my information and was assured an application would be sent. Approximately 5-7 days later my daughter received a phone call from Joe for oil that numerous applications had been "lost by the US Postal Service" and if we did not receive our application by the 17th to call another number and they would send another application. We never received the initial application. My daughter tried the number the operator gave her and couldn't get through so she tried the 877 number. The woman she spoke to was rude, demeaning and told my daughter that no applications had been lost, that Joe 4 Oil was not an emergency fuel service and was quite sarcastic with her.
I finally recieved the application on February 22nd, I filled it out and returned it the same day. From the 22nd of Feb. till today I called everyday. Again I encountered busy signals regularly, but when I would speak to an operator I was told that my (6 question) application was still being processed. I was told numerous times that they were "overwhelmingly busy" trying to process all the "unexpected" applications and to call back in 72 hours. I continued to call everyday until today 3/21 when I reached an operator who informed me they were out of money. He told me that yes, approximately 50, 000 applications had been "lost" or "misplaced" and that they only had a limited amount of people they could help. When I pointed out that there is NO WHERE on their website that states this, he agreed.
I spoke to my oil supplier today and she stated that THEY (the supplier) were having alot of problems with the staff, management and organization and efficiency of Citizens Energy more so this year than in others.
I understand this is a free service offered to low income families. What I disagree with is: rude, discourteous, demeaning, disceptive operators, an application system that is inefficient; wayyy too many hands on the process, and a website that is misleading and deceptive. I manage 3 separate offices and I have never seen such mismanagement. Either someone doesn't care, or isn't paying attention. Mr. Kennedy really needs to get a handle on this organization from the bottom up or give it up because people don't need to be assured that "he's here to help" only to find out he isn't and his staff doesn't give a sh**.