Public Service Energy Company - College Park, MD / Wrong meter
My wife and I recently moved into a Condo in Maryland. We were shocked to receive our first energy bill of ~300 dollars for the first month. This was a surprise to us considering we are rarely home and do not use the A/C often. I suspected they were reading the wrong meter. I first called PEPCO on July 16th and the company said they would send a someone out from the meter department.
On July 20th a fellow came out and we were able to deduce that the company was in fact reading the wrong meter. We did this by tripping the circuit breaker for the meter that they were reading for our condo. A few moments later a slightly confused and angered neighbor came out complaining that there power was off. We then tripped the breaker for the meter that was being read for the neighbors; low and behold this shut the power off to our condo. The PEPCO employee agreed that the company was reading the wrong meter. He said he would submit a report and that would open an "investigation" within the company.
I called to check up on things on July 27 and was told to be patient that these things took a while. Again I called back on July 30th. The customer service lady literally told me that an investigation was open and that I should "do nothing" and wait. At that point I asked to talk with a manager. She informed me that no manager was available. On August 8th we received another erroneous bill. I contacted customer service on August 9th. This time I was told that there was no indication that the person who they sent out in July had submitted a report. I immediately asked to talk with a manager. Again, they said that no manager was available but one would call me back. I was actually shocked when a manager called me back the same day. The manager told me that there was no open "investigation" on my complaint. I insisted that he opened one immediately while I was on the phone. At this point I am skeptical of anything they tell me.
I am submitting this to share with people my experience and to get feedback.
The following is a list of the recourse I took or plan on taking:
1) I have tried to resolve this issue with customer service in a reasonably timely manner.
2) I have filed a complaint with the Maryland Public Service Commission.
3) I have posted my experience on several consumer advocate websites.
4) I have written a letter to the president and CEO of PEPCO.
If these steps do not result in a prompt resolution of this issue I plan on pursuing the following options:
5) I will write a letter expressing my concern to state's Governor's office and city's Mayor's office.
6) I will correspond with the local news media and their "I-team" investigations.
7) If all else fails I will seek legal action.
The following is a list of things I have learned that might be useful for people in a similar situation:
1) When you call customer service always get a name of the person you are talking with. If they won't give you their last name ask for an operator number. Also document the date and what the costumer representative said.
2) If you are not getting a straight answer from customer service ask for a manager. Often times they will tell you a manager is not available. Don't take no for an answer. If a manager is "not available" then ask for the manager's manager. Keep going up the food chain.
4) Insist on getting direct phone numbers to the managers. Also, if you are promised something like a work order or "investigation" ask for a way to track such as a conformation number.
3) I personally believe that some of these people's jobs are predicated on purpose of making things difficult so that the consumer will give up. Don't give up!!! Even though this might be a small dispute you are helping to force industries to look at how they treat customers and not just their quarterly profits. Maybe it's my cynicism; however I believe there is an erosion of quality service by big companies these days.
Thank you for reading!