Had this situation.
I wasn't going to post this, because its embarrasing on more than one level, but......
OK, this happened the other day. Nothing too exciting, but made me think. A bit of non CC stuff to start, just to give the full situation.
I got home early from work on Thursday. Around 3.30-4pm, someone rings the doorbell. I was in the back, and it's invariably door to door sales, so I ignored it. There was a harder knock, so I put on the Sig (CONCEALED!!!). A few moments later, the dogs are going ape in the back. I look out the front door. n o-one, but see a Centerpoint Energy truck. So, I guess it's the meter guy and head out back to corral the dogs.
Anyway, the dogs are STILL unhappy and the guy tells me he was there to disconnect us for non-payment. I was a little shocked, as we pay nearly all our bills automatically, power included.
However, we had switched companies to one which it turns out did not offer autopay and apparently had forgotten to pay (we did have a HUGE pile of mail we hadn't gone through). And turns out we can't just settle it there and then as Centerpoint aren't the power supplier, just the people who disconnect.
Well, I am not going to stop the guy who is just trying to do his job, I can sort it out when he goes. Anyway, the guy goes to the meter, looks at it and says 'No, this meter has never been disconnected before. You guys are obviously not a problem child. It looks like it's been here since the house was built. I'm not going to cut it off today. Call your power supplier and see what the issue is'.
What an awesome dude!
So, one phone call later, it's all sorted and paid. No power interruption.
Anyway, later, (it's real dark by now), the dogs are going ape again. No knock on the front door or doorbell this time. I go out back, and can see torchlight underneath the 6' high gate leading to the driveway. Why the hell would someone be looking around our driveway with a torch? I actually draw at that time, But I am hidden from view by the gate.
I call out 'who's there'? I hear some mumbling and the gate latch go. I then call out again, much louder, 'DO NOT OPEN THE GATE WITHOUT IDENTIFYING YOURSELF!'.
The guy identifies himself as from the light company. I holster up before opening the gate, so no-one saw a firearm.
I told him, 'It's all paid, why are you here?'. He says he was there to turn the power ON!!
I informed him it had never been disconnected. He apoloogized and said he had been told we were off. Let him in the gate and go round to the back of the garage and take a meter reading (supervised, as I wanted him to SEE the tag on the meter was old)while he was there and that was that.
Just made me wonder. Never had someone round to cut off my power before!! But, first,why did the second guy not:
a) Ring the bell/Knock the door
b) Notice that the house had lights on.
c) Try to go through a gate without identifying himself, AFTER DARK, IN TEXAS!
It can make for a tricky situation. No-one was hurt, no-one saw a gun, but still, what if he HAD opened the gate?? The advantage I had was that after calling out, I had moved to the side onto the deck, so he dodn't know where I was, but he had to come through the gate, so I would have probably had time to 'classify' the threat, but still, makes you think.....
And lets forget 'check your mail' as a response!!! I'm just glad we got such a reasonable guy the first time! And glad I was home, because I never would have figured out why our power was out!
Who knows why they do what they do; I can only say they are probably used to dealing with the bottom of the barrel types and prefer not to make face to face contact with customers.
Oh yeah, dont feel to bad about your mistake, its happened to me a time or two. I got an eviction notice one day when I lived in an apartment. I always paid my rent early and was at least a month ahead. The managment was applying my rent money to the wrong account... so it happens to all of us.
Yeah, the guy who had been sent to disconnect was one mean looking SOB. On the surface at least. Obviously, as it turns out, he was a solid guy. Guess they learn to evaluate people.
Originally Posted by SIXTO
Definitely a tricky situation. Sounds like the latter case would've been helped a lot by better lighting. Sounds like the second guy was in 100% condition white.
Glad to hear nobody got hurt or went to prison. Sounds like you handled it well. Thanks for posting - interesting to hear.
Good point about the lighting, Thats another thing. The driveway approach has one of those motion dooda lights. It didn't activate. I've tested it since, and it deosn't always work. Time to replace I think.
Originally Posted by dnowell
SOunds like a bunch of sheeple to me....They need an in service day on safety at your local power company...in some parts of town, they leave on a stretcher leaking fluids.
NOT smart on his part.
Originally Posted by Fragman
Did you happen to let him know the possible error of his ways and what the outcome COULD be?
The second guy showing up after dark to do a reconnect seems a bit odd to me. Around here the only way they would do a reconnect would be to charge a special overtime rate. They always call first to ok the payment.
I'm not saying it wasnt legit. Just wondering outloud. Did he have proper ID?
It is odd that the second guy would be there at night. We can't get any services here after dark unless it is an emergency.
Wow he didnt realize the lights were on.... Ive had similiar enconuters with the window cleaners....imagine looking out the window to see a face when ur windows a story or 2 up with nothing underneath...
Nice guy for not cutting you off. We just cut you off... no matter what.
The folks that connect and disconnect are often the same folks. It is often the case where the same guy that cut you off is cutting you back on 5hrs later. They do their job quickly and quietly as to avoid conflict.
They get everything from folks handing them cash for payment to death threats.
My old roomate bilked me and stopped paying the utility bills, they came out at like 2am and turned off the power and it took them 3 days to turn it back on. There was no notice that I knew of, but then again.. I didn't get the utility bill in my name.
I hate the utility company.. especially since it was the middle of december and about 3 degrees that week. I stayed with some good friends for that duration.
The first guy really took a chance and not cutting you off and trusting you to pay, what if you hadn't? He either marked it as cut off or the fact that he didn't just didn't get posted in time. The second fellow was investigating and the fact that you had lights raised a few flags. First is if you were supposed to be cut off then why did you have lights? This sends up a notice to investigate without notifying the homeowner as it sould verfy well be stealing power. It is not unusual at all for them to go turn someone back on and find that they have reconnected the power themselves or by-passed the meter and the last thing you want is to notify the customer that you are on to them.
Sounds like it worked out fine in your case but that is the exception rather then the rule. I was called in on one case where a house caught fire and the fire department tried to cut the power but part of it stayed on. Turned out the customer had been stealing power for years. For getting offers usually the favorite offer is sex. Had one case where he took her up on it and turned out she was underage. Very messy.
The 2nd guy,did he have a uniform on or did he show I.D.? I think I'd still call the power company and just ask the service dept. if this kind of thing is within their regular SOP.
The reason electric cost so much. No one knows who is doing what. He could have seen the lights and assummed that you might be on a generator.