by Texas Homesteader ~
Recently North Texas was hit with a powerful icy winter storm. Our area was hit especially hard. The ice built up so heavily on every outside surface that many large tree limbs were sent crashing under their icy weight. Even entire large trees were laid over, massive root ball and all. And any trees that were left standing are severely damaged.
The devastation was pretty harsh but thankfully it was also relatively localized. The town just 8 miles from us had little to no ice on the road 24 hours later. Although there was some ice on the trees in this nearby town & I’m sure some light power outages as well, they were back to business as usual pretty quickly.
We were not as lucky. We lost power on Thursday night and shortly thereafter (I’m sure due to power outage) also lost our local cell phone tower so we couldn’t get information online. And there was almost nonexistent cell coverage to be able to call or text in order to stay in contact with our family. Then we also lost our water service, again because of the power outage.
Of course we had already put in a power-outage report to our electric utility provider Sharyland Utilities. So now all we could do is sit and wait. All night the power stayed off, and Friday as well. And Saturday. And Sunday. And MONDAY!
Now four days into our power outage we have run out of firewood to heat our home and our refrigerator / freezer thawed days ago, food must now be thrown away and unless we meet our insurance deductible, this is just a financial loss we must bear.
But we were the lucky ones, we were able to use our propane heater to warm our home & our propane cooktop to heat our food.
Today we called Sharyland to check on our repair status and were basically told very sharply the equivalent of “We’ll get to it when we get to it”.
Now I understand it’s a herculean task to clear trees and repair power lines . This in no way diminishes the diligent work of the fine folks out on the front line doing their best to restore the power. But this abysmal level of customer service response is unacceptable. You would think they would at least inform us what was being done. Are there additional personnel being brought in? Are they working around the clock? Is there some system to their electric restoration timeframe? SOMETHING.
But nope – just that they’re working on it. I figure we knew that before we made that phone call to start with! Shame on you, Sharyland!
And what about the citizens that aren’t as fortunate as we to have propane to heat their home or to cook their food? What about those in frail health or with small children? What kind of attitude is that to a customer who’s paid handsomely every month for their service? I feel I’ve been heavily disrespected by the very people I’ve trusted to provide me with this basic service.
Until recently we’ve been in an electrical co-op and haven’t had the option to shop around for electrical providers. I’m told that in May of next year we’ll finally have that option to choose and I’m sure to give Sharyland the same level of confidence that they gave me during this emergency.
We must live very close to you. We had the same problems with Sharyland. I called them on Friday morning to report our outage. By Saturday, almost all of our neighbors had power. On Sunday, I called them again. They said that our area had been repaired. Uh, no, it hadn’t. They finally came back out and fixed it on Monday night. What a pain.
They also “guess” on our monthly usage. It’s amusing to me. One month, we will get a bill for twice as much as it should be, and the next month, we will get a bill for under $5. Really??? (LOL)
Even though the storm caused so much damage, it sure was pretty outside when there was ice on everything. Occasionally, the sun would filter through the ice just right and rainbows would bounce around our pasture. I’m glad you got some pictures of what it looked like outside. I was too chicken to leave the ‘warmth’ of the house.
Well, you’ve done well to state your piece here. I certainly know what you mean and share your contempt for poor customer service. I had a pretty sharp ‘customer service’ post ready to put up back in November…but didn’t (cause I’m a coward when it comes to pressing the PUBLISH BUTTON) …but in my opinion Customer Service has gone down hill for such a long time now. It is frustrating when corporations have gotten so big for their proverbial britches that the companies that depend on US for income, forget to show a little bit of respect and gratitude…not to mention common decency toward paying customers. Especially, when they have us over a barrel– and pretty much have to have their service. Ridiculous.
I’m so sorry for the way you were treated by them. We had ice– but not as severe as y’all had. We experienced no outage either. :/
Hope you’re able to get some compensation with the insurance and shop around for Deregulated Electricity!
I have deregulated propane options coming up for us in the near future. :/