I e-mailed this to South Jersey Gas on Friday, April 8th:
Due to an unusually high bill for March (three times what was billed in February), I asked (on April 4th) to have someone come out and make sure there are no problems with our meter. The first available time was today, April 8th, between 7 AM and 12 PM, to which I agreed.
At 11 AM, someone called and reported that the technician was running a little behind and wouldn't be out till the afternoon. No problem, I thought. At least someone called to let me know, which is more than I usually get from Comcast or the water company.
By 2 PM, there was still no sign of the technician. I called and was informed that he was finishing up at one location, and that there was just one other person in front of me.
When I called at 4:30 PM, I was informed by the rep on the phone that a series of emergencies had come up, that the technician was finishing up and returning to his normal workload, and that there were three people in front of me. I asked how it was possible that there were now three people in front of me in his normal workload if there was only one in front of me at 2 PM. She said that they have to respond to emergencies first.
If he's returning to his normal workload, then he's done responding to emergencies, right? So how are there three people in front of me now. She couldn't answer so I asked for her supervisor.
He told me that these three people in front of me were emergencies. Apparently the woman I spoke to first was wrong (or simply misspoke).
There are no other technicians in the area. Is it safe to only have one technician working on four reported emergencies?
At 7 PM, after waiting12 hours, with the technician 7 hours late, I called once again and was informed that there was one person in front of me. Just like I was told at 2 PM.
The one redeeming quality to this entire incident was the very nice, efficient technician who showed up at my door at 8:45 PM, nearly 9 hours beyond the designated time period. He felt that there was no leak as the amount of gas showing as consumed in March was something we would certainly smell. And, unless our extended families were staying with us for a month, there was no realistic reason for our gas consumption to be so high. He replaced the meter, made sure there were no air pockets in the line, and informed me that I should call South Jersey Gas in one to two weeks to have the reading at that time compared to the current reading.
I do not believe I am unreasonable. I know that emergencies will happen. This, however, goes well beyond a customer getting pushed back so that an emergency can be dealt with.
It seems to me that South Jersey Gas needs to:
A) Hire more technicians. Why do South Jersey Industries job listings for New Jersey not include an opening for a technician?B) Alert customers when they are getting bumped lower on the list instead of waiting for the customer to call.C) Improve the training of their customer service personnel.D) Compensate customers for their wasted time.
I would like a response to this complaint, along with a timetable for the problematic events of today as it pertains to getting a technician out to my residence, and a list of steps South Jersey Gas intends to take to prevent this kind of miscarriage of customer service from happening again.
I received a call on the 14th that included a half-hearted apology and a promise that they were looking into it.
She did mention that the service people I spoke to on Friday weren't even supposed to tell me where I was in the queue at any point. Do they really expect people to give up a full day of their lives waiting around for SJ Gas to fix their own damn broken equipment?
For what it's worth, in the first five days my new meter has increased by 6. That's roughly 20% of what we were showing for another five day period before the meter was replaced.