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I am a customer of Kentucky Utilities, a fairly large electricity provider.  They have a program, like many utilities, that rewards folks for trying to conserve energy.  I signed up for the one that allows them to put a switch on my heat pump so that they can deactivate it during peak usage times in the hot months to level their power production.

I was very happy with the service, and loved the five dollar credit that I got for each month of June through September.  Then things got weird.

EON, from Germany, sold its majority stake in Kentucky Utilities to another company early last year.  The tariffs were already established by regulation, so I did not feel any difference in rates, but mysteriously my five dollar per month credit for the switch on my heat pump just disappeared.

I first noticed it on my bill in August, and called them to mention it.  I called them about it, and they said that their records indicated that I had opted out of that arrangement.  I certainly did not, and I shall tell you why.

Except to run my heat pump for a few minutes a week in the summer to keep it lubricated, I NEVER use it!  The only electricity that I use in the summer is for heating water, cooking, the refrigerator, and electronics.  I open my doors and windows (they have locking screens) and put a high capacity fan to pull cooler air (after sundown) into my house.  At bedtime I take it down and use it the next day.

So it makes no sense for me to withdraw from the program, because I love saving that five buck per month!  Well, we went around and around for months about whether or not I terminated my participation, and they finally sent out a technician to examine the unit.  It was fine, still hooked up and working properly.

I asked him whom should I call to get my credit, and he did not know because he was a contractor, not affiliated with KU otherwise.  But then something else happened.  I guess that the last call that I made, after he was done changed things.  I called, once again asking for my credits, and was passed around a while until I spoke with a customer service representative.

He told me that he had no authority to reinstate the credit, but that he would dispatch another technician.  That technician replaced my (working) unit with a more modern version, said his goodbyes to me, and left.  That was about two weeks ago.

Lo and behold, I got a letter from KU in the mail with a questionairre about how satisfied I was with the energy conversation service, complete with a postage free return envelope.

I filled it out, giving them low marks in may areas (I gave high marks to the courtesy and professionalism of the technician), then wrote a letter that explained my problems with the service, mainly regarding how I had never withdrawn from it and how many, many calls that I had made to KU to rectify the matter.  I figured that nothing would come of it.

Today I got a voice mail from KU that told me how much they appreciated me being a good customer who had a complaint with how they treated me with my issues.  The person went on to say that I could expect to see on my next statement a $20 credit for the four months in question and an apology for taking so long to make it right!

The lesson is this:  just keep up with it if you have been wronged!  It took me from August to today for it to come to pass, but they did, finally, what they should have done since May.  Perseverence is the issue, and I never gave up on it.  Now, if I do not see the credit on my next statement, I shall try again, but I kept that voicemail on my telephone and can use that as additional leverage if they do not come through for me.

Just keep on going, and be firm but polite when you are wronged.  The former Mrs. Translator was very good at getting things put right from vendors, and I suppose that I learnt from the best.

Warmest regards, and Happy New Year to everyone!

Doc, aka Dr. David W. Smith

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips and recs for (7+ / 0-)

    just keeping on going until problems are resolved?

    Warmest regards,

    Doc

    I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

    by Translator on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:26:26 PM PST

  •  A squeaky wheel gets the oil. (3+ / 0-)

    Father Time remains undefeated.

    by jwinIL14 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:33:20 PM PST

    •  It is good thing that I (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jwinIL14

      have unlimited minutes, or the telephone calls would have cost more than the $20.  Happy New Year!

      Warmest regards,

      Doc

      I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

      by Translator on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:35:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A double "Thank you!", Doc (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Translator, jwinIL14

    First for the wonderful tale, it is an important reminder. A more coarse expression from years gone by "Never let the bastards get you down" says it as well -- don't let them discourage you.

    But secondly, thanks for conserving energy. Easily the biggest difference we can make as individuals is to use less energy. The really cool stuff, wind solar, etc. will make 1 and 2% changes (on good years) but conservation could be 5% and more. And it's cumulative with other benefits.

    What's wrong with America? I'll tell you. Everything Romney said was pre-chewed wads of cud from Republicans from the last 30 years and yet he managed thru a combination of racism and selling the (false) hope of riches to get 47% of the national vote.

    by ontheleftcoast on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:47:08 PM PST

    •  Since you mentioned it, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ontheleftcoast

      here is what I do to conserve energy, just a short outline.

      First, I plan my trips to town to consolidate insofar as possible the stops that I have to make.  I have a barometer of sorts, that tells me when to go:  when I am running out of milk, it is time to go.  I take inventory of all that I need, and then plan the shortest route possible, and try to get everything with only one trip to town per week.

      Second, I try to keep my house at 60 degrees F in the cold season, and wear long underwear and a hoodie inside.  You will be amazed at how much warmer you feel in a hoodie, and I always wear socks, and sometimes fingerless gloves.  At night I get into my waterbed and turn the heat down to 50 degrees F.

      Third, I try, as far as possible, to cook oven things in the cold season and freeze them.  Ham, turkey, chili, and similar I cook when it is cold because the "waste" heat just keeps my heat pump from running that much more.

      In the hot season I minimize use of the oven, and use the microwave one (a very efficient cooking method for things that come out well from it) and a toaster oven when I can.

      I also keep my tires inflated properly, shower as fast as possible, and use a room heater in my bathroom, rather then the entire central unit, when I bathe.

      Little things add up to big things.  I have one caution for you though:  compact fluorescent bulbs are wonderful, but not a panacea.  Sometimes the old, incandescent ones are more efficient.  If you want details, just respond.

      Happy New Year, and

      Warmest regards,

      Doc

      I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

      by Translator on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:57:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've switch to LED bulb (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Translator

        The CFL's always looked too yellow for my tastes. Plus I didn't like the mercury in them. And waiting for the (relatively) low cost ones was annoying. Yeah, the LED bulbs aren't cheap but they use less energy, I can put them in dimmer circuits, and they are instant on. There are still some color spectrum issues for some models but the ones I have in the house are quite nice. Too bad they're made in China, I really want to buy American as much as I can but sometimes there isn't a choice.

        What's wrong with America? I'll tell you. Everything Romney said was pre-chewed wads of cud from Republicans from the last 30 years and yet he managed thru a combination of racism and selling the (false) hope of riches to get 47% of the national vote.

        by ontheleftcoast on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:03:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The LED ones are just now coming (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ontheleftcoast

          into their own, but they use some rare elements, as do the CFL ones.   They finally got the phosphors right in the CFL ones, and the LED ones are getting better all of the time insofar as color rendition goes.  Now I am going to get Geeky.

          Incandescent ones radiate light as a blackbody, with all wavelengths represented, only the relative peak of the center of the radiation being determined by the temperature of the filament.  They are thus much like the sun as far as color rendition goes.

          Both CLF and LED sources use a combination of a few monochromatic lines, the better ones using more than just blue, green, and red.  I wrote a blog about CFLs some time ago, and the point is that there are really only three predominant wavelengths that are combined to give the illusion of blackbody radiation.  That is why some things look odd when illuminated by them.

          My point about incandescent bulbs is illustrated best by my study, a small room.  I can use a 150 watt incandescent bulb and close the door, and not need to run the heat pump to make it warm in winter.  That bulb provides both light and warmth more efficiently in that small room than a CFL or a LED, with my heat pump running to keep it warm.

          It is all a matter of maths.

          Warmest regards, and Happy New Year,

          Doc

          I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

          by Translator on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:14:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  whenever contacting customer service (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Translator, jwinIL14

    You will always get different levels of experience on
    every call. If you do not get someone who can at least get you to the right person, politely hang up and call again until you get someone who can direct you to the right person.
    You are correct, be firm but polite. If someone is abusive, the agent has no obligation or motivation to help that person.

    •  Right you are! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Intheknow

      Being abusive NEVER helps anyone.  Ask me about my experience yesterday for an example!

      Warmest regards,

      Doc

      I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

      by Translator on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:00:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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