But a) I warned you that it would be a lean blogging month and b) I really do have a favorite utility (with apologies to friends and family who work for other utility companies).
PSNC Energy, our natural gas company, is awesome. After moving twice in a 12-month period and having to deal with all the stopping and starting of utility services, I developed some pretty strong opinions about the ones that make me unhappy (ahem, Time Warner Cable, I'm talking about you) and the ones I love best.
At every turn, even when they weren't giving me good news (as in, "Ma'am... we're going to have to shut off your gas so you have no hot water for a week because of a problem that is not your fault and not our fault either"), PSNC Energy has remained my favorite. Here are five reasons why:
- Every single person I've dealt with, from the person who answers the phones to the service and repair people to the sales staff, is nice, polite and professional. They never seem irritated, even when you've called them out in the rain on a Saturday. Even their contract employees are just as focused on delivering such quality customer service.
- Sherman's smiling face. Okay, so you may not get Sherman every time you call for a repair or service. But if you do, you'll remember his warm, bright smile and his amazingly clear blue eyes. He's been to our house a few times over the years and his happy face always brightens my day.
- They are super prompt -- sometimes even early. Particularly if you call to say you think you smell gas (even if you're not sure), they'll be at your house within 30 minutes, no matter what time of day. Or if you have a scheduled appointment, there's no waiting around for a four-hour service window -- they'll give you a time and they'll be there.
- They offer an in-home energy audit for only $25 to any customer with a regular gas bill (meaning you have something more than gas logs, like your water heater, stove/cooktop or heat). The friendly auditor spent three hours at our house, checking everything from the attic to the crawl space to see where we were losing energy and offer suggestions to help. Then he gave us $25 worth of CFL light bulbs, faucet aerators, outlet insulators and other tools, all of which were included in the fee. And he didn't use the audit as a way to up-sell us to buy lots of PSNC appliances and services -- it was strictly information for us to know how we can save money by not wasting energy.
- When we had to replace our water heater (due to faulty installation by a previous homeowner) and our home warranty company refused to cover any of the costs, the PSNC service man gave me the direct line for his supervisor, who in turn spent much time and effort helping me lobby said pain-in-the-ass home warranty company. His effort resulted in no monetary gains for PSNC Energy, but definitely helped me when the warranty company finally agreed to cover some of the costs. And if you do want to buy appliances from PSNC (as we did when we had to replace our water heater so that they could reconnect our gas service), they offer reasonable pricing and fast installation. Plus, I liked the confidence of knowing that everything was done properly, the city inspection would go through without trouble and I wouldn't be left without hot water again.
So how about you? Do you have a favorite utility? Or do you have another favorite customer service company that keeps you loyal?