While I normally write primarily about technology, this is something that really chaps my hide and I have been frustrated beyond belief trying to find the correct channels to deal with these kind of issues. The quick backgroud: a few days ago, there was a notice at our house from Gulf Power stating that there would be contracted crews in our neighborhood (West Pensacaola, Warrington) that would be trimming trees that were too close to power lines. The notice stated that the tree trimmers would use approved methods of trimming to ensure minimal impact on the trees etc etc.
First of all, we have a huge oak tree in the front (probably close to 100 years old) and they were not in any way ‘careful’ of the tree – they basically butchered a lot of the tree and while I have no problem whatsoever with them removing limbs that might be dangerous in terms of placement near the power lines, this was way over the line in terms of what they cut. That bothers me, not only because these trees are so old and are still recovering from hurricanes, but because they ‘could’ easily have done a better and more proper job.
The other major issue that I have – and this is really not just a personal issue, but this is negatively affecting my finances and personal business – the huge pile of limbs was left on the right of way in front of my house and it is blocking my mailbox! The mailman cannot get to my mailbox due to the huge pile of limbs and as a result, I didn’t get mail Thursday (the day they cut the limbs) or Friday, the next day, and as it is now late Friday night and the limbs are still there, I doubt I will get mail tomorrow either! This is completely unacceptable! I cannot understand how this can be so poorly planned that the limbs are not immediately or very shortly thereafter removed after being cut. Thankfully we have had a sprinkling of rain today, as with the extreme fire danger we have had, the last thing we need is huge piles of tinder wood sitting in front of our homes! After calling Gulf Power customer service I was told that there really wasn’t anything that they could do about it there, and I was directed to the supposed ‘supervisor’ for my area of West Pensacola and given his number, on calling his number I get a recording stating that he is on vacation and directing my call to another number – call the other number and I get a recording. I leave a message there and no-one ever calls me back. I then call the local Pensacola office of Gulf Power where I explain my issue to the person there and am forwarded to another recording to which I leave a message that no-one ever calls back from (granted by then it was late Friday), but seriously, I can’t believe that I am going to have a huge pile of limbs in front of my house, blocking my mailbox for what will probably be the entire weekend!
What I want to know, is who planned this? Who decided that it was OK to cut a whole lot of limbs off trees and then just leave them in front of people’s houses for days after? This during a high fire danger time, and also when the piles of limbs were left with no regards to things like mailboxes, or water meter/shutoff valve access etc? There is absolutely no reason for something like this and even worse, no-one seems to be resposible for this. The sad thing is that in the end, there isn’t jack that I can really do about this short of move the pile of limbs myself – Gulf Power doesn’t seem to care about it, the company that did it doesn’t care as they are just a contract company and they are getting paid regardless, in the end, it is the consumer who gets screwed. But that’s ok, I will blog about it, I will put it out on the web, and then when someone searches for Gulf Power Pensacola Customer Service, they might see this and realize that they are not alone if they have gotten screwed too.
To be completely fair to Gulf Power in all this – I did receive numerous calls from people at Gulf Power today (Monday – 4 days after the limbs were cut) promising to rectify the situation and apologizing for the inconvenience. For that alone I give Gulf Power props for being commited to do better at customer service. Asplundh Tree service rep also came by and apologized for my mailbox being blocked. A very nice gentleman at Gulf Power did tell me that mailboxes should never be blocked, nor should driveway line of sight be dangerously blocked, nor should things like water meters or other things be blocked by limbs. He also indicated that it was a general policy that debris was not to be left any longer than absolutley neccessary and certainly not over a weekend. In today’s world of contracted companies and subcontracted workers, I understand how sometimes things go astray, and I thank Gulf Power representatives for taking the time to talk to me and try to rectify this situation. Of course in my opinion the situation should never have happened, however sh*t does happen and it is up to consumers, customers, and the public to complain when things aren’t right so that the powers that be are aware of the problems and have the opportunity to try to correct them and make sure they don’t happen again. Yay for the power of the blog!