A little more information

The two main activities in my life: Helping the hungry in the late hours of the night and helping guitar players sound better one amp at a time.

I always try to remember that in order to do good one has to take action and actually do something.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I have watched the city and Southern California change for well over half a century.

I can be found on facebook at www.facebook.com/mylesr or on twitter at www.twitter.com/myles111us or on my own Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting website at www.mylesrose.com

Los Angeles Architectural History

Los Angeles Architectural History
1935 Art Deco at some of its finest: No. 168 - Griffith Observatory- (click on the photo for information)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Burbank Water and Power - Fail?



December 28 2011 I received my utility bill from Burbank Water and Power.

I was somewhat shocked that nobody had called me or visited me from BWP earlier in the month.  I would have thought that with the hourly metering they have in their system it would have triggered some sort of alarm.

Clearly there must be a geyser at my house or some sort of major event where water would be noticed flowing down the street in a river.

My average yearly consumption went from 45 gallons per day to over 545 gallons per day.  My usage for the year went from 1,466 gallons to 18,011 gallons.

I called them.


My first call was answered by Carina on 12/29/11 at 8:15am.  She was courteous on the phone and looked into the situation.  She had the meter read while I waited and confirmed the current read was not a data entry error of some sort.  She said somebody would call me by 1/3/12.

It is easy for me to check for running water in my house as each time I leave the house I walk right by the piping that enters the house.  If any water is running I hear the water.

I walked outside and listened.  There was no running water.  I checked all outside faucets.  All fine.

I read the electronic meter.  My running use was zero.  No leaks.  I turned on the hose and rechecked the use.  The meter indicated water was being consumed.  I turned off the hose and the usage returned to zero.

I called BWP back at 9:00am 12/29/11 to tell them there was no leak.  

My call was answered by Jack.  He said he was a supervisor.  We talked for quite a while but really did not communicate.  

Jack said that between 12/8 and 12/21 my usage had increased far beyond my usage since I had lived in the house.  He asked questions about new lawns, guests (where there would have needed to be hundreds to confirm his thought process) and we talked about leaks where I had to give him the facts over and over.

Jack's thought process was, if the electronic meter says something is so then it must be so.  He kept repeating his faulty logic; if the meter was faulty it would still read faulty.  I kept trying to tell him that electronics can have intermittent failures.

Bottom line - He said I have to pay the bill.  If I want to dispute the bill, after paying it, I could write a letter to his boss.  Write a letter in this era of his electronic meter and billing that he is not willing to accept a possible fault in the system?  Bad customer service Jack.  

I tried to get Jack to visualize just how much water it would take to confirm his data.  Tsunami in Burbank?  He held the line; if the meter says it is so it must be so.  He would not adjust the bill and offered no help at all.

I asked if the bill was $50,000 would he consider the possibility of a problem?  He said no.  The data is the data.

Water theft between 12/8 and 12/21?  Not too likely as I am back and forth at my house all day and did not go on vacation during that period.  The most likely scenario is an electronic meter problem. 

Kudos Burbank Water and Power.  You have a closed minded, narrow thinking and technically deficient employee that makes customers unhappy.

If you want to come to some sort of resolution to turn around a very dissatisfied customer you know where you can find me.

Update:  Jack told me to write a letter if I had a complaint.  I went to the Burbank Water and Power website and used their system to write the following letter:


I was told by Jack in your customer service office today 12/29/11 to write a letter if I had a complaint.  Consider this my letter.

I am paying my bill but am not at all satisfied with the service of Jack in your customer service organization.

Details are on my blog which has over 60,000 subscribers and has been read over 6 million times.  AT&T follows me on twitter as one example after a few posts were done on them, some ongoing.

You folks are now the latest piece.  If you want to talk about looking into my problem you know where to find me.  

http://la-economy.blogspot.com/2011/12/burbank-water-and-power-customer.html

Myles S. Rose

A comment on this post from facebook:

Lynne Robin Green the new elec meters are ripping us off here, i had excessive rates ever since they installed it, and its true they dont come investigate why, they just say oh its gotta be right and you pay it..I've seen many letters in the burbank leader of folks complaining too..its not fair.
20 minutes ago ·  ·  1


The main issue I have with the folks here is their total belief that there is no reason to question the technology.  I was also told by the first customer service person I spoke to that the daily range of error allowed is 1 unit which can be 500 gallons.  Well, when my use is 45 or so gallons a day I find this margin of error beyond unreasonable.

Update:  I have been hearing back from folks with the same overcharge problems.  Could this be a conspiracy within the City of Burbank?  

This would be an easy way to collect additional money in a corrupt way.  Just overcharge a customer once a year or so, rotate customers so they can be given the same story I was given.  Stories of possible leak, variances allowed in the technology / system, or tell them to write a letter and given them the run around in that way.  

Most folks would just drop it.  Folks that know me can see what is going to happen in my case.  I do not let corruption triumph if there is an action which I can take.

The data is posted above.  The logic, facts and information.  It seems that what would be fair is for them to charge me my typical usage and absorb a one time anomaly that makes no sense to anybody other than Jack at Burbank Water and Power.  I hope somebody out there can teach Jack at BWP something about technology.  He seemed to think very little about the power of social media and thought it was not of much value.

Update:  I talked to Sean Aquino from Burbank Water and Power at about 1:45pm.  He supplied me with more data.  He will be sending me an email with some reported findings.

He informed me that they did see high readings and did sent a meter reader to my house to check the meter when they saw the reading that were out of character.  I was told a note was left at my house on 12/22/11.  I received no note.  I am not saying a note was not left.  It may have blown away or whatever.

I told Sean that perhaps no note had been left as there was no leak that the technician / reader would have found.  .

Sean told me that during the suspect period my water usage was up to 1,500 gallons per day.  My normal usage is about 50 gallons per day.

My usage for the billing period of 33 days in December was 17,952 gallons.
My usage for the prior month (28 days) was 2,500 gallons.

I would like to state that at this point Sean Aquino is doing a good job of working with me.  I will be posting what I receive via email from him in this post.

12/31/11 Update.  I received this email yesterday:

Thank you for your email. I truly regret that you are not happy with the service Jack provided.  I will review the call with him and we will look for ways to better assist our customers in the future.  I have examined your account and the water usage history at xxxxxxxx and the findings of my investigation are as follows:

• Your normal daily water usage is usually between .10-.13 HCF, roughly 75-90 gallons.  Each HCF, or water billing unit, is equivalent to 748 gallons of water.

• Beginning on December 7 through December 21, your daily water usage went from less than 1 HCF per day up to between 1-2 HCF’s.

• Because we recognized that this was well above your normal water usage, we sent a meter reader to your property, on December 22nd, to verify the read.

• The meter reader verified the read as accurate and left a courtesy tag on your door stating that you may want to look for a leak as the water read was verified as higher than normal.

• After verification was received, on December 22nd, your bill was released for mailing. Your water usage between November 18 and December 22 was billed at 24.08 HCF for the month. The usage between December 7 and December 21 accounted for almost 95% of the billing period’s water usage.

• Your water usage went back down to less than 1 HCF per day beginning on December 21.

Per our conversation, please see the attachment for your daily water usage report. If you have any other questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you,

Sean Aquino
Customer Service Supervisor
BWP Call Center


Reading Date/Time
Reading
Consumption

12/29/2011  2:00 PM
74.45
.06
12/28/2011  11:00 PM
74.39
.11
12/27/2011  11:59 PM
74.28
.08
12/26/2011  11:59 PM
74.20
.10
12/25/2011  11:59 PM
74.10
.10
12/24/2011  11:59 PM
74.00
.13
12/23/2011  11:58 PM
73.87
.10
12/22/2011  11:00 PM
73.77
.10
12/21/2011  11:00 PM
73.67
.75
12/20/2011  11:00 PM
72.92
1.44
12/19/2011  11:57 PM
71.48
1.46
12/18/2011  11:57 PM
70.02
1.46
12/17/2011  11:57 PM
68.56
1.55
12/16/2011  11:57 PM
67.01
1.52
12/15/2011  1156 PM
65.49
1.56
12/14/2011  11:56 PM
63.93
1.57
12/13/2011  11:56 PM
62.36
1.60
12/12/2011  11:56 PM
60.76
1.78
12/11/2011  11:00 PM
58.98
1.72
12/10/2011  11:00 PM
57.26
1.69
12/9/2011  11:00 PM
55.57
1.83
12/8/2011  11:00 PM
53.74
1.89
12/7/2011  11:54 PM
51.85
1.21
12/6/2011  11:54 PM
50.64
.15
12/5/2011  11:54 PM
50.49
.13
12/4/2011  11:54 PM
50.36
.09
12/3/2011  11:53 PM
50.27
.11
12/2/2011  11:53 PM
50.16
.10
12/1/2011  11:53 PM
50.06
.12
11/30/2011  11:53 PM
49.94
.15
11/29/2011  11:00 PM
49.79
.14
11/28/2011  11:52 PM
49.65
.13
11/27/2011  11:52 PM
49.52
.16
11/26/2011  11:52 PM
49.36
.07
11/25/2011  11:51 PM
49.29
.07
11/24/2011  11:51 PM
49.22
.09
11/23/2011  11:51 PM
49.13
.12
11/22/2011  11:51 PM
49.01
.16
11/21/2011  11:50 PM
48.85
.13



I would like to state that these folks are working with me and the level of service and communication has been very good.

I received a call yesterday from a gal who heads up their technical side.  I will post her name if I receive an email with the information. 

We talked for quite a while.  She supplied me with two possible scenarios which she had seen in the past at other locations.  I was able to show her that they were not applicable to my problem. 

We came to an agreement about what would be done if the meter shows any abnormal increase, a meter person would be dispatched immediately to investigate and I would be contacted.  This might isolate a possible meter problem.

I am waiting to hear about a possible credit.  I don't know if this issue may work as a typical civil case but it is pretty clear than by a preponderance of evidence the case would be in my favor.  The burden of proof should be on BWP and I have data and complaints from other people about meter problems and billing problems.

I will keep this post updated when there are changes or additional information is available.

1-9-2012 4:45pm pst 
I just went out to look at my meter reading.  I did not want another surprise.  My meter had NO display at all.  I don't know if that is normal or not but it is a concern.  The last time I looked when I was having the problems and looking for leaks there was a display.  

Hopefully when this is turned back on it will not be reset with some wild number.  

I will send this updated blog to BWP.

My letter to Sean:

Sean,

I have a concern as I just tried to read my meter.  In the past there was a reading that I could see.  Today, no display.

I just updated my blog with the following:

1-9-2012 4:45pm pst 
I just went out to look at my meter reading.  I did not want another surprise.  My meter had NO display at all.  I don't know if that is normal or not but it is a concern.  The last time I looked when I was having the problems and looking for leaks there was a display.  

Hopefully when this is turned back on it will not be reset with some wild number.  

I will send this updated blog to BWP.

I will look forward to your reply and I will keep my blog post active.  

I was never sent the contact information from the tech person you had talk to me as she said you would do as a side note.

If there is a surprise this month I will escalate this.


1/8/12 - False alarm.  No problem.  I was looking at the meter in the late evening and the display requires a light source as it is solar.  I used a flashlight and all looks fine including the current reading.

1/11/12
Sean from BWP called me during lunch and gave me an update.  

He has been helpful and proactive in regard to my problem.  He and I have agreed on a course of action to try to isolate any problem that may surface in the future.  

At this time I have no complaints with Burbank Water and Power and feel they have been responsive to the problem which is being watched.  Sean also sent me the technical contact information I had been waiting to receive.

I will add any updates if there are updates in the future.

-the end for the moment -

4/19/13

Here we go again.  A system glitch?  Or ????

The email I just sent has the issues documented.

Sean,

I just paid my bill for this month.  My water usage was very high on by bill.  I cannot log into my energy use program, the password / email does not work .... again.

In any case, my water usage was vastly higher than normal and again, nothing was done by me.  Nobody was visiting, nothing was different.

There were Burbank tree trimmers on the street this month and there were Burbank Public works doing curb work.  Perhaps they are stealing my water for cement?  Heck, I don't know but about a year ago we had the same problem.  Perhaps once a year you overcharge folks to make up some budget shortfall or something.  In any case, same issue as last year.

In any case I would like an explanation.  You said last year that if my usage was higher than normal by a suspicious amount you would send somebody out and also call me.  No call was received.

Below is a screen snapshot using the old system as I cannot log into the new system again.  Click on the image for a larger image.


Update:  Second email just sent:

Sean,

I was able to get into the energy use program by changing my password.  Unfortunately the program does not track water, only electricity.  I took a screen snapshot using the old program and ported the image into the blog post.

At this point my only issue is an explanation for higher consumption and on which days did this happen / how much water was reported as being used.  Once again, I suspect a possible glitch of some sort in your system.  Last time we never did discover a reason.  

The data.....

Last month and this month were 29 day billing periods.  The electrical usage did not increase as a side note.

Last month water usage:  1600 gallons / 55 gallons per day, 2.140 HCF
This month water usage:   6372 gallons / 219 gallons per day, 8.520 HCF
I will update this piece when I get some feedback.

4/22/13 Update

Latest email reply:

Sean,

Also, adding all the figures in the column on the spreadsheet I find:

3,709.31
4.96

Not, 8.52 HCF.

Please clarify.  This also does not seem to agree with the data here:

AccountNoMeterNoCategoryPeriodEndConsumptionDaysOfServiceAmountDue
121952-3090748857WTR01/18/132.292916.77
121952-3090748857WTR02/19/132.673217.76
121952-3090748857WTR04/18/138.522933.05

Also, where is the March 2013 data?

It almost seems as if you added my March and April water consumption together even though I paid March last month.

The basic question:  Why are you showing my consumption has increased almost three times when there were no changes in the household?

I have also checked the meter to look for any case of leaks.  There are none.




--- On Mon, 4/22/13, Myles Rose > wrote:

From: Myles Rose
Subject: RE: Update on energy use program
To: "SeanAquino"
Date: Monday, April 22, 2013, 1:07 PM

Sean,

Looking at the spread sheet I do not see where the usage stopped on the 11th.

Confusing.

Regards,
Myles S. Rose


--- On Mon, 4/22/13, Aquino, Sean wrote:

From: Aquino, Sean
Subject: RE: Update on energy use program
To: "'Myles Rose'"
Date: Monday, April 22, 2013, 10:23 AM

Hello Mr. Rose,

I have attached a daily water use spreadsheet detailing each day of water usage for the billing period of March 19 through April 17.

It looks like the increase in usage began on March 28th and continued through April 11th.  

Please review the spreadsheet and let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you,

Sean Aquino
Customer Service Supervisor
BWP Credit Section
818-238-3707



From: Myles Rose [mailto:myles111us@yahoo.com]
Sent: Friday, April 19, 2013 7:35 PM
To: Aquino, Sean
Subject: Update on energy use program

Sean,

I was able to get into the energy use program by changing my password.  Unfortunately the program does not track water, only electricity.  I took a screen snapshot using the old program and ported the image into the blog post.

At this point my only issue is an explanation for higher consumption and on which days did this happen / how much water was reported as being used.  Once again, I suspect a possible glitch of some sort in your system.  Last time we never did discover a reason.  
Regards,




My question at the moment for the BWP folks is .... please explain this considering there have been no changes in the number of occupants in my home, the fact there are no leaks has been verified.  Burbank Public Works has been on my street for the past few weeks during this period doing cement work and trimming trees.  Perhaps water taken from fire hydrants for cement work is charged back to the consumer?  


Click on image for larger version


Please explain or credit in the amount of change between my normal usage and your overcharged usage.  Perhaps it is a bug in your billing / accounting system that more than doubled my reported usage.  Note that you have no data for last month, March 2013.

Update:  14:00pst 4/22/13

I just got off the phone with Sean at BWP.  I have worked with him for a few years at this point and will say that he is a lot of help and always willing to try to get to the bottom of an issue.

We agreed that my problem would be sent to their software folks.  Sean is also sending them the link to this post and supplying my past history as I had this problem in the past.  I told Sean that I do expect an explanation.  I expect the explanation to be something more than "if the meter says something it cannot be wrong".  

I will await their software department report.  I spent too many years in software QA/QC and ISO9000 to expect anything less than an understanding of the BWP software by their own software engineers.

The end until the next update.

14:30pst

I just received a call from Jamie at DWP.  I dealt with her in the past on another issue.  She is technical and in their software group.  She worked with me and we came up with a plan to see if these events can be isolated.

I think that is the end of the dialogue here for the moment.  I would like to exit on a positive note and thank Sean and Jamie for some great customer service which is so rare today from so many other companies.

5/21/13

- received an email that my current bill was ready to be paid. Website down on every attempt.  

Click on the images below if you would like a larger presentation. 






5/22/13

The folks at BWP got things fixed last night very quickly.


8/6/13

Today was the second time in a few weeks the trash folks did not pick up all my cans.  This time they missed the green one.

Last time I told them I could wait until the following week.  Guess they did not learn their lesson.  Maybe they changed drivers as I had NO problems in the past two plus years and then two problems recently.  I guess it is time to track their service on this issue.

I was told that they will pick it up tomorrow.  My gardener comes tomorrow so it better be early.

-end-

No comments:

Post a Comment