KCPL: Not the brightest bulb in town?
The Kansas City Star
Say an elm tree falls on the power line that crosses your back yard. You call KCP&L, and they tell you that since the power line goes to the house next door it’s not your problem, but your neighbor’s.
“But the power line is in my yard. I could swing on it,” you say.
They urge you not to swing on it, but to ask your neighbor to call. Your neighbor doesn’t want to call because he’s already called. So you phone again, and they say they will send someone to look at the problem. Within two weeks.
When that doesn’t happen, you call again, and this time you’re told to fill out a request form and mail it in.
Eventually you get out your step ladder and saw the tree off the line yourself. But first you tell your wife that if you get electrocuted, she should find a lawyer.
Is it just me, or does anybody else have this experience with our friendly electrical utility company?
Sure, they’re pretty quick to hook you up when you move in. That keeps the meter spinning.
And don’t get me wrong, the electricians and plant workers aren’t the problem here. When true emergencies hit, KCP&L linemen will be atop those poles round the clock getting our lights back on
The problem seems to lie somewhere in that corporate maze between you and the electrician.
Maybe it’s related to the fact that when the things don’t add up, all KCP&L has to do is ask for another rate hike, like their recent request for 15.1% on the Missouri side, and 12.9% in Kansas. And despite the outcry, at the end of the day the good ol’ board will give them pretty much what they ask for.
How else could they possibly finance those poorly-managed plant upgrades that have gone way over budget? Who’s going to buck up for all those wind turbines they’ve promised to build? You didn’t expect these projects to be cost-effective did you?
Well, at least they won’t have to pay to clear the power line crossing my back yard.
It’s not the inept management that really bugs me. Most public utilities are run that way. But shouldn’t a person be able to call KCP&L for service without first getting a Xanax prescription? Take this story:
One morning you look outside and see that KCPL, without notice, is replacing the electrical pole in front of your house. The old one seemed fine, but that’s not your lookout.
When you get back from work you see the new creosoted pole, and at the base a 3-foot pile of clay, rock and discarded wire. And two unopened Taco Bell sauce packets, the green kind.
You assume they will be back to fix this up. In the meantime it rains, and the pile turns to mud and oozes over the sidewalk.
So you call. (Is it true that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results?)
The first time, you get transferred to somebody who tells you the dirt will settle.
When it doesn’t settle, you’re informed they will send out an inspector. “Within two weeks,” they assure you.
Nobody comes of course, and so the next time you call you’re asked to file a complaint form, which they will send you. When the form doesn’t arrive you call again, and are told that somebody will “really” be there. Within two weeks.
“Are you sure?” you ask. You’re trying to be nice.
“I can’t answer that. But we’ll have somebody out within two weeks.” You’re reminded of that book “1984” which you had to read back in school, by George Orwell.
Eventually you wear down. Desperate, you fire up your chainsaw and just before you slice angrily into the pole you look up and see your wife and kids staring at you from the front window.
This is how the story always ends. You’re beaten. KCP&L will get their rate increase and you will do their landscaping for them.
You quietly get out a shovel and buy some grass seed and dirt and you repair your front lawn. You consider calling, just to let them know they no longer have to worry about you, but instead you write a blog. Or if that’s not an option, you go looking for the Xanax.