The screaming wheel gets three trucks

My dad was cranking up the stove to cook us breakfast this morning when, suddenly, there was a boom outside and the electricity went out. The fuse on the transformer outside blew for the second time in two weeks. It’s very cold (temperatures in the 20s) and all the homes have electric heat. The combination of the abundant Christmas lights and all the heaters clicking on at the same time was too much for the circuit.

The electric company promised to have someone out by 9:20. When no one came, my dad called again to complain. The customer support representative, based a state away, assured him someone would be out by 10:20. When 10:20 passed, he was on the phone again. The dog’s barking announced the arrival of the utility truck at 11:15.

The engineer said he had only received the dispatch at 11:00 a.m. In the discussion, my dad persuaded the engineer to swap out the 25Kw transformer for a bigger one. However, they’d have to bring it in from a town about an hour away. Estimated time of completion: 1:20 pm.

At 1:10, it was obvious they weren’t going to hit that milestone and my dad was on the phone raising heck, asking if it’s warm [in the other state]?; noting the number of women and grandchildren (who are all female) in the household, freezing; asking if he were a utility company employee, would his service get restored; and suggesting this would be a good reason to switch to natural gas. I sometimes have a hard time keeping a straight face when he gets on a roll. However, it’s worth noting that when he contacted them, he made it clear that he wasn’t upset with them personally but was with their company. (Also, while it’s obvious in this case, you should always tell the CSR what you want them to do.) We were assured electricity would be back online by 3:30pm.

At 2:00, the dog’s barking alerted us to the truck rolling up. We went outside to watch them take the transformer off the pole — it’s a guy thing. Two more trucks came. While one engineer hoisted the replacement, 50Kw transformer, another tested the voltage drop at the meter. Electricity was on by 2:15.

Moral of the story: the squeaky wheel gets the grease. The screaming wheel gets three trucks.

4 thoughts on “The screaming wheel gets three trucks”

  1. Ooh, I got chilled just reading that.

    Aside from the cold, I hope your family had a lovely holiday.

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