WARNING: Whining post ahead:
Sometime when it's dark, very, very early Sunday morning: We wake up to a beeping sound from our carbon monoxide alarm. I mumble to D that he should check that out. As he stumbles down the hall, I notice that M has been very thorough in turning out the lights when she'd returned home from seeing friends on Saturday night. Then I realize that she couldn't be thorough enough to shut off all our clocks, too.
Power outage number four for this summer.
We've already lost the contents of our refrigerator twice this summer.
I trip into the living room, find my cell phone, find out it's 4:58 a.m. and call Detroit Edison (known from now on as DTE).
I go through the automated system, hear the estimate is 8 hours. Call back again, because usually the first estimate is bogus. During the second call, DTE is terribly sorry and realizes we have a problem but there are NO estimates at this time.
Uh oh. Not good.
However, I've just reported it, so I try to go back to sleep.
6:36: Call back DTE for a real estimate. Find out there's no estimates. Stay on the line for six minutes to talk to a customer service representative (known as CSR):
CSR (answering the phone in an angry voice before I have a chance to say anything): We're not giving estimates. Yes?!!!
Jen: Hi, I just wanted to know what you know about the problem. How widespread it is? We have animals that have medical issues and this might interfere with their medicines, etc.
CSR: You're in a pocket of 90, there's another pocket of 85. There are 3100 customers out of power altogether.
Jen: Have the crews said anything? It's been an hour and a half already. (I am counting down, too, whether I'm going to have restock my fridge for the THIRD time this summer).
CSR: There are no crews out. We don't know anything yet. As I told you the first time, there are no estimates.
Jen: Why are there no crews out?
CSR: We are a BUSINESS. We follow all the regulations we need to and we sure don't have crews working 24/7. They'll come in at 8:00 and we'll start assigning them then.
Jen: But according to the FDA and the Red Cross, our fridge will not be good any more by 5:00 a.m. Do you mean to tell me that NOTHING is done until regular business hours, even with 3100 people out of power?
CSR: Yes, yes, yes. We are a BUSINESS. We don't send crews out at night on the weekends. Why would we do that?
Jen: But your recording says you're doing everything you can to get the power back on. Are you doing anything to get the power back on?
CSR: Look, what about this don't you understand? Do you understand how hard our jobs are? Do you get it that we just don't know, and no, we're not going to even start fixing this until 8:00 a.m. I've been fielding calls like yours all night, and it's not going to change. We are a business, we follow federal guidelines and we don't have to send out crews until 8:00 a.m.
Jen: I'm sorry your job is so hard. I'm sorry I have medical issues that I have to look into every time DTE screws up. I'm sorry we're going to lose the more expensive contents of our fridge for the THIRD time this summer. Maybe if you hate your job so much, since we have the highest unemployment rate in the country, you could move to another job and give your job to someone who would be ever so grateful to have any job ? (I say this thinking of my many friends who have looked for something, anything, to hold onto their houses. I think of friends who've been foreclosed this year. I think of friends who've had to move from Michigan, even though their family is all there and they've lived here for generations because there's just. no. work.)
CSR: I hear your frustration, but you have to understand how hard my job is.
Jen: No, at the moment, I don't. I'd like to speak to a supervisor, please.
CSR: Give me your name and number and I'll have one call you back. They've been getting calls like this all night.
Jen: Yes, I'm sure they have. The problem is that whenever someone has "taken my number" from DTE the other five times our power has been out since the first of the year (yes, folks the three times were just over the summer), no one has ever called me back.
I hang up. I'm getting way too po'd to handle this even as appropriately as I've handled it so far.
I wake D up and grouch at him. We go to Kroger's and get some supplies that the piggies will need to have first thing in the morning. We don't want to open the fridge in case by some miracle the power comes back on.
9:30 - We decided to wait to call DTE until they've had a chance to send out crews, etc. Still no estimate. D calls CSR this time.
CSR has no information. Crews have been assigned. Not sure what cities they'll get to. Not sure when they'll get to which jobs. Not sure whether it will be today or not. D asks for a supervisor to call back. Leaves his name and number. CSR assures D that supervisor will call back shortly.
11:30 - still no estimate. Still no call back from supervisor. I call vet, find out what to do if power is out for several days. We all feel better. (Due to temperature fluctuations, this can actually be life or death for our piggies, given medical conditions).
1:30 - still no estimate. D calls back again. New information: no information. Apparently the crews haven't called in at all; they have no idea what's going on anywhere. D brings up supervisor call, says it's been four hours. CSR says she'll "look into it."
4:30 - still no estimate. D calls again. Apparently, no crews have called in yet (they were sent out at 8 am). Nice CSR this time. She's going to try to connect D directly to the supervisor. D waits.
CSR comes back on, says supervisor is trying to contact crews to give us information. While talking to CSR, power comes back on. D says that obviously, he'd called the right CSR this time because now, look, the power is back on!
CSR is confused - the power shouldn't be back on.
But it is.
D and I clean out the fridge for the third time this summer and count our blessings that our freezers haven't been affected. I remind myself that I really, really, really need to learn canning.
DTE is a monopoly for this area. Can you tell?