The Edwards Agency

Opinion

Puget Power service during outage was very unsatisfactory

power outage (A copy of this letter was sent to Richard Sonstelie, President/CEO of Puget Sound Power and Light Co.)
   As customers and stockholders of Puget Power, we wanted to let you know that we are exceedingly dissatisfied with the way the power outage of Nov. 19 was handled in our area.
   Our power went out at 9:35 a.m. Tuesday. On Tuesday evening, we were told by your automated system that power would be restored by 6 a.m. Wednesday morning. While power was restored to the majority of Hollywood Hill on Wednesday morning, our "spur line," which we understand includes approximately 80 residences, was not repaired.
   Subsequently, we reported a branch hanging on one of the power lines at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. Your customer service representative told us they would report it to a dispatcher.
   On Thursday morning, a representative indicated that our power would be restored by Thursday noon. A Puget Power car inspecting the area was shown the hanging branch at about 12:30 p.m., and we were assured that one of the trucks in the neighborhood would be contacted by radio, and power should be restored within the hour.
   When nothing had occurred by 2 p.m. we again contacted a phone representative. The representative's supervisor looked into the situation further and promised that a crew would be dispatched within an hour or two. Crews arrived in our area at about 3 p.m. The branch was removed, but power was restored to only some of the homes.
   When our next-door neighbor called after the crews disappeared without restoring power to our houses, she was told that the crew must have missed the circuit breaker for the 10 homes on our street when the circuit for the remaining residences in our area was activated, and that someone would be out as soon as possible. We again called your service center and were promised power first by 6 p.m., then by 8 p.m., and then by 10 p.m.
   Explanations varied each time we talked with your representatives. For example, at approximately 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, we were told by one representative that our home was on circuit HWD-25 and that our outage was related to line problems on the same circuit on MInk Road, a street on the other side of Avondale Road--more than five miles away. Since all houses within a one block radius of our 10 houses had been restored to power, we found this explanation totally implausible.
   In addition, while getting a warm meal at Wood'ys Restaurant at the base of Hollywood Hill on Thursday afternoon, a waitress related that a group of approximately 10 power linemen had been "partying" on Wednesday evening in a very leisurely manner. While ordering more coffee and mud pie, they told the wait staff that the "damn customers could keep waiting."
   When our power was finally restored at approximately 10:20 p.m. on Thursday evening, we were grateful to get back to normal, but still felt that Puget Power could have served us better in several ways:
  1. We see no reason why 10 homes on our block were addressed separately from the other homes on our "spur" line. It is grossly inefficient to send crews repeatedly back to the same area three or more times.
  2. The automated system gave estimated repair times which were totally unrealistic.
  3. Promises, platitudes, unmet assurances, and outright misinformation by your customer service representatives do not constitute prompt, efficient service!
   We sincerely hope that you will investigate this situation carefully and take steps to assure that in future emergency situations, we and your other customers on this block will not again be made to feel so unfairly treated.

Mary Ann and Hermann Goeppele, Woodinville