It has been six weeks since our electricity was restored after the outage caused by the derecho that swept through our area June 29. During our 11 nights and 10 1/2 days of extreme heat and frustration without electricity, we learned some things about FirstEnergy.
Primarily, we were kept in the dark and fed fabricated information by FirstEnergy Call Centers as we watched FirstEnergy spending money as if in unlimited supply by deploying unnecessary early responders. FirstEnergy linemen were observed to work very hard and it is not our intention to be critical of their efforts in this letter.
In our opinion, FirstEnergy call centers are merely a public relations tool. They attempted to placate us with, well, lies. First we are told Tuesday, then Wednesday, then Thursday, etc. Two to three calls per day attempting to obtain an approximation of when our power would be restored and where we were in the list of prioritized repairs. We later discovered there was no possible way call centers could have any idea when our power would be restored. Communication flow within FirstEnergy is one-way only. FirstEnergy regional personnel don't communicate status up-line to call centers as repairs are completed. Call centers receive calls from customers about outages. Call centers "dispatch" the trouble ticket to some unknown entity within a black hole somewhere in our region with whom we cannot communicate.
Responders with FirstEnergy (typically in Ford Explorers) (three separate teams of two, three separate days) were useless, and a complete waste of time and money (money we will pay with when the rate increase comes). After the fact, we discovered that "no" preliminary information or planning was provided to repair crews. I will not elaborate about the accommodations or meals provided by the company which will also later be paid for by us, the consumer.
We hope FirstEnergy managers will examine their procedures to improve customer service, and be more efficient with our money when a major outage occurs in the future. It's not a matter of "if," but a matter of "when" the next major outage occurs, so we trust the degree of mismanagement and frustration we experienced will not be repeated in the future.
David W. Cale