Homefire’s Law of Hassles

Okay, I am MAD!  Why is it that electric companies are allowed to have a monopoly?  Because I want to CHANGE electric companies, if only I had any choice whatsoever.  I have had it up to HERE (wherever “here” is) and I am about ready to tell them to keep their old electricity–who needs it anyway?  We’ll go solar or something.

—short break for fuming, hissing, and sputtering—warning of a long rant ahead—

I just tried to log onto Consumers Energy Website to pay my bill.  (side note:  why isn’t there an apostrophe in Consumers, anyway?  Aha!  Because an apostrophe shows possession, and it’s not ours!  If they called it Consumers’ Energy, that would imply that we had some sort of power, rather than being beggars who have no choice but to take what they give and pay what they ask.  But I digress…) 

So anyway, I typed in my password, which I had carefully stashed away, and got an ugly yellow screen that said, Error:   Invalid Password.  (another side note:  Why do they have to make these screens so hideously ugly?  The rest of the site is quite snazzy, but this one has a box that’s a putrid shade of yellow with a place to “try again?”   No “We’re sorry,” no nothing, just sort of a “nyah, nyah, you don’t get i-in”) 

This might not seems like such a big deal to you, but it raised my blood pressure a few points, believe me.  Several months ago, Consumers (no apostrophe) Energy changed their website.  Prettied it up a bit, and tightened security.  Well, yes, of course.  After all, we wouldn’t want just anyone getting on there and paying my electric bill, would we?  (Huh?  And just why in the world wouldn’t we???) 

So the first time I paid my bill after this changeover, my password wouldn’t work.  Well, hey, that’s happened before on other sites; you just click here and they send you something to fix it, right?  Sure enough, they sent an e-mail with a temporary password which I could use (after I answered three security questions) to change my password.  Of course, I didn’t really want to change my password, because I can only remember a couple, and I try to use the same one for all unimportant sites.  So I put in the same one I had just been told wouldn’t work.

Immediately, I was informed that I was not allowed to use any password that had been used before.  Say what?  They knew I had used it before, but it didn’t work?  Hmph!  So anyway, I came up with another password, paid my bill, and forgot about it.

Really forgot about it.  The next month, I had no idea what password I had used.  So I tried all the ones I ever remembered using, with no luck.  After five tries, I was told that I had to wait half an hour before trying again to log in.  (Obviously, the lines were simply jammed with people who were trying to hack into my account and pay my electric bill!)  Since it was the eve of the due date (I hate to give them my money any earlier than I absolutely must) I was getting a little worried that this wouldn’t be resolved before my bill was overdue and I had to pay a penalty.

I finally called Consumers (no apostrophe) Energy and after a fifteen-minute wait, told my tale of woe to the nice lady on the other end of the line, who transferred me (with another eight-minute wait) to another lady who listened kindly and told me that she would freeze the account so there would be no penalty, then gave me another password to use.  I hung up, used the temporary password to change my password yet again, and paid my bill.  This time, I was smarter, and carefully sent myself a message (encrypted, of course) with that ultra-secure new password. 

This month, remembering with a bit of trepidation those previous experiences, I decide not to wait until the last day, so I gingerly approached the Cons. (no apos.) Energy website.  I typed in my nifty new password.  And right here, let me just say that if anyone wants it so that they can pay my bill, I would be MORE than happy to share it…except that IT DIDN’T WORK. 

Yeah.  Deja vu, and I really don’t feel like figuring out how to do accent marks, sorry, so you’ll have to imagine them. 

Yup, we’ve been here before, haven’t we?  So what did I do this time?  I wrote a stern e-mail  to C. (no a.) E. explaining that if they didn’t shape up their act, I was going to be out searching for a new electric company (I wish) and then I came here and ranted.  So if anyone is actually still reading this, I will be amazed, but I do feel a bit better.

Homefire’s Law of Hassles

The companies that provoke the most hassles
are the ones with which you MUST do business.

 

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About dayuntoday

I'm a wonderer. I spend a lot of time mulling, pondering, and cogitating. This is just a place to park some of those thoughts.
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10 Responses to Homefire’s Law of Hassles

  1. fwren says:

    LOL!  Rant away, girlfriend!  We had no power at all from high wind for a little while this afternoon ~ was glad to get it back.  This weather is weird ~

  2. Anonymous says:

    Oh man, this is SO true!!!!

  3. mrcolorful says:

    Of they have the most hassles!  There is no incentive for them to be nice to or try to get along with anyone (except the politicians who would have the power to give that monopoly to another company).

  4. gsmith03 says:

    Lol.  I was laughing out loud as I read that.  Laughing with you, because I have had the same things happen.  It was more of a wry laugh of “so it happened to someone else.”  I think I even had it happen one time with a utility company.And why are they allowed to have a monopoly?  One word: capitalism.  Although monopolies are pretty much banned in most sectors, there are a few sectors that are allowed monopolies (utilities, hospitals, postal service) simply for the sake of convenience and standardization of service, and the government doesn’t intervene in these sectors (in the case of the postal service, the government actually owns the monopoly).  First of all, if monopolies really give convenience and standardization of service (after your tale it is very questionable – lol), then why is it just these industries that have the monopolies?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to have this across all industries?  If it doesn’t make sense to have it across the board, then why are these industries given a free pass?  What is it about them that makes them so special?  We have competition in most other industries, and it seems to work pretty well.Don’t look now, but you are actually advocating government regulation of business.  šŸ˜›

  5. homefire says:

    @gsmith03 – Say what?  No, I think there should be competition in these areas as well–wouldn’t that be capitalism?  I think if those businesses had competition, it would surely force them to give better service.   I don’t see why you’re saying that I’m advocating gov’t regs.  Explain further why you said that. 

  6. gsmith03 says:

    @homefire – No government regulation on business means business can grow without boundaries, leading to vertical consolidation and monopolies.  Capitalism in its ultimate form would be monopolies across the board.  By saying that monopolies should be broken apart (or not exist), you are saying that government should be proactive and intervene in business.  No, competition doesn’t necessarily equate with capitalism.  If capitalism is allowed to progress without limit, weaker competitors will be bought out and absorbed until there are no competitors.  Of course, the opposite extreme would be complete government control over business, which would also mean no competition because the government would control the commanding heights.  What you are advocating is something in between, not a pure market economy (capitalism), but not a command economy either (communism).

  7. joy4jesus424 says:

    yep…i was still reading it…right down to the last word and laughing all the while. šŸ™‚ the funny part was that i was able to actually picture you with hand movements included. šŸ™‚

  8. I can feel ya!  If our credit card is involved, our “BP” rises even further!  This is one amusing reading. 

  9. the_grat says:

    I agree…. We have a monopoly with our electric company, too.  They required $400 deposit, and charge rediculous prices.  Sorry for you in MI, they can still shut you off in the winter.  Even in SC, where are winters are not deadly, they can’t do that. Hear about the 91 year old man who died up in your neck of the woods a little while back, after the EC turned his electric off (January I think) ?Just wait, when I’m president, I’ll use our Nuke system in all the right places, and they won’t bother us anymore.  Neither will Australia.  - lol  =)

  10. homefire says:

    @the_grat – No, I hadn’t heard about that man.  horrible.  But I know that we got a shutoff notice once when I was absentminded.    Not a good feeling.  They didn’t give a month’s grace, either.  No nice reminders, just a shutoff notice in big black letters.I didn’t know you were running for pres!  Well, hey, if there’s still a country left after the current admin, I’ll vote for ya!  

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