Discussion:
still yet another pg&e horror story
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Keith Keller
2015-06-18 20:09:34 UTC
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This is slightly OT, but does have a slim connection to Bay Area
networking. Most of the story I got third or fourth hand, so I can't
actually verify most of it, but it's still a good story.

Yesterday, our next door neighbor called PG&E to report a downed wire
which was draped on her car and connected to our house. As far as I can
tell from the aftermath, the bracket holding the line up at the top of
our house had fallen out, so the wire was running right from the pole to
the building, with a lot of slack in the line. After calling she waited
for PG&E to knock on her door.

A short time later, my wife, who was home at the time, got a call from
our neighbor across the street. He told her that PG&E cut our phone
line. According to him, his conversation with the PG&E tech went
something like this.

Neighbor: I think that might be a phone line, not a power line.
PG&E tech: Nobody uses landlines any more. *snip*

This tells me two things: the tech *knew* that the downed line was not a
power line, and therefore shouldn't even have touched it; and that the
tech simply did not care that he was messing with something he shoudn't
have been. The aftermath was that we had about 10" of wire sticking out
of our house, and maybe 15-20' of wire coming down from the box and
electrical taped to the utility pole. This is another indicator that he
knew it wasn't a power line, it'd be completely crazy to tape a live
wire to the pole.

Anyway, after this phone call, my wife went to the neighbor who
originally called PG&E. That neighbor was surprised, because she was
expecting PG&E to ring. So the PG&E tech did not knock on *either*
house's door before cutting this line--he just cut it and left.

W. T. F.

So, we wasted an entire afternoon on the phone with PG&E and Sonic
trying to get a resolution. The calls with PG&E were mostly bitch
sessions, since they shouldn't be messing with phone lines even if they
broke them in the first place. The good news is that everyone we spoke
to at PG&E was horrified at their tech's actions, and claimed that their
policy is not to touch other utilities' equipment. They also said (an
hour after the incident) that the tech was still listed as being on-site
even though he'd been long gone by then. They said we could file a
claim for damages, though I'm skeptical that they'll follow through.
The tech should clearly be fired, but I'm extremely skeptical that he'll
even be disciplined.

All the Sonic reps, and the AT&T tech who came out this morning, were
similarly horrified. The AT&T tech didn't believe me at first, but when
he saw the PG&E tech's handiwork it was clear that someone had done
exactly what we described.

Total downtime was about 24h. The AT&T tech finished up in about 2
hours, pretty good time for having to run a totally new line from the
utility pole to the house. I like to rag on AT&T, but I have to admit
that every time they've come to our house they've been competent and
efficient. The ~36hr appointment window wasn't pleasant but at least he
showed up in the morning; the window was till 8pm tonight, so it could
have been a lot longer. The earliest 4 hour appointment window was
Friday, and I didn't want to wait that long.

--keith
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Steve Pope
2015-06-18 20:29:38 UTC
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Post by Keith Keller
This is slightly OT, but does have a slim connection to Bay Area
networking. Most of the story I got third or fourth hand, so I can't
Total downtime was about 24h. The AT&T tech finished up in about 2
hours, pretty good time for having to run a totally new line from the
utility pole to the house. I like to rag on AT&T, but I have to admit
that every time they've come to our house they've been competent and
efficient.
If they send an actual lineman (lineperson?) then they always do
the right thing, in my experience. Including fixing other peoples'
screwups. Has happened to me too.

Steve
Roy
2015-06-18 21:00:45 UTC
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Was it a DSL only circuit?
Post by Keith Keller
This is slightly OT, but does have a slim connection to Bay Area
networking. Most of the story I got third or fourth hand, so I can't
actually verify most of it, but it's still a good story.
Yesterday, our next door neighbor called PG&E to report a downed wire
which was draped on her car and connected to our house. As far as I can
tell from the aftermath, the bracket holding the line up at the top of
our house had fallen out, so the wire was running right from the pole to
the building, with a lot of slack in the line. After calling she waited
for PG&E to knock on her door.
A short time later, my wife, who was home at the time, got a call from
our neighbor across the street. He told her that PG&E cut our phone
line. According to him, his conversation with the PG&E tech went
something like this.
Neighbor: I think that might be a phone line, not a power line.
PG&E tech: Nobody uses landlines any more. *snip*
This tells me two things: the tech *knew* that the downed line was not a
power line, and therefore shouldn't even have touched it; and that the
tech simply did not care that he was messing with something he shoudn't
have been. The aftermath was that we had about 10" of wire sticking out
of our house, and maybe 15-20' of wire coming down from the box and
electrical taped to the utility pole. This is another indicator that he
knew it wasn't a power line, it'd be completely crazy to tape a live
wire to the pole.
Anyway, after this phone call, my wife went to the neighbor who
originally called PG&E. That neighbor was surprised, because she was
expecting PG&E to ring. So the PG&E tech did not knock on *either*
house's door before cutting this line--he just cut it and left.
W. T. F.
So, we wasted an entire afternoon on the phone with PG&E and Sonic
trying to get a resolution. The calls with PG&E were mostly bitch
sessions, since they shouldn't be messing with phone lines even if they
broke them in the first place. The good news is that everyone we spoke
to at PG&E was horrified at their tech's actions, and claimed that their
policy is not to touch other utilities' equipment. They also said (an
hour after the incident) that the tech was still listed as being on-site
even though he'd been long gone by then. They said we could file a
claim for damages, though I'm skeptical that they'll follow through.
The tech should clearly be fired, but I'm extremely skeptical that he'll
even be disciplined.
All the Sonic reps, and the AT&T tech who came out this morning, were
similarly horrified. The AT&T tech didn't believe me at first, but when
he saw the PG&E tech's handiwork it was clear that someone had done
exactly what we described.
Total downtime was about 24h. The AT&T tech finished up in about 2
hours, pretty good time for having to run a totally new line from the
utility pole to the house. I like to rag on AT&T, but I have to admit
that every time they've come to our house they've been competent and
efficient. The ~36hr appointment window wasn't pleasant but at least he
showed up in the morning; the window was till 8pm tonight, so it could
have been a lot longer. The earliest 4 hour appointment window was
Friday, and I didn't want to wait that long.
--keith
Keith Keller
2015-06-19 18:24:58 UTC
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Post by Roy
Was it a DSL only circuit?
No, it was a Sonic Fusion circuit, so we lost both voice and DSL
service (the tech was wrong, we do have a landline). The line wasn't
explicitly labeled as a voice line. I do have to clarify: we used to
have two copper pairs coming to our house. One was an old DSL-only line
which is now unused, and the other was an old voice line that we had
Sonic take over for Fusion. Neither cable was labeled, but the PG&E
tech cut both.

--keith
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Roy
2015-06-19 22:59:17 UTC
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Post by Keith Keller
Post by Roy
Was it a DSL only circuit?
No, it was a Sonic Fusion circuit, so we lost both voice and DSL
service (the tech was wrong, we do have a landline). The line wasn't
explicitly labeled as a voice line. I do have to clarify: we used to
have two copper pairs coming to our house. One was an old DSL-only line
which is now unused, and the other was an old voice line that we had
Sonic take over for Fusion. Neither cable was labeled, but the PG&E
tech cut both.
--keith
Did the circuit have the standard POTS 48V DC on it? I bet the PGE guy
figured it was unused if that signal was missing. I think Fusion is all
data.

In early Internet days, we had our T1 go down. The PacBell T1 tech
traced the problem to a junction box where someone had reused one of our
pairs. Our tech rewired and we were back up only to go down a few hours
later with the same problem. This time she put big "Data circuit"
labels on it and the problem didn't reoccur.

The PB tech told me that "old timers" would just check to see if a pair
was alive by measuring the 48V DC. No 48V meant the pair was unused.
Steve Pope
2015-06-19 23:57:02 UTC
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Post by Roy
Did the circuit have the standard POTS 48V DC on it? I bet the PGE guy
figured it was unused if that signal was missing. I think Fusion is all
data.
My Sonic Fusion line operates a legacy telephone with the carbon-button
microphone, so it must have the 48 VDC.

Steve
Keith Keller
2015-06-20 16:24:17 UTC
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Post by Roy
Did the circuit have the standard POTS 48V DC on it? I bet the PGE guy
figured it was unused if that signal was missing. I think Fusion is all
data.
Like Steve, my Fusion line supplies a standard dial tone. But if you
believe my neighbor, the PG&E tech didn't even check for 48V, he simply
arrived, saw the lines down, and cut them. (I believe the "IP" component
of Sonic's Fusion Voice is done at their end, so to the customer it
looks like a standard POTS line with DSL.)

It's my opinion that it shouldn't even matter whether he checked for 48V
or not: he shouldn't be cutting the lines of other utilities unless
there is imminent life-threatening danger. The behavior I'd expect is
to go to the home and tell them to call AT&T (and in this case, also go
to the home where the call was made from and say the same thing). If
he's being nice he can report to AT&T himself.

--keith
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Steve Pope
2015-06-20 20:46:53 UTC
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Post by Keith Keller
It's my opinion that it shouldn't even matter whether he checked for 48V
or not: he shouldn't be cutting the lines of other utilities unless
there is imminent life-threatening danger.
The problem is, a PGE customer called PGE to report a downed line,
the PGE lineman observed a downed line, so he cut it to get it
out of the way. Perhaps this is SOP as opposed to also including
an assessment about life-threatening danger, or assessing whose line
it is.

I don't think it's necessarily totally out of bounds.


Steve
Keith Keller
2015-06-22 01:57:44 UTC
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Post by Steve Pope
Post by Keith Keller
It's my opinion that it shouldn't even matter whether he checked for 48V
or not: he shouldn't be cutting the lines of other utilities unless
there is imminent life-threatening danger.
The problem is, a PGE customer called PGE to report a downed line,
the PGE lineman observed a downed line, so he cut it to get it
out of the way. Perhaps this is SOP as opposed to also including
an assessment about life-threatening danger, or assessing whose line
it is.
According to the PG&E customer service reps my wife talked to, it is not
SOP for PG&E linemen to cut the lines of other utilities. And if it
were a PG&E line, he wouldn't simply cut the line like that. That, plus
his statement about "nobody has a landline", is firm evidence that he
knew it was not a PG&E line but cut it anyway.

--keith
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kkeller-***@wombat.san-francisco.ca.us
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David Kaye
2015-06-19 02:05:58 UTC
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Post by Keith Keller
Neighbor: I think that might be a phone line, not a power line.
PG&E tech: Nobody uses landlines any more. *snip*
I have certain buzzwords I use when I'm not getting proper service. When it
comes to public utilities I ask for their name and their employee number,
and then tell them that I'm making a complaint to the PUC. As soon as you
mention PUC they go into high gear to fix the problem.




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Keith Keller
2015-06-19 18:32:40 UTC
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Post by David Kaye
Post by Keith Keller
Neighbor: I think that might be a phone line, not a power line.
PG&E tech: Nobody uses landlines any more. *snip*
I have certain buzzwords I use when I'm not getting proper service. When it
comes to public utilities I ask for their name and their employee number,
and then tell them that I'm making a complaint to the PUC. As soon as you
mention PUC they go into high gear to fix the problem.
As I mentioned in my story, neither me nor my wife were present during
this exchange, so it was not possible to directly ask the linesman for
his ID. If we feel we're not getting a good response from PG&E's
supervisors, then we'd certainly escalate to mentioning (and filing) a
PUC complaint. (We're still waiting to get the claims form the PG&E
supervisor claimed he'd send out).

As for having them fix it, why would I want anyone from PG&E to repair
an AT&T line, even if PG&E broke it in the first place? The only thing
we want from them is to discipline their employee, but since it's a
"personnel issue" they wouldn't tell us what they've done with him (if
anything).

--keith
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Peter Lawrence
2015-06-20 16:33:59 UTC
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Post by Keith Keller
As for having them fix it, why would I want anyone from PG&E to repair
an AT&T line, even if PG&E broke it in the first place? The only thing
we want from them is to discipline their employee, but since it's a
"personnel issue" they wouldn't tell us what they've done with him (if
anything).
--keith
So you wouldn't consider this lineman representative of the PG&E lineman you
had to deal with?


Keith Keller
2015-06-20 17:38:39 UTC
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Post by Peter Lawrence
So you wouldn't consider this lineman representative of the PG&E lineman you
had to deal with?
http://youtu.be/7HUUyfqHBZ4
Since it's a PG&E commercial, I'm not convinced that lineman even
exists.

--keith
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Brad Allen
2015-09-17 06:32:30 UTC
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Post by Keith Keller
Post by Peter Lawrence
So you wouldn't consider this lineman representative of the PG&E
lineman you had to deal with?
http://youtu.be/7HUUyfqHBZ4
Since it's a PG&E commercial, I'm not convinced that lineman even
exists.
Fake. No one wants to raise their family in Stockton, so it's fake.
Here's the list of three people I've met from Stockton in the last
year: (1) drug addict; (2) both parents died in bar robbery, living
off death insurance; (3) coworker who doesn't know English and
probably stole my job from me (non-English boss).

Ok, so perhaps drug addicts and criminals (illegal aliens) want to
raise their families in Stockton, but no one else.
d***@09.usenet.us.com
2015-07-02 02:17:21 UTC
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Post by Keith Keller
Yesterday, our next door neighbor called PG&E to report a downed wire
which was draped on her car and connected to our house. As far as I can
In my new (old) home for a few weeks, brownout while watching TV. Bummer.
A few days later, again. But I noticed the lights were on in the kitchen.

Next day, a complete outage, in parts of the house. Bad breaker?
Checked the panel. Hey, I lost a leg. Call PG&E.

I hear the guy open the panel. I go out, he says everything is fine, now.
Well, yeah, now, but it has gone in and out five times in the last hour.
Stand there for a few minutes. Nope. All better, bye.

After he left, I noticed that the "left" side of the box didn't have the
seal wire on it, so I opened it up, next time I lost half my power. Yep...
on the PG&E side, 0 on one leg, good on the other leg. I also noticed
about four of the seal wires on the ground, behind a bush.

Called again. Different tech, knocks on the door first (novel thought).
I told him I lost one leg, off and on, with "on" being now, while he's
here, of course. I told him that I saw the smart meter with all blocks on,
like it was resetting. That was enough for him. He said that meant there
was a problem on his side, and he started opening things.

An underground vault had one connection that was severely corroded,
affecting my next door neighbor, too. She wasn't home, so he put a note on
her door, fixed the connection (live), and was on his way.
--
Clarence A Dold - Santa Rosa, CA, USA GPS: 38.47,-122.65
Brad Allen
2015-09-17 06:34:27 UTC
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Post by d***@09.usenet.us.com
Post by Keith Keller
Yesterday, our next door neighbor called PG&E to report a downed wire
which was draped on her car and connected to our house. As far as I can
In my new (old) home for a few weeks, brownout while watching TV. Bummer.
A few days later, again. But I noticed the lights were on in the kitchen.
Next day, a complete outage, in parts of the house. Bad breaker?
Checked the panel. Hey, I lost a leg. Call PG&E.
I hear the guy open the panel. I go out, he says everything is fine, now.
Well, yeah, now, but it has gone in and out five times in the last hour.
Stand there for a few minutes. Nope. All better, bye.
After he left, I noticed that the "left" side of the box didn't have the
seal wire on it, so I opened it up, next time I lost half my power. Yep...
on the PG&E side, 0 on one leg, good on the other leg. I also noticed
about four of the seal wires on the ground, behind a bush.
Called again. Different tech, knocks on the door first (novel thought).
I told him I lost one leg, off and on, with "on" being now, while he's
here, of course. I told him that I saw the smart meter with all blocks on,
like it was resetting. That was enough for him. He said that meant there
was a problem on his side, and he started opening things.
An underground vault had one connection that was severely corroded,
affecting my next door neighbor, too. She wasn't home, so he put a note on
her door, fixed the connection (live), and was on his way.
--
Clarence A Dold - Santa Rosa, CA, USA GPS: 38.47,-122.65
Are underground utilities more expensive to maintain, because of
things like water damage?

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