Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Enbridge, Direct Energy And Customer Service

We have a gas system in Toronto that comprises of Enbridge (aka Centrica, so it's basically British Gas again) piping the gas to your house, then you have Direct Energy who then provide equipment rental inside your home, such as hot water tanks and such.  Like cable TV, this is a baby boomer model of "convenience at a cost premium"... after all, why pay $1500 to purchase and install a hot water tank when you can spend ($16.50 per month x 12 months for 15 years) $2970 for the same service?

Anyway, the point is you got two gas players that should talk to benefit their customers, but don't because it's just easier to repeat the mantra that they're "different companies" which absolves themselves of all responsibility when the inevitable goes wrong...

And, of course, something did go wrong.

Yesterday Enbridge turned up to upgrade something outside the house.  They turned off everything inside the house, including the Direct Energy water tank before starting work.  When they'd finished, the Enbridge fitter claimed the Direct Energy tank could not be turned on.

Enbridge claimed it was a gas valve issue and it needed to be replaced.  Direct Energy got involved, and despite being told we have 16 month old twins and it's the middle of winter the best Direct Energy could do was create a 30hr+ wait for a valve replacement.

When I heard about this, I fired up the complaints machine because in my book, that's just not right... Everything was working till they tinkered with stuff.

The social media account for Direct Energy seems to be a broadcast media mechanism, rather than a social media mechanism as they've still not responded to a question about complaints over 18 hours later.  But I did reach them by phone and had a person at our house just 90 minutes later.  

This engineer spent 10 minutes checking everything and there was nothing wrong - the Enbridge guy had just not lit the burner properly.

So, to recap:  Because Enbridge didn't do their job properly, and Direct Energy think it's perfectly OK to not prioritize young kids until you phone them up and complain about it, we almost went 30+ hours without service, yet the whole thing could easily have been resolved much quicker and in this case was fixed in 90 minutes because in fact, there was nothing wrong in the first place, unless you listen to Enbridge.

And people wonder why I get so annoyed at large companies and how they treat customers!