Wednesday, April 18, 2007

AN ENCOUNTER WITH ENTERGY

I had a very small but very distasteful experience in the last 2 days of the type of service the local gas and electric company offers the citizens of New Orleans. http://entergy.com/

Which has led the local people I speak to about to shake their heads and tell greater stories of being treated poorly and disrespectfully by the energy company. One was from my postman. He said to me "My bill just came in with a $50 adjusted rate increase, with no information about what this rate increase was for. Can you find out what is going on?" "Will you let others on your blogs know what we are gong through down here? That we are still havin' a hard time and need their help?" (Note - done as requested...)

My overall experience of interacting with ENTERGY staff can be defined for me as dealing with "ineptness". (I just looked up this word ineptness as this word continually flooded my concsiousness during the entire "drama" - some definitions for ineptness include: bungling, unskillfulness due to lack of training, incompetent).

I want to frame it this way - imagine the "I" in this ENTERGY drama, is someone who works at the local drugstore, or even at the hospital as a nurses-aid or the Home-Depot. The "I" in this ENTERGY drama is someone who depends on every penny they earn to survive and to rebuild. There is for the working poor or those making minium wage, paid day's off when the ENTERGY gas and electric company makes the mistake which causes termination of your service.

Imagine the level of hardship for the person who through no fault of their own - but through the fault of the ENTERGY employee, loses their gas and electric service. In order to have service re-established they must take the day off and wait for the ENTERGY employee (in this case a very kind man - who knew his job) to come and turn their services back on. Meanwhile, when this first occurs and they call, they encounter the first of many "inept" employees who in their will-intentionedness, lie to them and do not give them the full amount of information they need to deal with the situation (it is only the last person - after speaking with many departments and at least 10 different people - do they encounter someone who knows what to do, and tells them what they need to know). Things such as the person who turns on the gas may not come until 7 p.m. and the man who turns on the electric has up until 10 p.m.. And your fuses need to be in the "off" position if they are not you will not have service turned back on.

Imagine they tell their boss, because they were told by the well meaning yet inept, supervisor, of all people, that they will be in after noon because they were "promised" by this supervisor that their gas and electric would be "restored" by then. Imagine this person sitting there waiting for someone who is not coming and emptying their refrigerator of all the food in it because it is starting to smell and it has gone bad - worst of all as they do this, haven't eaten since the day before. Imagine their despair. "Where will the money come to replace this food?" "I have lost a days work and I had to through away all of the food in my refrigerator" "How am I going to financially recover from this setback?"

Now imagine they haven't eaten in 24 hours, that this person may have low blood sugar or are a diabetic. They can't leave the apartment or their house to get food because ENTERGY promised they would be there, first the night before, then that morning and now ? last call told you it could be up until 10 p.m. And they cannot leave as they have to be there for ENTERGY to turn on their services again. But ENTERGY doesn't show up and they don't know when they are coming, and they call their boss back with the bad news. And they begin to feel really depressed and angry as they can't cook anything or eat what they once had in the fridge and they have to wait in a house or apartment where they can't even watch t.v. or listen to the radio. No food, no t.v. no radio - no distractions - a loss of pay that day and they have just thrown out all the food in their fridge and freezer.

Well the circumstances happened to me, and being the type of person I am, I immediately imagined what it would be like for the working poor - or just plain working folks who depend on each day's salary, trying to get their lives back together here in New Orleans - to go through this experience. This led me to do a little research about ENTERGY. http://www.bestofneworleans.com/dispatch/2007-04-10/commentary.php It seems like they are the only game in town and if you need service from them you are literally "at their mercy".

I will include a few links I found from the local newspaper and other online sources about the corruption of ENTERGY http://entergy.com/ and you can decide for yourself what your opinion is of this company. ENTERGY New Orleans to begin charging for emergency fund -http://www.nola.com/newsflash/louisiana/index.ssf?/base/news-31/117612449079030.xml&storylist=louisiana ENTERGY passed on improper charges to customers, audit shows http://nola.live.advance.net/newslogs/topnews/index.ssf?/mtlogs/nola_topnews/archives/2006_09_22.html


"Why", dear reader - you may ask of my writing of these experiences, "is this important to me in my life, at this time???"

And this is what I will tell you in response:

"At some point in the near future, many Americans in many different cities are going to experience situations similar to the New Orleans experience. Either by natural disaster or man-made disaster. And there are those amongst the human race who are unscrupulous enough to "make a profit" and "take advantage" of those who are shell shocked and suffering from the devastation they have encountered. And whilst you may be trying to get back on your feet and get your life together, others are corruptly feeding at the trough of your suffering and the millions available to help you recover."

What has happened to New Orleans and its peoples are a wake up call for all Americans. At some point in the future, "their suffering will become your suffering". That is why it is imperative that "we the people" unite in helping to rebuild, oversee, and care about the suffering of our brothers and sisters - everywhere on this planet as well as nationally, with real presence.

Peace.

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