Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Deceased People Don't Need Water....

Turned on the tap this morning around 10am and nothing came out.

Not a slow drizzle.

No drip, drip, drip.


I pay the bill automatically each month through a program with my bank so I went outside to see if some construction on my street might be to blame.

Nope. Nothing going on out there. Hmm.

Fortunately, I had already started my coffee.

I called the Charleston Water System to report a problem.

Talking to a live person is hard to do these days, but eventually a "Customer Service" rep came on the line.

She fumbled around - I actually heard some papers rattling in the background - and told me   "Your service has been cut off."

But, I sputtered, the monthly payments are done automatically by my bank.

"Ah," she answered, " we have just learned the person named on the account has died."

Well, she had me there.

About 12 years ago, when I had moved in to take care of her, I had made my mom's monthly water bill part of  my automatic payment plan at my bank.

"But," I protested, "isn't cutting the water off a pretty drastic way to handle a simple name change?" Then I asked her to please have the water turned back on.

Nope, not that simple. I had to bring a copy of mom's death certificate to them before the water would flow again. Mom died a year and a half ago.

She said a letter had been mailed, telling me they would cut off the water if the name of the deceased stayed on the contract.

Huh? I had not seen such a notice.

After I went to the North Charleston office, showed the death certificate, my driver's license (with my two pictures on it) and the current bill - showing it would auto-pay in July, I was told a person would be sent to turn the water back on.

I asked when and Tony, the guy at the counter, said it was hard to say.

He didn't know where the guy was who goes around turning things on and off but a notice was going to the dispatcher.

Back in 2008, when my street was really torn up, I never lost water, gas nor electricity.

Now a simple name change had me sitting here at 4:00 in the afternoon, getting thirsty and wanting to pee.

Around noon, Tony had called to correct a statement he had made about me getting a letter from them.

Seems it had been returned by the post office, marked addressee deceased.

I said to Tony, that should have told them I was unaware of the problem and maybe someone could have picked up the phone.

He suggested I call a supervisor to get a time frame on when the turn-on guy would arrive. I called 843-727-6800.

Eventually the same "service" rep answered and I started my tale.

She promptly put me on hold.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

The kitchen tap is open so I know water has not returned yet.

I bet they close right at 5:00pm.

**UPDATE: The water came back on at 7:30. The night dispatcher - Margaret - was the only person at Charleston Water to say "sorry for the inconvenience."

I had placed several buckets on my deck in the rain. Toilets COULD be flushed.

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At Mon Jun 24, 07:18:00 PM , Blogger Paul said...

Oh, the joys of government service! Glad that you didn't have resort to rainwater. :) Would have been hard to get that six-head shower effect going.


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