Thursday, March 15, 2012

It's Electric! (Boogie Oogie Oogie)

(Unless we can't find your address in our computers.)
So Mark and Rory asked me before I left for my trip if I could call the electric company and have them start service, that way they could not only hook everything up, but use the electricity to do stuff, I gather.  First off, I had to find out which electric company served the area.  Bad news: PEPCO.  They're our current electric company, and although I really have no problems with them in terms of delivery of electricity (unlike nearly everyone else in the DC Metro area), I have been attempting to get them to finalize our electricity upgrade at our current house since we bought the place back in 2003.  No joke: our front yard is currently torn up (after finally getting stuff to grow!) so they can put in our meter, and last month we had to literally rip the cast-iron porch railing out of the wall so they could make sure the meter box didn't cross an inch over onto our neighbor's property.  This, after them wanting to put a giant double-stack smack-dab in the middle of our postage-stamp front yard.  I know Miss Thea White at PEPCO very well by now, having called her multitudes of times over the past several years.

Unfortunately, Miss Thea White is the person you deal with when you have problems with PEPCO in your house in DC; there's an entirely different department for Maryland.  So I go online to find out who to call and, voila, there's a link that lets you register new service online!  Excellent.  Did it from England, got a confirmation email, all good.  Or so I thought.  The next day, I get another automated email saying they can't find my address, so maybe I'm just wrong that they're my provider, and thank you have a nice day.  Argh.  So I responded, thereby creating a new work order.  Okay, so maybe my response was snarky, but there are only so many ways you can say "um, yes, the house I currently pay nearly $3000 a month in mortgage for does actually exist."  No response from PEPCO.

So once I was back in the States, I called and found out the phone number for the Rockville service office.  Gave 'em a call and left messages, but have yet to talk to a real person.  This morning I get to work and I have a message on my voicemail... from PEPCO!  But the message is "hi, this is PEPCO, please call me back."  Argh.  Called several times today, no person, so I didn't leave a message.  Finally at 4pm I called and left as saccharine a message I could, noting it wouldn't do either of us any good to be playing phone tag; maybe they could just tell me in a reply voicemail exactly what I needed to do to show them the house actually existed, and we could get things going by phone tag.  (I also mentioned, very nicely, that they could Google Map the address and find it quite easily.  Hope that wasn't going too far.)

My big fear here is that the contractors will be slowed from their much-appreciated pace by PEPCO's notorious foot dragging.  If I have to drive one of their guys out to the house myself I will, if it means I can get electricity!

"The Pretty Toilet"
As for other utilities, even though we're not going to have a water hookup for several months, I had to pay the water bill this year.  The water is done all together with the whole neighborhood, which is weird.  What a way to totally discourage efficient use of water.  I was even torn between two different toilet models-- one that was pretty, and one that was normal but had dual-flush technology so you could use less water when you peed-- but decided to go for the prettier, more expensive one (which is also a water saver, but just without dual flush) because I knew no matter what I did it would cost the same.  (Shh... don't make me give up my tree-hugger creds!)  Regardless, $750 a year for water and sewer service; it's about what we pay here, but we don't have to pay it up front.  $60 or so a month just feels a lot better than a whole big chunk of change, just for water!  (I also had to explain to Isaac today that, yes, we pay for water.  His response?  "How do they do that?")


Finished the game of phone tag with PEPCO this morning (Friday 3/16)!  A guy named Scott said that it won't be as simple as turning on new service, since the house has never had its own meter before.  (That's why the computers didn't recognize the address.)  We have to submit plans to them first, which Rory's going to do next week.  Better still, Scott gave me his email address, so no more phone tag; Excellent!  Scott asked us to find out whether the windmill has a meter, to see if he can tell how they went about things and mirror it for us; if anyone out there would be so kind as to find out if they have one, and what it's number is (located below the bar code), we'd be much obliged!  

So at least we do have a little progress before the end of the week.  Rory was on vacation this week, but is back now, so we'll be getting a schedule soon for the next bunch of projects.  Can't wait!

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