Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Austin Energy - Travis County Services Fall Short

Two recent encounters with our local government fall short on customer service and make me wonder how people can think that government-run health care could ever be the answer to any question, except "What's the most stupid thing you could ever think of?"

Encounter 1 -- In my work on the Board of a park association I'm trying to gain restitution from a young person who backed into a security gate causing $2,000+ in damage. The young man, 24, didn't have liability insurance and doesn't have the means to pay for the gate, allegedly. Although he does have the means to drive around our neighborhood all day in his truck. I can't figure out what he does for a living. Anyway, we filed charges against him for criminal mischief and he was arrested on a felony warrant. The charges were reduced because he did not 'intend' damage to our security gate. And I agree with that. However, he should not have been on our park's private property, he should have liability insurance and he should be making some sort of payment to us for restitution. There are still lesser charges against him and I tried to call the Victim Witness at Travis County to make that case. 854-9415. Good luck. The phone system there is the most user-unfriendly system there is. Except maybe for Austin Energy. See Encounter 2.

Encounter 2 -- We've had the misfortune lately of experiencing power outages in our neighborhood and my wife tried to call Austin Energy to report it. Again, Good luck. Their main phone line rings and rings and rings, but no one answers. Ever. No message. No press 1 for Spanish. Nothing. I guess they will be handling customer intake for ObamaCare. In all fairness though, our power was restored in both cases within three hours, so at least they are doing something -- because they're not answering the phone.

So, if you're a victim of a crime or need electricity in Travis County, don't bother calling.

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