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Public works that work well
Old 11-16-2018, 01:29 PM   #1
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Public works that work well

Coming back from running some errands this afternoon I heard a swishing sound in the front yard. I walked over to the water main, removed the cement cover and sure enough, saw a leak - water spraying everywhere. Crap. Friday afternoon, grandkids flying in this weekend. It could not be worse timing.

I called the water utility at 2:05 to report the leak. At 2:48 the utility repair crew rang the front door bell to let me know they had arrived and were shutting off the water. They replaced a valve, a handle, washers. At 3:07 they drove off, water main fixed.

We love to complain, but sometimes we are well served by our public services.
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Old 11-16-2018, 01:35 PM   #2
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^ very true.
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Old 11-16-2018, 02:00 PM   #3
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I recently had a great experience with our local public electrical utility. I was changing out the breaker box on a Saturday and I arranged for them to swing by it the morning and disconnect the meter, then in the afternoon to reconnect the power, even though I'd not had a electrical inspection on the installation yet. No charges and no forms to sign, just did the job and left.


Similarly, a contractor broke the main gas line and the gas utility sent a guy out to turn off everyone's meter until it was fixed, then once fixed, the same guy re-lit every pilot light and checked over all the gas appliances for any obvious issues.
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Old 11-16-2018, 02:04 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
We love to complain,
There's the youbet "understatement of the day" award winner! Your award is in the mail.

And congrats on receiving the excellent service from your municipal water dept! Our suburb works pretty well in that regard too, thankfully.
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Old 11-16-2018, 02:52 PM   #5
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Coming back from running some errands this afternoon I heard a swishing sound in the front yard.
Whatever errands you were doing were probably not on your "preferred" list before, but they definitely should be now!

Great story!
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Old 11-16-2018, 03:15 PM   #6
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What a coincidence, and how lucky you were that the leak was on the water companies side.

A few weeks ago the phone rings one afternoon. I almost didn't pick it up since I didn't recognize the caller ID. However, I answered it. You guess it. It was the water meter reader telling me I have a water leak. I walked down the road to meet him and look at the leak. Sure enough there was a small but steady spray. (about 6 inches on my side of the meter and hidden by the water enclosure box).

I was able to fix it in about 30 minutes with spare parts I had at the house. I thought that was nice of him to take the time to find my phone number and give me call to let me know since I may not have noticed it for a good while. That is until I got my monthly water bill that was 4 times the normal amount.
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Old 11-16-2018, 03:57 PM   #7
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OP are we allowed to tell stories about public works that don't work or is this a feel good thread
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Old 11-16-2018, 04:00 PM   #8
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I was very happy we did not lose running water during Hurricane Sandy.


I had filled up the bathtub just in case for flushing the toilet, and stored up several gallons of drinking water.
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Old 11-16-2018, 04:24 PM   #9
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Gas company detected a leak at the meter (scheduled audit) and replaced the meter. Gas was off for 30 min. Tech checked all gas appliances and relit 2 pilot.
When the gas bill arrived, they billed me for 15 months worth of usage. I wouldíve thought their system would flag a problem (Ripley function). Several phone calls and long waits later the issue a credit for the over bill but they are still using an errant meter reading to calculate usage. I offered the manual readings Iíve been taking but so far they just ignore the offer. I donít know exactly how the WiFi smart meters work but Iím convinced they are using a signal from someone elseís meter. Should be interesting.
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Old 11-16-2018, 04:47 PM   #10
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Gas company detected a leak at the meter (scheduled audit) and replaced the meter. Gas was off for 30 min. Tech checked all gas appliances and relit 2 pilot.
When the gas bill arrived, they billed me for 15 months worth of usage. I wouldíve thought their system would flag a problem (Ripley function). Several phone calls and long waits later the issue a credit for the over bill but they are still using an
errant meter reading to calculate usage. I offered the manual readings Iíve been taking but so far they just ignore the offer. I donít know exactly how the WiFi smart meters work but Iím convinced they are using a signal from someone elseís meter. Should be interesting.
Modern life is almost too complicated to be borne.

I am beginning to think that the best retirement might be to rent almost everything you need, and be strict about what you consider a need.

But renting a home or apartment is usually not very appealing here in a big west coast city, because owning just seems like opening one's pockets to allow the money to fall in. Decisions, decisions!

Ha
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Old 11-16-2018, 06:52 PM   #11
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The few times I've had to call our water company, they've been over the top with service. I think it's because they're too small to develop a real bureaucracy.
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Old 11-16-2018, 06:54 PM   #12
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Our city water utility was very prompt when we uttered the magic word “leak”. It’s a municipal water district too.
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Old 11-16-2018, 08:32 PM   #13
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Coming back from running some errands this afternoon I heard a swishing sound in the front yard. I walked over to the water main, removed the cement cover and sure enough, saw a leak - water spraying everywhere. Crap. Friday afternoon, grandkids flying in this weekend. It could not be worse timing.

I called the water utility at 2:05 to report the leak. At 2:48 the utility repair crew rang the front door bell to let me know they had arrived and were shutting off the water. They replaced a valve, a handle, washers. At 3:07 they drove off, water main fixed.

We love to complain, but sometimes we are well served by our public services.
Wow!!! Terrific service! Very impressive.
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Old 11-16-2018, 10:08 PM   #14
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Yep - the public works folks are quite a godsend when things go bad. They helped me out dozens of times on work related issues. Utility fixes, street issues, etc.
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Old 11-17-2018, 08:17 AM   #15
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Nice to hear about the good service.
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Old 11-17-2018, 08:26 AM   #16
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+15. If we're going to complain about people/groups, we should acknowledge their successes too. Great example OP, I would have been very pleased too.
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Old 11-17-2018, 08:48 AM   #17
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I got hit with a $400+ water bill last month. Couldn't find any leaks anywhere. Called our water dept., and they said we now have computerized water meters. The problem was in my yard sprinkling system coming on in the middle of the night using mega amounts of water. They could even tell me the days and hours it was running.

I wondered why my yard looks so good. I unplugged the water system immediately, however.
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Old 11-17-2018, 09:07 AM   #18
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Yes, some of our public works and public service departments do an outstanding job, and often under tough circumstances.

I think it's just human nature to complain louder than we praise. After all, a bad situation is often worse for us than a good situation is beneficial. So the bad things raise alarms. Goes back to caveman days ( 'Grug died after drinking that water - bad water!' versus ' 'Hmmm, these berries are exceptionally good today!')

It's one of the reasons I'd like to see a "right-sized" government. We need them to be exceptional when it comes to infrastructure, defense, public safety, etc. So focus on those things and do them well, and stay out of everything else, please!

But just like a business tries to grow, government tries to grow as well. It's hard to stop.

-ERD50
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Old 11-18-2018, 10:15 AM   #19
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The tendency to complain more than praise is why I never wanted to run the Payroll Dept. No one thanks you when they get their paycheck on time and accurate, but the moment something looks wrong, people go crazy.
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Old 11-18-2018, 12:02 PM   #20
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Other than getting pulled over for speeding (back in the day) I've had some very good experiences with the responsiveness and professionalism of local police - especially back in home town. About 4AM one day, someone knocked at my door from the garage. To my surprise, it was my BIL who was a local officer. The garage door was up and thus open to my house. BIL (and other local officers) knew that garage door was ALWAYS closed at night so they stopped to let me know. Wild guess is that a spurious signal had opened it. What service! YMMV
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