Even utilities can excel at service

I had a most delightful experience with my water company which shows even monopolies can still exhibit excellent service. But it didn’t start out that way.

A few months ago I had a water bill that was four times normal. I immediately called the water bill and within a week they sent out two seasoned workers to isolate the problem. After 30 minutes of poking my front yard, they determined I had a broken irrigation pipe.

I promptly called my landscape contractor, and he came over within a week. He discovered it was not a broken pipe, but a valve had been left on, watering my yard 24/7 for over a month. Ugh!

The water company sent me a follow up saying I could apply for a “courtesy refund.” I did. I was called and told I didn’t qualify. Okay. I can understand that.

A few weeks later I got another call from the water company by a different person. She asked me to elaborate what was on my refund application, which I did. She was chagrined that her two veteran employees had misdiagnosed the problem, resulting in another week’s leakage. She thought the solution was so simple, these workers should have figured it out within a few minutes. Their failure to do so resulted in my continuing to have the leak, and a higher bill.

She decided to refund me for the month’s higher water bill!


I hadn’t really expected anything since the valve was my fault, as my regular yard maintenance guy turned it and I watched. Both of us thought it was the right thing to do at the time. Obviously, we were wrong.

So I appreciated the customer service reps diligence and compassion. I didn’t beg or plead with her, I just gave her the facts. And she went beyond my expectations.

Now that’s excellent service!

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