Dear National Grid,
I am a paying customer of yours, partaking in both your electrical and natural gas services. If I had any choice at all in the matter, I would get a waterwheel and tell you to go screw yourselves. My electric bill DirectPay option is set up to withdraw from an account that I no longer replenish. So, the well has finally runneth dry and I need to change my payment options. Because National Grid swallowed up the company that used to provide my electric services, I went to your website to reset my payment options. Apparently the natural gas and electric divisions of the company are separate, and to inconvenience me in the maximum amount possible, you use separate account numbers to represent the different services even though they are for the same customer. Thanks so much for that.
So, I have my account information for my natural gas billing, because I receive monthly email statements. My electric bill is also supposed to be paperless, but I never receive them. So, I just have my account direct-pay and hope that you don't overcharge me. Such is my faith in the goodness of man, and my laziness about resetting any options. Unfortunately recently my outdated account became overdrawn as my electric bills have finally used up all the money. So, I need to reset the directpay to draw from a different account. Enter me putting my fist through a wall.
I come home today with the intention of accomplishing Operation Directpay Reset. I go to the national grid website. Of course I don't remember any of my login information- or what I thought the information was, it wasn't. So, I go to the "Forgot password" form. Apparently my username is incorrect. So I go to the "Forgot username" form. It asks me to enter my email address affiliated with the account. I do and it says that "Email addresses should be in the form firstname.lastname@example.org". Umm...duh? I know what an effing email address looks like...and furthermore, I know what MY email address looks like. So, obviously, your company has no idea that I exist...probably a remnant of your hostile takeover of my former provider.
I have no choice but to call the company. I know it's not going to be pleasant, I know it's going to take forever, but it has to be done. Because overdraft charges suck. So, I call. First I have to listen to a 5 minute announcement about a power outage that doesn't apply to my area. Fine. Then we get to the automated operator. He reads a menu, I choose an option. He reads another menu, I choose another option. I have to listen to 4 different scripts before the phone starts ringing. At this point, I'm informed that all operators are (shockingly) busy assisting other customers, but they have this great system where they'll call ME back when they're ready. Great. Sign me up. I enter my information and wait 20 minutes for a call back. Which is fine because honestly this game is like crack.
When the phone finally rings, it's another automated operator. "We're calling for...(recording of me saying my name). Please press 1 when this person is on the line." I immediately press 1, and I kid you not am placed on hold. The old familiar sound of "All operators are busy assisting other customers, but your call is important to us. Please stay on the line." Didn't I have you call me so I didn't have to listen to this?!? The phone finally rings through to an operator and all of a sudden the line is dead. Dead. I was disconnected. At this point I have spent an hour trying to switch the credit card billing information on my electric bill.
So, I go back to the website. I try alternate emails and passwords (even though I know which email address should work.) After 3 tries, the system locks me out. I close the window, I'm still locked out. So I have no option but to call back. I call and again hear the message about the power outage. No amount of button mashing will get me around it. I again get the automated menu. I swear and yell in the hopes that you have one of those systems that recognizes when the caller is pissed. Apparently you do because the automated guy apologizes to me and immediately puts me on the phone with a person in billing.
Billing makes sense, right? I'm trying to update my automated BILLING option. I want to give you money. Payments and billing should be the right people, if your company made any sense. But it doesn't. On the other end of the line was the loudest woman in the world, totally pissed that I didn't have my account number ready.
Billing Lady: "You don't know your account number?"
Me: "I know my gas account number, I don't know my electric because I do online statements and I can't access my account."
Billing Lady: "Those are totally separate accounts."
Me: "Okay, so what do we do?"
Billing Lady: "What's your social?"
So she finds my account and then asks me what I need. I tell her I need to update my DirectPay.
Billing Lady: "Oh! That's customer service. Customer service does that. We don't do that. Your account number is 123455432324 (spouted off quickly without even asking whether I had paper and pen handy, which I didn't), call the 800 number then option 2 then option 4."
Does she offer to transfer me? Does she help me in any way? Of course not...God forbid the payment department have anything to do with helping you make a payment.
I called back, listened to the outage message, hit 2 and then 4, ended up having to listen to the menu anyway because hitting numbers didn't get me to the right place. I eventually screamed "CUSTOMER SERVICE" and a couple f-bombs and was placed on hold for a representative. I didn't opt to have them call me back because that obviously is a ploy. When given my estimated 20 minute wait time on the phone, I took into consideration the fact that my next payment wasn't to be deducted until February and decided to give the blood vessel in my forehead a break. After 10 minutes on hold, I hung up and screamed into a pillow.
I guess I'll call back tomorrow. Or stop using electricity. Because seriously, I hate your company.
Thanks for nothing,