Corporate Greed By PG&E Killed My Friend’s Family And My Credit Score
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), your San Bruno gas pipeline blast killed my friend’s wife of over 20 years and his daughter in 2010. Thousands of people depend on you for energy to heat their homes and cook their food. How can you let this negligence happen? Is this a case of profits before safety? What the hell.
We have been silently grieving for the past two years, and we were healing until I get a notification from my refinance bank that you guys screwed me on my credit score due to a $7 late payment from 2009 which was never sent to my correct address.
The $7 late payment, as later explained to me was due to a “landlord service continuation fee” where I take over all PG&E charges between the time my tenants vacate the property and when a new tenant arrives. News to me guys.
PG&E TOO LAZY TO DO THE RIGHT THING
The penalty for my $7 late payment, popped up only in January of 2012 and crushed my credit score by 100 points according to one of the big three credit agencies. Are you kidding me? When I ask you what happened, you said that you sent notifications over mail and hired an internal collection agency to hunt me down.
Obviously, you guys are lazy as hell because the mailing address you sent returned your $7 invoice multiple times because I had moved offices. Right there, that should be an indication that I am not there!
If you wanted to reach me, why don’t you just call my mobile phone #, which has been in your records for the past 10 years! How hard is it to call my number and ask for payment?
Finally, why don’t you just send the $7 bill to the very address that the power is supposedly being consumed? My new tenants would have simply let me know or forwarded me the bill within 30 days!
You didn’t bother to call because you didn’t want to spend your effort and resources to try and collect a $7 bill. I know it costs you money to hire a collection agency. Instead, you would rather take the easy route and just report my “delinquent bill” to the credit agency so that years down the road, I will call in and pay after my credit score gets smashed.
PG&E , PLEASE THINK ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMERS FIRST
Please stop taking the easy route for profits PG&E. Think about your customers before your profits. Maintain your pipelines and stop being delinquent to save some money. $70 million in restitution for the eight people who died is not enough because there are thousands more people who are worried when the next explosion will occur. Spend whatever you can to upgrade your damn pipelines and do your job! Don’t try and pass off the upgrade costs to your customers as noted in a February, 2012 statement.
You guys are a shame.
Your former CEO in 2010, Peter Darbee made $7.34 million during the year of the blast. Are you serious? Your new CEO, Anthony Earley is expected to make a similar amount of money. How about doing the right thing and paying your leaders nothing until all the pipelines are upgraded for the safety of your customers? How about payiing your CEO’s a regular base salary and no bonus until and after you guys stop taking short cuts and hurting people’s credit scores, and finances ultimately?
When in doubt, just do the right thing!
LESSONS LEARNED WHEN DEALING WITH CORPORATE GREED
* Check your credit score annually to prevent surprises. Utility companies and many more have no problem throwing you and your credit score under the bus without giving you a legitimate chance to respond. I now have to jump through hoops to ensure that my refinance process does not get derailed. I’m probably going to spend another 2 hours calling PG&E, faxing over documents, getting PG&E to remove this oversight, which they said they will and worry what the hell due to this issue. A bad mark on your credit score stays for 7 long years if you do not get this fixed! You can check your credit score for free nowadays. I highly recommend it because of what corporates like PG&E can do to it! Just make sure to cancel within 30 days if you don’t want the service afterward. The offering above will provide credit monitoring to make sure nobody is messing with your credit.
* Make no mistake that money and more money drives action. Corporations like PG&E and other publicly traded companies have shareholders to report to. If they can cut corners to make more money, you better believe someone in that corporation is at least suggesting the proposal, even if lives and people’s finances are at stake. CEO Darbee’s $7.34 million compensation in 2010 proves this. For the online community, don’t be naive to think that Google isn’t under tremendous pressure to make more and more money with ist $210 billion market cap. Due to the law of large numbers, it gets harder to grow. They will do as many algorithm updates as possible so they can optimize their profits, unfortunately at the expense of the little guy blogger.
* The mortgage refinance process takes a brutally long time nowadays. Before the financial crisis in 2008, it took maybe 35-45 days to refinance. Now, it’s taking 90-100 days on average. 90 days is unheard of, especially since I already have my existing loan with my bank, which means they have all my information already. They say they are backed up due to purchases, which is a good sign for the economy. However, I don’t believe them. They are just being inefficient. I’ll write a whole new post on this subject.
* If you are a landlord, always call the utility company within 30 days after your tenants leave. Do not assume that your tenants have paid their bill in full. All unpaid bills by your tenants will be on your head and the utility companies have no problem screwing you as I’ve just written.
* Look out for yourself, because not many will. If you work at PG&E, please do everything you can to put pressure on your leaders to do the right thing and upgrade your miles and miles of pipelines. This post is not an indictment on the everyday people who work at PG&E. This post is aimed strictly at the key decision makers who are making the big bucks. People’s lives are at stake. Furthermore, if you work in the credit collection agency, your rules are archaic. Try harder to reach people who owe you money and stop taking short cuts! Do you really think people would sacrifice a 100 credit score hit for an $7 bill? Please try harder.
Note: The PG&E explosion occurred on Sept. 9, 2010, when a natural gas pipeline constructed in 1956 ruptured, sending a plume of fire into the neighborhood for almost 95 minutes before the gas was shut off. Eight people died, dozens were hurt and 38 homes were destroyed.
The disaster also raised fears nationally about the safety of 150,000 miles of natural gas pipelines that were built before 1970 and exempted from pressure testing, which made it difficult to assess their integrity.
Update: If you have a story about a corporation who you feel has wronged you, please shoot me an e-mail. You are free to tell your story here as doing so does make a difference. PG&E has contacted me to do everything in their situation to help. If my own resolution doesn’t go through, I will contact them and get things squared away.
Photo: PG&E San Bruno Gas Pipeline Explosion, 2010. Wikipedia.