[RFI] Working with the Power Company (was: Privileged treatment)

Thu Feb 11 17:54:34 PST 2010

Some misc notes on how to deal with customer service people in general and
rfi problems.

When dealing with customer service centers don't be afraid to:
1. ask for the supervisor
2. ask the supervisor to talk to their manager

If the above doesn't work, start over with the corporate headquarters main
number, often available on the web site for investor's corporate
information.  Going straight for the ceo will sometimes land you with a
helpful troubleshooting assistant who knows who to contact to get you out of
their hair.  Don't be afraid to drop names of our new amateur radio fcc
person and point out you are a member of the arrl who maintains contact with
the fcc.  

When talking to someone who seems technically challenged about electrical
distribution use key words like 'arcing' or 'buzzing', that will often get
more attention than 'radio noise' or 'interference'.  

If you can hear the noise on an AM or FM broadcast radio be sure to point
that out.  Sometimes enlisting the support of a local radio station engineer
helps to get to the right person, interfering with commercial broadcasts
sometimes gets more attention than amateur radio does.  If it can be heard
at vhf frequencies point out that it is interfering with police, fire, or
aircraft frequencies.  TV interference used to be good, but I'm not sure how
good that would be with digital broadcasts now.

If you get to a manager who is at least partially knowledgeable try pointing
out that if you can hear a noise, especially if it has recently started or
is getting worse, that they are losing money due to high voltage leakage
currents.  You can also point out that if the noise is getting worse that
something is getting ready to break down and you are afraid of an outage.
Insulator leakage bad enough to cause rfi, or loose hardware that causes it,
can result in fires or equipment damage over time.  Catching it early can
prevent further damage and save the utility money.

Write letters or send email... be sure to always cc the arrl, puc,  and fcc
amateur enforcement offices.  While they may not pay attention right away,
it lets the recipient know that you know who to go to next and creates a
paper trail.  SAVE COPIES!  If you do need to elevate it to another agency
it helps to know how long and how many contacts you have attempted.  

David Robbins K1TTT
e-mail: mailto:k1ttt at arrl.net
web: http://www.k1ttt.net
AR-Cluster node: 145.69MHz or telnet://dxc.k1ttt.net

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jon D. Garner [mailto:garnerj at bellsouth.net]
> Sent: Friday, February 12, 2010 01:23
> To: rfi at contesting.com; garnerj at bellsouth.net
> Subject: Re: [RFI] Working with the Power Company (was: Privileged
> treatment)
> Oh and BTW;
> I hade been a lurking obverver for 2 yrs here so...
> all the helpful suggestions had already been fallowed long ago.
> Had meant to provide an exact description as what has alread been done.
> then ask for contacts with-in FP&L.
> None have been forthcomeing.
> It really appears that the only way to move forward now is to tackle the
> phone-trees again.
> Pain, frustration and wasted time here I come.
> someone wrote:
> 1.  Narrowed it down to a single pole, and took down the pole number.
> 2.  Called the guy and gave him the information, asking if it was OK to
> short-circuit the system.
> 3.  Went out with him and demonstrated the noise was indeed coming from
> that pole.
> 4.  Stayed out there while they worked, meanwhile chatting with the
> engineer.
> 5.  Thanked them profusely when things were fixed.
> ......
> done did done did.
> All the correct and precise information I attempted to pass thru ther 800
> number.
> Only to be sent someone who wasn't equiped to deal with all the problem
> wasn't knowledgable.
> .
> A short description of the phone-tree system at FP&L as told by a
> employee.
> Bauble and trinkets and awards parties are held each week for the person
> who prscesses
> the largest number of calls the previous week.  There is no incentive to
> get the usefull information from the customer only to be quick.
> Admonishments are handed out for answering too many questions,
> or takeing too much time.
> Some are just literate. And some he really though were dumb as bricks.
> When said employee tried to point out the importance of getting all the
> information
> at one training session he was overruled by upper management.
> This here illustrates just why it's often very hard to get RFI resolved.
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