RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Hurricane Irene may no longer have folks in the dark, but many of you are calling 12 about cable, phone and Internet outages. The complaints range from Comcast to Verizon services.
There's no way to know how many customers are still without cable, phone and Internet in metro Richmond. That's because both Comcast and Verizon will not answer that question, telling us there's no measurable way to know, but we are hearing from you through calls, emails even Twitter, that services are still out.
The lights may be back, but for Brenda Richmond, static is the only thing on her TV. It's been this way for 17 days and counting.
"I was very very frustrated until we went out and bought the rabbit ears just to get the local channels," said Richmond.
The wishes her phone would make a dial tone. She has no Internet either. She calls Comcast daily.
"We get a different answer every time we call," Richmond said. "One time they'll say, 'well, we aren't showing that you don't have service,' and then another time they'll say, 'well, we're going to have someone out there by a certain time tomorrow or today,' and they never show up."
We heard the same story from a Verizon customer Tuesday. The State Corporation Commission regulates phone land lines and says in the last week they're averaging 30 complaints a day. As for cable, broadband, and wireless providers, the SCC has no authority. Those companies are considered competitive services and are not regulated by the government.
That means your complaints only go as far as the company. And it's up to you to decide if you like the way they are handling your service, or you want to switch to another provider.
"I don't understand if they're a company, a large company, why they don't want to service their customers," said Brenda Richmond.
If your phone service is still out from Irene, (land lines not cell phones) you can complain to the State Corporation Commission at 1-800-552-7945. And we have heard of people having results after making a call to this agency.
As for cable? Again, there is no regulatory agency to call, but be sure to ask your provider to pro-rate your bill. Both Verizon and Comcast say they are doing this on a case by case basis.
Statement from Verizon:
Overall, Verizon's land line network performed well. We didn't experience any major problems as a result of Hurricane Irene. Water and wind damaged some of our facilities. Our teams of technicians were out assessing the damage and making repairs as they were able to gain access. Many of our facilities were on backup generators or batteries until commercial power was restored. This enabled us to provide land line phone service even though the power was out in some areas. Some utility poles and wires also were down in the Potomac and mid-Atlantic region. But, other than that, we faired pretty well. As you may know, if a customer is using a cordless phone and he/she loses power, then that customer will not have phone service. That's why we encourage people to have a phone in the home (or office) that plugs into a jack. So, when the power goes out, these customers still can make and receive phone calls. I don't have total numbers of customers out of service in a given area or specific estimated restoration times. For the most part, we've been dealing with some scattered outages and restoration depends on the customer issue. Of course, our goal is always to restore service to our customers as quickly and safely as possible. If customers are having a problem with their Verizon service, they should call 1-800-VERIZON to let us know. Reimbursements for lost service are handled on a case-by-case basis.
Verizon Public Relations
Statement from Comcast:
The vast majority of issues had been directly related to commercial power outages and, for most customers, service was restored as power came back on in their neighborhoods following the storm. Given the severity of the storm, we also saw some more extensive damage caused by fallen trees, poles and flooding that has taken longer to repair. We have had thousands of employees working across the footprint to assess and repair damage in impacted areas as they have been provided clearance that it's safe to do so. Thanks to the tireless work of our employees, many of whom were personally affected by the storm, we've made tremendous progress, and appreciate our customers' patience and understanding. For any customer who might still be experiencing issues with their service, they can call 1-800-COMCAST.