PGW is a gas.

As many Philadelphians who like to stay warm in winter know, dealing with PGW is no picnic. In fact, one reporter called it “a cross between a Franz Kafka nightmare and an Alice-in-Wonderland adventure…” While the pgworks.com web site proudly proclaims itself “a financially viable enterprise providing safe, reliable gas service,” most of us know full well that nothing could be further from the truth. I do believe I discovered yet another reason the utility continues to hemorrhage money.

One of the major selling points for my current apartment was the utility setup: “No more PGW!” My personal woes with them range from the somewhat mundane misspelling of my name to the gouging bills of over $300 in a single month to heat a small one bedroom apartment kept at 68 degrees to a mistaken yet panic inducing shut-off notice. We froze all winter with the thermostat semi-affordably low. I often wore two sweaters at home and carried around a small portable electric heater.

We moved in June 2006, and I very happily shut off the gas service thinking they would invoice me for whatever I owed them. Wrong. I received one bill, made a payment and never received another bill. I knew I owed them something, so I tried calling and heard that all too familiar automated response claiming high call volume, please try at another time. I continued to send payments and waited for some kind of updated bill or invoice. Surely, any company owed money would send one, right? Wrong.

As it turns out, once you close your account with PGW they do not send you anything no matter how much you owe them. No invoice, no bill, no phone call, NOTHING. They seriously expect consumers who owe them to take the initiative, to keep calling through the busy messages, wait through the hold times and ask how much they owe. This is ridiculously laughable.

I did an extensive google search for any fax number to contact PGW. I finally found two, buried deep in PDF documents published by the PUC. I sent letters to these fax numbers a few times, and received a call back two weeks later. The woman I spoke with was very nice, but I couldn’t help but laugh. First, when she told me to log into their web site with my closed account, then when she informed me of their “We don’t send a bill” policy. I do believe I said, between giggles, “No wonder nobody pays you.”

If you’d like to send PGW a fax to try to resolve your own issues try these two numbers: (215)684-6996 and (215)684-6388. There is also a very interesting discussion thread at phillyblog.com.

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