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[January 02, 2013]
Newburg man to bring phone woes to commissioners
Jan 02, 2013 (The Dominion Post - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- PRESTON COUNTY COMMISSION meets at 9:30 a.m. today in the commission meeting room, behind the courthouse annex, in Kingwood.
KINGWOOD -- A Newburg man will bring his concerns about phone service to Preston County commissioners today.
Ralph Jenkins said his father-in-law, who is 87 years old, was without a landline phone for four days when a line came down in his yard. Jenkins said he called Frontier Communications about the problem and was told service could be restored as soon as that evening, but certainly within 24 hours.
Jenkins said he took the company at its word and made arrangements to have someone stay with Fred Taylor, his father-in-law, for those 24 hours. He said if he'd known it would be longer, he'd have taken Taylor to his home, where there was a working phone and someone to look after the elderly man.
It was four days before phone service was restored, Jenkins said, and he called at least twice a day.
"One day, they told me there was someone there working on the line. I was there -- nobody came." A day later, Frontier told him the repair crew wasn't able to find the home.
"I left them three contact numbers and there wasn't a missed call on any of the numbers. No one called," he said.
Once a crew did arrive, Jenkins said, the repair took them just 17 minutes.
Commission President Craig Jennings said citizens are welcome to bring their concerns to commissioners, but in this case, "I'm not sure what we can do about it. We have no oversight of Frontier whatsoever," he said.
Jenkins said he wants to talk to commissioners not only about phone-service issues and the number of senior citizens in the county who rely on landline phones, but also about power outages that have plagued the county in the aftermath of recent storms.
"Someone needs to acknowledge that we have a problem with utilities in Preston County," Jenkins said. "I'm not angry. I'm just totally frustrated." Jenkins' best course of action might be to go to the Public Service Commission, Jennings said. If there's a way county commissioners can lend support, they will, he said.
Utility companies have had their hands full in Preston County with the derecho in June and the snowstorm at the end of October, Jennings said.
"I don't know that it's fair to judge the companies on these last two storms," he said. "I'm sure they could have done some things different, but I don't think any of us expected the amount of trees that came down in these last two storms." After the Oct. 29 storm, "there was a lot of damage to electric lines and to some of our facilities," said Dan Page, spokesman for Frontier Communications. The time since the storm "has been a very busy time for us. We've been very busy getting customers back in service." Page said Taylor's service was restored as quickly as was possible. Page said it was "regrettable there was some level of miscommunication" with Jenkins about the service interruption.
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