‘What number can we reach you?’

Editor’s note: The Rappahannock News has reported that over 70 residents, many of them in Harris Hollow, are in a county government database as having either poor or no landline phone service on the heels of numerous storms in recent weeks. Problems have persisted through this week. Rappahannock County Administrator Garrey W. Curry says the county determined the outages had reached the critical stage of being a public safety concern, and as a result the Board of Supervisors has reached out to CenturyLink, Verizon, the State Corporation Commission, and elected officials in Richmond.

That said, a Harris Hollow resident, who wishes to remain anonymous (for fear his sketchy phone service could be further jeopardized), forwards to this newspaper meticulous notes of his experience with his phone company, CenturyLink, which he also submitted as part of the phone company’s survey.

“Any ammo you need to aid in attacking this bureaucratic beast will be available from any resident in Harris Hollow,” he tells us. “Please emphasize that there are many others who have ongoing problems, and in some cases, they become frustrated, and stop complaining. One resident was without any phone service for 22 days in March, when there had been no storm-related outages.”

Yesterday I responded to a CenturyLink “how did we do” survey email with the following notes:

* 5/14: Power and phone out due to thunderstorm at approximately 6 p.m.

* 5/14: Power restored at approximately 10 p.m.

* 5/15: Advised by CenturyLink in the Philippines that phone service would be restored by 5 p.m. today. No presence of repairman noted in Harris Hollow.

* 5/16: Advised by CenturyLink in the Philippines that phone service would be restored by 5 p.m. today. No presence of repairman noted in Harris Hollow.

* 5/17: Advised by Supervisor Allen in the Philippines that phones would be repaired by 6 p.m. today. No presence of repairman noted in Harris Hollow.

* 5/18: Advised by Supervisor Rae in the Philippines that phones would be repaired by 5 p.m. today. No presence of repairman noted in Harris Hollow.

* 5/18: Advised by Supervisor Jeremy in Pennsylvania that a technician would visit on 5/21 to assess the problem.

* 5/21: Visit by technician Tony from West Virginia. Informs me that equipment is obsolete and Century Link is very short staffed.

Note: Tony shared that Harris Hollow was unique because of the presence of high metal in the soil which somehow affects the phone service?

* 5/22: Phone service restored.

I also commented:

* We had a similar experience 8/19/17, which prompted our interest in presenting a petition.

* In each conversation I emphasized we have no cell service in Harris Hollow and relied on landline for emergencies.

* I contended that some folks may not have Internet so the only access to 911 would be by landline.

* If I have a fire at my house, I have to drive to the Fire Department to alert them, or email them?

* Our security system is connected to our landline.

* The CenturyLink Robo System detected no problem in the area.

* Comically, each call was prefaced with the CenturyLink contact asking at what number they could reach me?

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