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A soldier wants to be heard

Post by News Tribune Staff on Nov. 30, 2007 at 10:48 am with No Comments »
November 30, 2007 10:48 am

And so:

To the editor,

Veteran’s Day is once a year. It is a day when, as a nation, we thank those who’ve served, risked, and sacrificed. It has recently come and gone. And with the passing of that day, the temporal heightened acknowledgment has passed as well.

I deployed for Iraq on July 1, 2006. Prior to leaving, I had lived in a small, one bedroom apartment in Lakewood that required little upkeep and little expense. I paid my bills on time and was a bother to no one. So as I left for Baghdad, I thought all loose ends were wrapped up. However, I had forgotten to call Tacoma Power to notify them that I was moving and to settle my final bill of $11.

I returned from Iraq two months ago and moved into a rental outside the reach of Tacoma Power. In the past two weeks, I’ve moved near downtown Tacoma and had to reinstate my account with Tacoma Power. When I called, I was surprised to hear that I had an outstanding balance of $65. Yeah, $65. That’s the original balance of $11 plus 16 months of interest. I told Tacoma Power that I had been deployed during that time, that I was and still am in the Army and that I was serving in Iraq. Didn’t matter. They were committed to collecting a profit. $65. That’s what it’ll take to transfer power to my new place.

Years ago, long before I or maybe even my father was born, service to our country was revered and respected. A company who sought to profit 500% on a soldier’s forgotten bill would have immediately been publicly chastised. However, this simply isn’t the case today. I’m going to send in my check so that I will continue to have power and to avoid the hassle of a fight. But I’m angry…

So I’d like to simply say thanks. Thank you Tacoma Power for reminding me that Veteran’s Day is only once a year.

Dan Futrell

UPDATE: Tacoma Public Utilities spokeswoman Chris Gleason says she took the matter to the customer service department, who called Lt. Futrell this afternoon to let him know they were reversing the interest charges.

“Our policies are pretty clear but this was an unusual situation,” Gleason said.

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