Proposed PSC rule requires human contact

Published 3:34 am Sunday, October 5, 2008

Public Service Commission members want utilities to drop computerized answering systems and put a real human in place to answer customers’ calls.

The commissioners say the proposed new rule would apply when customers visit the offices of utility companies or to pay their utility bill or when they call the utility.

The proposal still faces public comment and review before a final vote by the commission.

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Commissioners say the proposal is in part a response to Atmos Energy’s decision earlier this year to do away with human customer service at its local offices.

They say many customers are intimidated by the automated systems and machines and may end up paying charges that they question or feel they don’t owe.