Furnace Failure Means a Difficult Winter Until Foundation Offers Family Aid

Furnace Failure Means a Difficult Winter Until Foundation Offers Family Aid

Anita I. and her family had to be innovative to survive a winter after experiencing a furnace failure in their Dunbar, West Virginia, home.  

Anita placed small heaters in bedrooms and the living room, but the electric system in the home couldn’t handle any more, leaving other parts of the home, such as the kitchen, unheated during one of the coldest winters in nearly a decade. 

“No matter how I moved them around, there was no power to heat the kitchen,” Anita said.  

Heating the home that she shares with several of her grandchildren with space heaters was also anxiety-inducing for Anita, despite having no heat because of the furnace failure. 

“I was so scared that the house was going to catch on fire,” she said. “I didn’t sleep well at all. I was constantly getting up in the middle of the night to check on them.”  

Additionally, because her furnace failure, her home got so cold that her water lines froze six times.  

“We had no water at all – thank God that it didn’t last for days at a time,” she said. “We kept bottled water for the kids to drink, and we got smart and would plug up the sinks to keep enough water to flush the toilet and tried to be inventive. We would pray for it to warm up, because we didn’t have water anywhere in the house.”  

Anita was dreading the prospect of facing another winter without heat, little sleep and freezing pipes because. 

“My daughter and I have been praying,” she said. “We called in a company, and they said it would cost $6,000 to fix our heater, and there was no way I to come up with that money. I just started thinking: how can I go through another winter like this?” 

Then, Anita’s daughter spotted an article online about the HomeServe Cares Foundation, the charitable arm of HomeServe North America. Among other community outreach projects, the Foundation provides free emergency home repairs to qualifying homeowners that address safety and sanitary issues or improve quality of life. Anita and her daughter reached out to the Foundation for help, and Tamara (Tammy) Gross, a HomeServe customer experience specialist, was assigned to assist them. 

“Tammy made me feel so wonderful,” Anita said. “I didn’t want to feel like I was begging, and she didn’t make me feel that way.” 

Tammy connected Anita with McAtee Plumbing Heating and Cooling, a contractor with whom HomeServe regularly works, and a technician was sent out to evaluate her furnace failure. They found that the unit was over 30 years old, and it would be unsafe to repair it, so it would have to be replaced.  

“The first gentleman who came out to check and see if it was repairable, as he was leaving the house, I told him, ‘Please pray that it goes through,’ and he just gave me the biggest smile and said he sure would. The young men they sent out were very respectful.” 

The Foundation agreed with the assessment that the furnace needed to be replaced and covered the entire $3,100 cost of parts and labor. 

“God has to have his hands over your company, because I am in awe over what you did for me,” Anita said. “You were such a blessing to me and my family. I thank God for you and call you angels because you are angels to me. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but now I’ll be able to sleep at night.”  

To learn how you can help your members avoid furnace failure and get a good night’s sleep, contact us.

Tech Protection Provides New Avenue for Engagement for Coops

Tech Protection Provides New Avenue for Engagement for Coops

A New Offering for Utilities to Increase Customer Engagement and Satisfaction

Norwalk, Connecticut – Engaging customers is a challenge for cooperatives, especially renters and low-and moderate-income homeowners because they may not need or be able to afford traditional energy-efficiency programs that are more widely adopted by other customer segments. One thing all groups have in common is that they own one – or more – smart phones, tablets, computers, and televisions. These devices are essential for people to stay connected to family, friends, work, education, entertainment and more, so when they malfunction or are damaged, it can be a major disrupter of daily life.

New Engagement Opportunity for Coops

That’s why HomeServe launched HomeServe Tech Protection, a first-of-its-kind multi-device protection plan that includes smartphone coverage to be available only through coops, enabling utilities to expand their customer engagement with a value proposition of interest to all customer segments. Through HomeServe Tech Protection, coops can provide a solution that solves common problems for any customer with an affordable plan that covers all their essential devices.

“We know that approximately two-thirds of consumers would prefer to have one plan that protects their mobile phones with their other important connected devices, yet manufacturers, wireless carriers and retailer plans haven’t fully addressed this customer need with an affordable solution. The Tech Protection plan, offered through our coop partners, covers all mobile phones and tablets, computers and TVs within a customer’s home for one attractive price point,” explained Luis Quiroga, HomeServe’s SVP of Product. “By expanding the HomeServe customer promise into the connected device category, we are enabling utilities to expand into new customer segments with a convenient, money-saving option to keep their customers connected and engaged. We are thrilled to now be in market with the Tech Protection program with seven of our partners, and we look forward to expanding in the coming months.”

HomeServe Tech Protection has launched with seven of the company’s partners in select territories. Program availability will continue to roll out to additional markets in the coming months. By making HomeServe Tech Protection plans available to both homeowners and renters, coops can bring a valuable new service to help their customers fill a void in available coverage for the electronic devices they use most frequently and, as a result, increase customer satisfaction.

Affordable and Easy

Plans start at $11.99 a month, provide unlimited claims up $3,000 per year on any three covered devices, new or used, and include a 90-day guarantee on covered repairs. Instead of having to purchase individual coverage for each device, a single plan covers all smartphones, TVs, tablets and computers against the most common types of damage, including drops, cracks and spills. Also covered are normal wear and tear, electrical surge damage, and malfunctions due to defects.

And the claims submission and repair processes are easy. Customers with a plan can quickly submit a claim online and can get repairs made multiple ways: at one of over 1,300 local affiliate repair storefronts, by mailing smaller devices into a repair depot, or in-home for larger devices like flat screen TVs.

Utilities interested in learning more about how HomeServe Tech Protection can help expand their customer value can visit our Tech Protection site.