I am writing because People's Gas, of which Integrys is the parent company, is acting with discrimination and extreme prejudice, as displayed by the actions of its employees, to an LGBT family in Chicago with regards to resolving and providing heat and
hot water: essential living utilities.
Here are the facts of the case:
On Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012, there was a fire at the property on 3258 South Hamilton Avenue, Chicago, IL 60608. The carriage house that my family rents was adjacent to that property and was relatively undamaged by the fire.
On Thursday, October 4th, 2012 People's Gas terminated the gas supply to both properties claiming that the fire caused a gas leak.
Between October 4th and October 12th, 2012, the contractor for my landlord's insurance company, Unlimited Fire and Restoration Board Up, attempted to initiate repairs on the gas line.
Having no place to go, my wife and I remained in the apartment with no heat or hot water, despite low temperatures that week dipping to 36 degrees Fahrenheit and lower. We were promised that People's Gas would be returning the gas supply to us by Tuesday October 9th and, when that did not occur, by Friday October 12th, 2012. The contractor claimed that they attempted to contact People's Gas on four separate occasions. Their calls were not returned. When representatives from People's Gas did finally visit the property on Wednesday October 10th, 2012 and my wife and I attempted to ask them questions about whether the gas service was to be turned on. We were met with disdain from the employees, one of whom just scowled at our
appearance and refused to communicate.
On Wednesday, October 12th, representatives from People's Gas indicated that there was now an underground gas leak that only they could fix. They informed the contractor that they would be at the property on Friday October 12th at 10:00 am to initiate said repairs. The contractor assured us that People's Gas would honor their appointment and that we would have heat and hot water by the end of that day.
On the afternoon of Thursday, October 11th, I received a terse phone call from a woman named Blanca at People's Gas- Gas Operations Department informing me that no repairs would be commenced without a permit from the city of Chicago, which
would take a minimum of five to seven business days. When I challenged her as to what my family and I were supposed to do in the meantime, having suffered though no heat or hot water for the past seven days, I was told to contact Customer Service. I did so and was met with similar scorn for our situation. At this point, I informed the Customer Service operator that I would be filing a complaint with the ICC and contacting an attorney.
On Friday, October 12th, 2012 a representative from People's Gas met with the contractor at the property on 3258 South Hamilton Avenue and, claiming that I had threatened to sue, carried a number of legal documents with him.
He informed the contractor that he believed it would actually take a minimum of three months for repairs to be initiated and completed through People's Gas.
I have further been informed by my landlord that, his attempts to contact People's Gas met with no success, the file for my apartment and my family having been 'lost' by People's Gas on several occasions.
While my wife and I have been left with little choice but to terminate our lease and find an alternative place to live, we cannot conceivably find said apartment, sign a lease and move within the next two to three weeks. People's Gas, in the meantime, have left us with two choices:
- Live in a home with no heat and hot water in low temperatures expected to drop over the coming two weeks.
- Be homeless
I have been a People's Gas customer since 2007. Never once did I fail to pay my bill on time and in the full amount requested.
I submit that People's Gas has treated my family with aversion and contempt - both in our choices of lifestyle and the dangerous living situation we find ourselves in.
I further submit that People's Gas has refused, either through absolute negligence or owing to discrimination on behalf of its employees, refused to consistently communicate with either with my family or the contractor looking to resolve a most urgent issue.
I intend to hold People's gas wholly responsible for any and all health problems my family may suffer in the coming weeks, until we can relocate to a new apartment, owing to the fact that they refuse to provide us with the basic necessities of living and the colder temperatures.