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In a jam with your utility? Don’t rule out Facebook, Twitter

Social media isn’t just for selfies and life updates. Facebook and Twitter can help you tackle utility problems.

One Chicago couple recently took to Twitter to address a concern with Peoples Gas. Having had their heat turned off, they had made a payment to restore service. However, they reported that the utility told them getting the gas turned back on could take 10 business days. With two children, they didn’t want to wait that long, so they aired their concerns on Twitter:

@cubillinois major problems with #PeoplesGas. What can I do/ Who can I talk to? Thanks

That got the attention of CUB—and Peoples Gas. (Apparently, the utility pays attention to our Twitter page.) The utility quickly called CUB asking for help in contacting the customers. CUB then contacted the couple through Twitter, and eventually connected them to Peoples Gas.

Noting the couple’s good credit history, the gas utility reconnected their service within a day. In response, CUB received a nice email: “Thank you so much for helping my family today!”

Your first step should always be to call the company’s customer service number. However, if you don’t like the utility’s response, you can try social media. More and more utility companies have Twitter and Facebook pages that can be an effective forum for your grievance.

Remember, don’t be afraid to show how frustrated you are, but be respectful and appropriate. That gets the best results.

(Read more tips on dealing with customer service.)