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Utility department survey?

Original post made by PA Questions&Comments, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 26, 2007

Yesterday, received automated telephone questionaire from City of PA Utilities with list of Q.s requiring Yes or No answers. Although I usually hang up on automated messages,and will ever after, in a spirit of cooperation I participated in this inquiry up to the point when I began to wonder what the purpose of the questions was. Did the questions, and my taped answers, represent a community service dispensing safety information or was it part of the development of a data base in which our household would be included without our informed consent?

The Q.s were of the safety genre, followed by answers and/or Do You Understand modes. Do you know what leaking gas smells and sounds like; that you're required to check where utility lines are before you dig; etc. In other words, if some future problem with these surfaced, Utilities, or perhaps even an insurance company, could conceivably begin, and end, with your household's data entry.

Earlier in the year when I added my name to that of my husband's on our Utility record, I was asked for my social security number. When I demurred, I was told that it was required and that the city was entitled to it. Why? Is this true? Privacy issues? If you have ans...

Comments (5)

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Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 26, 2007 at 5:24 pm

I got the call also. Did you notice that the call originated from Virginia?
I also thought that there was a law in California that a live person had to answer your call before the taped portion could start

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on May 26, 2007 at 7:35 pm

I always suspect call where they pronounce it Paly Alto.

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Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 26, 2007 at 9:43 pm

I've been told that very often these surveys are contracted out by the surveying companies to prisons where honor inmates do the calling and early a small amount for each call. What I'd like to know is - who ordred this survey and WHAT is it costing the City of Palo Alto - and WHAT are they trying to find out?

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Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 26, 2007 at 10:33 pm

I agree with you, Walter. Sounds like the same bunch who did the survey for the library bond vs. the public safety bond vs. both - issue a few months back. "Paly Alto" with a southern accent.

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Posted by A resident
a resident of Midtown
on May 27, 2007 at 8:18 am

I got the call too and naively thought it actually came from our Utility Department, now I'm not sure. Anyway when they didn't like my answers to their questions and repeated them over and over, I hung up.

How annoying of them to call as I'm preparing dinner on a Friday eveing, and since it's Memorial Day weekend, I can't check with the Utility Department 'till next Tuesday.

My opinion of our Utility Department continues to decline.

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