Rant & Rave: Xcel Energy and Denver Firefighters (and Guinness)

March 22 2013, 9:00 AM

Rant: Xcel Energy

Imagine this scenario: You walk downstairs in your house and you're hit with a wall of foul-smelling natural gas. A knob on the stove is broken and gas is spewing out of the burner. There's obviously a problem, so what do you do?

I can tell you what I did. I followed Xcel Energy's safety plan, which entails getting out of the house and calling Xcel's emergency line. All good, right? Not exactly. The representative I spoke with told me that the company would flag my call as a high priority and send someone over. Except, they didn't know when that someone would arrive.

I called back just so Xcel understood how serious the situation was. The second representative confirmed that my call had been prioritized and said that if I felt the scenario was truly grave, I should call 911. I hung up and called 911. While I was still speaking with the dispatcher, I could hear the sirens. The fire department arrived within two minutes of my call.

When Xcel did finally show up, it was 45 minutes after my first call to them had been logged. The technician ambled up the front steps with a wrench and said it looked like the situation had been taken care of. By then, of course, the firemen had saved my home by turning off the gas and airing out the house with industrial-size fans. As I debriefed the fire chief, he said never call Xcel in a gas emergency—always call 911. 

Rave: Firefighters

My local firefighters saved my family—and my entire block—from what could have been a horrific accident. As a (meager) thank you, I took a platter of homemade cookies down to the station. But the situation came full circle when, recently, I attended a Guinness Believer event. I had been asked to participate in a "pouring the perfect Guinness" competition. The winner would have $1,000 donated in his or her name to the Denver Fire Department. I bet you can guess who won.

Bonus: Check out our video on how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness.