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Some PG&E Customers Waiting Days For Pilot Light To Be Relit

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - People are waiting days in the cold as they wait for PG&E workers to re-light their furnace pilot lights.

The company says customers are waiting as many as five days to have their pilot light relit. But we were curious about what's causing the lengthy delay.

"I would sometimes turn the oven on because it heats up the apartment," said Michelle McDermott, who says she's been without heat for a week.

People like McDermott are resorting to dangerous measures. She called PG&E for help with her pilot light on Tuesday.

"It is busy," said Greg Bell, a PG&E gas service representative.

Three days later, Bell finally fit her in.

"I've been working a lot of overtime trying to get customers in service," said Bell.

He says he hasn't had a day off in two weeks. Usually pilot lights can be relit the same day a customer calls, but with the sudden arrival of unusually cold weather, the company says it is being inundated with calls.

"This cold has been a very unusual and very extreme cold. We usually see it more spaced out," said Brandi Ehlers, a PG&E spokesperson.

But waiting days with no heat?

PG&E says it is doing what it can. It has 100 gas service representatives working mandatory overtime around the Sacramento region.

"They're working from 8 a.m. to 10 or 11 at night. They're working 7 days a week," said Ehlers.

McDermott is frustrated at having to dress for the outdoors inside her own apartment.

"We put extra socks on and wore a light jacket," she said.

PG&E says customers willing to wait the entire day can get same-day service. The company urges customers to call their customer service line at 1-800-743-5000.

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