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Thread: Rumor That Utiliquest Is Losing The BGE Contract in Maryland?

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    Default Rumor That Utiliquest Is Losing The BGE Contract in Maryland?

    I work here in Virginia and the recent scutlebutt is that Utiliquest is losing the BGE contract in the state of Maryland. Has anyone else heard this? If true this would be a major blow to their business in the area.

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    Default Re: Rumor That Utiliquest Is Losing The BGE Contract in Maryland?

    I hear its being bidded along with pecco in philly and ohio as part of the excelan deal. It would hurt the office in Baltimore but the other offices have all their contracts renewed for long term. I suspect usic is trying to low bid it so well see if bge is willing to save afew buck for shitty service. I donít think they do any work in md, mayber del so it will be 1 thing to mark. If bge goes that way im sure it will be short time before they come calling. Utiliquest have good DMís in md so the techs are pretty loyal and our directer is the guy who kicked out all the crooks running utiliquest in va a few years back. Hes a straight shoter and well liked by the utility people and excavaotrs. Usic would probably bring in their own DMís who are the guys that coulkdnít run things here and will lie to everyone.

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    Default Re: Rumor That Utiliquest Is Losing The BGE Contract in Maryland?

    Some what over a year ago the head guy of a locate firm told me of having gone to meet with BG&E for a pre-bid conference. BG&E has been shopping around very seriously for some time.

    As for low ball bidders that is a maybe but only maybe with BG&E's history.

    BG&E was locating in-house until the signed on with Kelly Locate with what was applauded as the model contract for the locate industry.
    BG&E set yearly goals for the locate firm to meet and the type of service they expected.

    For this office BG&E was to be the only utility they located and only locators from this office trained and qualified by BG&E were to be allowed to mark BG&E plant. The exception being one area where they was a previous phone contract, that was grandfathered in.

    The damage rate was an overall rate divided into three groups. The damages from miss-marks, the damages from excavator error and digging without a ticket, the locate firm had to keep damages from all three categories under an overall figure.

    Each locator was to be assigned an area and they were to stay assigned to that area, not moved around and reassigned. Each locator was to become an expert of all BG&E plant in there area based on years of working in that area. They were also expected to have close relationships with all contractors regularly working in their area.

    Each locator was expected to patrol their area when work load was light, rare but it does happen, and assist excavators keeping the marks up. Also to stop for any dig that did not have a ticket and get a ticket issued.

    Each group of locators working under a foreman would meet once a month with their assigned BG&E liaison who would keep them updated an what was going on.
    In addition the liaison would work in the field as needed with locators assigned to them. The liaison would assist on locates where the locate firm was unable to find BG&E plant and had the power to declare it un-locatable. The liaison could also review a damage and if due to improper installation, like the subcontractor had installed a service outside of the easement or improperly across yards, declare the locate firm not responsible for the miss-mark. Also they could declare the damaged plant unlocatable and the locate firm was not at fault.

    BG&E kept a better relationship with the locators and treated them better than the locate firms. At the end of each year they gave a breakfast meeting, renting a large hall, and gave awards, often with checks or gift cards, to those who were damage free.

    But then Utiliquest entered the scene but they did not win a bid on the contract, they bought out the Kelly Locate office that held the contract. The Baltimore office was run by Carl Brumfeld and he steadily made improvements until they not only met damage prevention goals but exceeded them each year while still making a profit.

    Carl kept the sprite up and each month at the office meeting, all locators present, he commended those that were damage free and each damage free locator was entered into a drawing giving away a color TV to somebody each month. Pay for performance was put into place and productive locators who were damage free made good money. Pay was adjusted quarterly.

    Every ticked you marked the party charges were added up. one for pone, one for gas and one for electric. For something like every 3,000 party charges located without a damage you got a bonus. The bonus started small and increased every 3,000 charges until maxing out as something like $500. If you got a damage the bonus level was reset to the start amount.

    But then Carl was moved out and others brought in, and things began going downhill fast.
    It seems the BG&E vision did not set well with Utiliquest and it was one piece at a time stripped down.

    The PFP got subtle, unannounced changes. One locator who was meticulous at keeping records noticed that his monthly ticket per hour rate in the company documents did not match his numbers. When he confronted the boss he found that the company had started adding in the on-call hours into the PFP hours reducing his hourly ticket rate and adversely affecting his pay scale.

    A few months later he saw a similar 'error' in the numbers but much larger (off by 25%) for a month he had not been on-call. When he confronted the boss he found out they now were adding in the vacation hours, 40 hours for the week he took vacation, into production time again resulting in lower pay. He told me he was told that he could have come in and marked tickets as he was getting 40 hours pay if he wanted to have 40 hours to not reduce his pay.

    The bonus plan was eliminated because some genius noticed that only the good locators got a bonus so they figured it was ineffective. They put in a new bonus plan where the entire office participated. The formula for this allowed deductions for damages to be taken out of the bonus pool and if this exceeded the pool amount no bonus for anybody and the uncovered damages would be deducted from the next period. There was a cap on how high the bonus pool could go but no cap on how much could be deducted. So if you were damage free you got the same bonus as someone who had three damages, real incentive there. Anyway no bonus was ever paid under that program and it just seemed to quietly disappear. I hear other versions have come and gone as well.

    With the top locators no longer getting a bonus, accounting for a significant percentage of yearly income, and pay rates dropping attrition picked up and the top notch locators BG&E put time and effort into training they saw starting to leave.

    The concept of being a BG&E expert utility locator also did not seem to be inline with the corporate goals of Utiliquest. Soon they added a CATV contract to the Baltimore office ending the exclusivity of those locators. As one locator told me he was taken into the office to be talked to about his production. He thought he was going to commended as his party charge per hour had gone up with the addition of the CATV contract. Instead he was scolded and told that although he was earning more money per hour for the company he was doing less tickets per hour. He was being pushed to do more tickets per hour because they took the additional contract but did not want to add locators and equipment to their inventory. He did not stay a locator very long after that pep talk.

    The next thing they did was 'merge' the Baltimore office into the other offices and had locators from the other offices coming into the BG&E area. They got training on BG&E drawings and such but the BG&E expert locator vision of BG&E was gone.

    So if they will accept a low ball bid is dependent on if the BG&E leaders have been beaten down and given up their dream of being a model for the nation on how to contract out their locating needs. If they still have the dream they will ignore low ball bids knowing that will not provide the quality they seek. If Utiliquest has battered them into pulp they will accept a low ball bid, perhaps from Utiliquest.

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    Default Re: Rumor That Utiliquest Is Losing The BGE Contract in Maryland?

    Quote Originally Posted by locateman2011 View Post
    I hear its being bidded along with pecco in philly and ohio as part of the excelan deal. It would hurt the office in Baltimore but the other offices have all their contracts renewed for long term. SNIP .
    With the offices 'merged' the axe will fall on locators everywhere.

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    Default Re: Rumor That Utiliquest Is Losing The BGE Contract in Maryland?

    Quote Originally Posted by locateman2011 View Post
    and our directer is the guy who kicked out all the crooks running utiliquest in va a few years back.
    The only crooks with UQ in VA I'm aware of in that time frame were the few locators who blew off tickets, coding them as marked when they did not even visit the job site. That is what lead the SCC to mandate pictures and time stamped manifests, which in turn lead to the stringent steps UQ has taken to substantiate that the locators are doing what they say they are doing.
    Last edited by TheCableVine; May 1st, 2012 at 12:37 AM.

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    Default Re: Rumor That Utiliquest Is Losing The BGE Contract in Maryland?

    It was from the top down for many years in va. I helped out for many weekends back around 07 or 08 and was told by the DM and supervisro to just clear homeowner tickets or jobs that looked complete. it was all anbout getting as many tickets done as you could. still alot of locate comanyus doing it that way.

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    Default Re: Rumor That Utiliquest Is Losing The BGE Contract in Maryland?

    Quote Originally Posted by locateman2011 View Post
    It was from the top down for many years in va. I helped out for many weekends back around 07 or 08 and was told by the DM and supervisro to just clear homeowner tickets or jobs that looked complete. it was all anbout getting as many tickets done as you could. still alot of locate comanyus doing it that way.
    Did you do it?

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    Default Re: Rumor That Utiliquest Is Losing The BGE Contract in Maryland?

    They had me teamed up on fttp jobs when i was down there, but we were cutting corners, only marking mains and gas services. on updates the super just cleared them and attached the sme drawing.

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    Default Re: Rumor That Utiliquest Is Losing The BGE Contract in Maryland?

    I was wrong, it was 05 & 06 when I was helping, right after fttp broke loose and we were working every weekend randy tribble was the DM. Carl came up one saturday and gave us all breakfast. nice guy but i heard he was not to smart. they were more interested in clearing ticket to not get no shows than painting.

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    Default Re: Rumor That Utiliquest Is Losing The BGE Contract in Maryland?

    Amazing post, ProfessionalLocator. I would say that you are the Carl Sagan or Stephen Hawking of utility locating. In fact I nominate you to be the mascot of these boards if ever such a position would open.
    TRUST no one !!!
    QUESTION everything !!!
    Find the TRUTH for yourself !!!
    Sound a bit paranoid ???
    That's what this business is. - Don Lyng

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    Default Re: Rumor That Utiliquest Is Losing The BGE Contract in Maryland?

    Quote Originally Posted by FailedSafetyAudit View Post
    Amazing post, ProfessionalLocator. I would say that you are the Carl Sagan or Stephen Hawking of utility locating. In fact I nominate you to be the mascot of these boards if ever such a position would open.
    Does it pay better than locating?

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    Default Re: Rumor That Utiliquest Is Losing The BGE Contract in Maryland?

    We should just start our own company, you and me. Once everyone in the industry who reads these boards knows that you are the owner, they will flock to do business with you because of your Carl Sagan-esque mascot status. You can make all the money you want then.

    Just give me a little piece of the pie as your vice-president. For nominating you.
    TRUST no one !!!
    QUESTION everything !!!
    Find the TRUTH for yourself !!!
    Sound a bit paranoid ???
    That's what this business is. - Don Lyng

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    Default Re: Rumor That Utiliquest Is Losing The BGE Contract in Maryland?

    Quote Originally Posted by FailedSafetyAudit View Post
    We should just start our own company, you and me. Once everyone in the industry who reads these boards knows that you are the owner, they will flock to do business with you because of your Carl Sagan-esque mascot status. You can make all the money you want then.

    Just give me a little piece of the pie as your vice-president. For nominating you.
    I feel like the guy who was ridden out of down on a rail; If it weren't for the honor of the thing I would have walked.

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    Default Re: Rumor That Utiliquest Is Losing The BGE Contract in Maryland?

    Aw. Well when I start my own thing I can hire you then as a state manager. You probably won't even have to locate anymore. Just keep making sage posts on the vine.
    TRUST no one !!!
    QUESTION everything !!!
    Find the TRUTH for yourself !!!
    Sound a bit paranoid ???
    That's what this business is. - Don Lyng

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    Default Re: Rumor That Utiliquest Is Losing The BGE Contract in Maryland?

    any fellow nj uqers out there? things are getting bad up here in new jersy i feel like im being asked to cut corners cause the state boss has to make money. even as far as clsoing tickets with no marks to get my numbers up. been doing this along time but this ocncerns me
    Last edited by powerman; April 30th, 2012 at 05:49 PM.

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