Phone Company Works Overtime to Answer Calls

Times Staff Writer

Wednesday was not the best day to call the phone company about a mistake on your bill. Neither is today. Actually, you can forget the whole week. It’s the busiest week of the year for Pacific Bell service representatives.

School started at San Diego State University this week, it was orientation week at University of San Diego, and businesses were buckling down after the holiday weekend.

The combination, Pacific Bell spokesman Michael Runzler said, is enough to make the day after Labor Day the busiest of the year.

“Because of the number going back to college, an unusually heavy load of people are calling for new hookups and transfers,” Runzler said. Orders this time of year are double the norm.


“This is a busy day for calls anyway,” he said Tuesday. “It’s after a three-day holiday, the summer is over, people are back from vacation, and businesses gear back up.”

As a result, the day after Labor Day is also the busiest day for directory assistance. To further aggravate the load this year, Tuesday was the first business day of the month, Runzler said.

The swamped phone lines the day after Labor Day usually spill over into the busiest week of the year, giving operators an earful they remember until the next September rolls around.

On an average day, about 12,000 calls would get through to service representatives, Runzler said. Tuesday, an estimated 18,000 calls were made.

For the first time, hours were extended this year for taking orders. Through this week, the hours will be 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Normal hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.