likes, loves and lusts

powerless - why i'm hating city power right now

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Right now, I'm feeling incredibly frustrated and powerless. Which is also my intended pun for the moment.
We've struggled endlessly with City Power in the 3 years we've lived in our house, being cut off on numerous occasions for a) previous occupier not paying a bill b) account being in incorrect name/address c) lack of communication between people who get your money, and people who take your power. None of which City Power care about, or are willing to investigate until after you've paid your astronomical bill, then sat in their queue for five hours with ten years of paperwork to try convince them they may have made a clerical error.

Our bill is bizarre at best, being higher than most of our friends' and colleagues. We live in a two-person home, have no under floor heating, no electric fence, we work all day, we seldom cook, we don't leave unnecessary lights burning and we have piped gas from Egoli Gas. Yes, we're perfect candidates for a LOW bill. Yet every month we pay double what the family next door pay who are a family of four, with two youngsters needing constant heated water, underfloor heating, they have an electric fence, and husband runs his own gym out of his home, so they use power all day long. The mind boggles.

In an endeavor to figure our why our bill is so high, and to try and rectify it before we get cut off in the middle of winter again, I've a list of things to try:
a) fix all leaks that may be wasting water on the property
b) understand and submit own meter readings
c) switch to a pre-paid meter

I've started with point A, and to my horror it seems there is a hidden leak on the property somewhere, so at least I have something I can tackle on the water front. Cue leak detector.

On to point B, we've registered on the City Power website, learned how to read my meter, and submitted my own readings. Success! Imagine that feeling of accomplishment, understanding, and finally being in control of something that's been a hazy fog to you until then. The day after submitting my reading though, I get home to a friendly note from City Power... They've come - unannounced - to read my meter themselves, as the reading I submitted was less than the average they have on record for me. Less than the "average". Isn't that what an "average" is? It's not a constant - it's a collection of numbers, up and down, that are AVERAGED out. No matter. You want to read my meter you're welcome to read my meter. The meter reader's note, though, says that I am to be available to let him in on 1 May to read the meter again, failing which, I go on to 14 day notice of having my power cut off. WTF!?! So many large font expletives I could put here, but nevertheless, you have to play the game with a city administration, so I make arrangements for someone to be at the house - we take it in shifts - all day on 1 May in eager anticipation of the meter reader. Who never arrives.

So you arrive at my house unannounced and unscheduled, you tell me I need to wait for you all day Saturday, because your managers don't have the foresight to provide a specific time - or even a time bracket - that would make this an easy thing to do. And after we wait for you, AND YOU DON'T PITCH, I am being punished? For helping you out and being proactive? Bloody hell.

And to top it all, an attempt to call you, dear City Power, to try and find out where your man was, when he might "pop in" again, and to rectify the situation so that I don't get cut off, merely leaves me hanging on my phone for a straight hour on four separate phone calls, none of which get to a single one of your consultants, because... you guessed it... you cut me off.

On to point C I guess...


Ghoul Friday said...

Jeez. The word "ridiculous" does not even come close to their behaviour. Insane. Keep up the good fight.

Anonymous said...

Ah I see your City Power and raise you one incompetent Eastern Cape Municipality, Buffalo City. We pay close to R2k per month, 75% of that is electricity when there was no one at home, been using energy saving bulbs for almost a decade and and there are two people at home. We're moving onto prepaid because frankly no one admits any wrong doing and no one will investigate when you haven't paid yet. The fact that the average is around R600 per month for some households seems inconsequential.

maybe we should move more people in and use more appliances because those folk seem to have very low accounts.

@ngel said...

@Ghoul i know, insane right? perks of living in a third world country i guess :)

@Hamish i'll trade you inna heartbeat! i see your 2k and raise you 6k... ;) highway robbery i tell you (erk, never thought i'd use that phrase.. it's so parental)

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