Sunday, 1 November 2009

Broken Britain - 10: EDF - a Rant.

This story starts about four months ago when my energy supplier, the French company EDF (or as some call it: Every Day a F***-up) told me I was due for a new electricity meter. So I made arrangement to stay indoors for half a day and they duly installed it.

Then a few weeks ago I received a rather panicky, heavy-handed irate letter (some might regard it as a threatening letter) tell me: “four months ago we installed a new meter. Our records show there has been no use on this meter since” and in not so many words telling me (in effect) ‘if you are using electricity from EDF and Not paying for it you are defrauding us and in breach of rule so-and-so…..’.

I phoned them up and said: “ well I’ve been using the electricity since installation and that meter’s been ticking over and charging me as normal”. Anyway, they insisted I was wrong and that the meter should be changed - again - so we made arrangements for Thursday afternoon, which meant I had to stay in again from 12 noon to 6pm. At least I gave them my mobile phone number for reference.

So Thursday came around…I‘ve cleared all the junk our from under the stairs so the guy from EDF can have clear access. And at 12.56pm I went briefly upstairs to the bathroom and came back down to find a message on my cellphone.

It was a man’s voice, sounding barely Neanderthal: “Diss is EDF Energy here. I’ve just tried to gain access to your place and there’s a gate and a yale lock and I ain’t gotta key. So you’ll have to rebook diss appointment”. (I couldn’t return the call as the chap left no number).

I was baffled, especially since there is clear access to my flat, just up twenty steps (yes, those steps just by the big white-painted sign on the wall in ten-inches high letters, my door number - mong!)

Then Pam, my neighbour from two doors along knocked on my door and handed me a card she’d just had pushed through her mailbox - from EDF. [She’s the one with the gate and the yale lock, even though that is a side entrance and not actually the slip road where you gain access to my place…]

So I phoned EDF to explain their engineer’s gaff. Did they care? Of course not. As far as they were concerned nothing could be done, I’d have to re-book another appointment - and that’s what they insisted I do (thereby wasting another day of my time). [For the record, this person’s job title was Customer Services Assistant - a misnomer on all three words if ever there was one].

I refused and told them to fix it today, or I was an ex-customer.

For twenty minutes this arguing went on. “Look,” I said, “I’m sitting here in front of my computer, already on the uSwitch.com site. I’ve changed suppliers before, it’s not difficult, and I shall be switching at 6.pm. this evening if no new meter is installed by then….even if it means one of your highly-paid managers getting up off their arse and into their own car and come and install it themselves.”

I then reminded them: “If it wasn’t for your company’s incompetent installing of the original new meter, we wouldn’t be needing to go through all this. So don’t try and blame me for this one……You messed it up - You fix it”.

Thirty minutes later a manager phoned me back to tell me to stay indoors.

So a couple of hours later (3.30.pm) I heard two LOUD bangs on my front door knocker….strong enough to break the door down.

…And there he was…… white, long-haired, scruffy, mid-40s. He opened his mouth and it was that same mongoloid voice from the phone message.

I decided the best thing was to just zip my lip up, say nothing, and just let him get on with changing the meter.

I did explain to him how this saga started. He replied: “well, the person who installed this original new meter probably just lost the paperwork”.

So that’s alright then - Thank You EDF Energy.

And then he left….but I was left wondering: does it Have to come to all this kicking and screaming in order to get something done anymore? This is not just a one-off anymore in this country - it’s just typical.

- And you tell me that this country isn’t broken?

1 comment:

Charles said...

You should also check to see if they are calculating your bill with the metric or imperial system and compare it to whether your new metre is metric or imperial. I've heard stories of how they screw that up and people end up paying thousands of pounds...