In the beginning of the year, I received a letter from my electricity provider notifying me that my electricity meter would soon be changed to a new connected device and that I would hear from the technical department to setup an appointment to make the switch. Which was good, because the screen was beginning to fade and you couldn’t really tell which figures it was showing anymore. I don’t mind, but apparently the electricity people do.
A guy came in March: he was very friendly, actually came from Nepal (I’d guess Guatemala: close) and we talked about life, work and wisdom. Also, he told me that he couldn’t setup the new meter because my electrical installation was old (it’s not me, it’s my building) and they needed specific equipment to make the change. He said he would notify his people, I thanked him and we said goodbye. In April, another guy came to check the meter: he had no idea about the new meter situation (I asked him) but did notify me that the old one was officially dead: he couldn’t see any figures. He said he would tell the guys to send someone asap.
A couple of months later (I guess that’s “asap”), another technician came. He, too, was friendly, although I could tell he was neither from Guatemala or Nepal: he was black (this may show my racism and/or ignorance, but I don’t think there are many black people in either of those countries). The fuse box was in the landing: he looked at it and stopped right there.
- I don’t have to enter your apartment to tell you that I won’t be able to do my job.
- Oh, and why is that?
- Because I can’t operate on these fuses, they’re too old.
- OK. The thing is you’re the second technician to come here. The first one told me exactly the same and that he would notify your colleagues. Did he?
- I don’t know. He didn’t notify me.
- Great. Do you still wanna get in and check the living room? It’s got a nice view on the courtyard…
During the summer, a friend was staying at my place (for all intents and purposes, I’ve been living at my girlfriend’s - now fiancée - since the day after we started dating). I got another letter from the electricity company telling me they were sending a guy to check the meter. Which was obviously pointless, since the thing was still very much dead and I had no news regarding a potential third technician who would be able to fix it. Still, a man can dream.
A couple of weeks later - they were clearly working at full speed, I got yet another letter notifying me that the last technician couldn’t check the meter - no shit - and that I should contact them asap. That’s what I did: today (aka “asap” to them) at 4:30pm, I called the number they gave me. It said the service is open till 5pm, I was hopeful. No one answered.
I then called the main switchboard: a couple of minutes later, I finally got a guy. When I started explaining the situation, he put me on hold for a second to check my file, inadvertently hanging up on me (I’m not making this up). I called back: a couple more minutes later, they miraculously connected me with the same guy (that’s the lucky part of the story), who finally found my file.
- I don’t know what to tell you, Sir.
- Well, anything would be nice…
- I mean, I don’t know what the procedure is in this situation…
- Can you ask someone who knows, maybe?
- Huh… Let me check with my boss…
- Please… I’ll hold… Just don’t hang up…
Another minute later, he came back:
- OK, Sir. What you have to do is call the Connection department. They’ll be able to help you.
- The Connection department will be able to help with my meter?
- Makes sense.
So I called the Connection department. An obviously aggravated young woman answered (then again, it was now past 5pm on a Friday afternoon: she was probably counting the minutes till she could run out and play with her electrical scooter, or watch a movie on her phone or whatever else young people do these days):
- OK, so here’s what you have to do: you have to call your electricity provider.
- That’s not you?
- No. We only handle infrastructure and maintenance.
- Of course.
- You tell them there’s something wrong with your meter, they’ll come and change it.
- And put the new connected meter instead?
- No. They’ll put a regular meter first. Then we’ll send a technician to setup the connected meter.
- Why setup a meter for no reason, might I ask?
- Because otherwise you’ll have to pay for it.
As long as there’s a reason…