Tuesday, 4 September 2007

The JHB city council makes my eyeballs bleed

Powerless is what I felt when some cheery contractor from the City Council arrived to disconnect my electricity. Without warning, mind you. Never mind that I was working on my PC on an important document (ok, an email to a friend) when the lights went out. Never mind that my ninety-year-old diabetic granny's life-support machine sputtered to a halt and she began to flatline. (Ok, I'm making that bit up, but it could have been the case).

Can you think of one other large organisation that would treat a loyal, bill-paying customer of 25 years' standing in this manner? Apart from Telkom, MTN, Home Affairs, etc? I won't bore you with all the intricate details. On second thoughts, I will:

In a nutshell, they presented me with a bill for R25 000 (that's right, twenty-five thousand ront) six weeks ago, claiming that they'd failed to read the meter for the past few years, that all the accounts I've paid in that time have been 'interim' accounts, and that I had better pay up, and smartly. After several hours of futile argument, I caved in and paid them the money in five installments of five thousand ront, sending the overdraft into orbit.

Were they grateful? Did they think to themselves, with a snigger, 'Wow, that Juno is one heck of good a customer. Asks no questions, just hands over the lolly. Obviously, there's plenty more where that came from.' Did they send me a letter saying they wanted more money? No, what they did was send around their 'independent contractor' to disconnect my power. After he'd done so, he presented me with an account showing that I was R9 000 in arrears. NINE THOUSAND RANDS.

Blood began to trickle down my cheeks as I pleaded with Mrs Call Centre. How could we have consumed so much electricity in six weeks? Was it possible that there was a mistake? How come they didn't warn me? Why didn't they send me a letter telling me they were going to disconnect the power? Could I speak to a supervisor? Is there anyone there who gives the slightest fuck?

Mrs Call Centre couldn't have been more polite and patient. My attempts at trying to reason with her were fruitless. All my efforts were, in the words of my sainted late father, as useless as a hatful of arseholes.

Reader, I paid. The lights came back on. Who's the stupid one?

Stumble Upon Toolbar

9 comments:

bec said...

Ow.

No, really, OW. That's outrageous (and has sent me scurrying to check our own electricity bill).

Ow.

meggie said...

Holy Moly! they can just DO that??
That sounds so wrong! Buggers.

Juno said...

Thanks gals... but I still feel so infuriated that I actually weep every time I think about it.

Talk about powerless....

Candy Tothill said...

this is shocking - we should take this to the papers. i wonder how many other people it's happened to. the frightening thing is that we're at their mercy.

btw, thanks for the blogroll (fab surprise). look forward to reading more of you :)

Juno said...

Thanks Candy - love your blog too.

angel said...

holy crap juno!!! only your eyeballs bled!??!

Audrey said...

My sympathies. Makes a person want to scream bloody blue murder BUT THERE'S NOTHING CAN BE DONE. Eish. JHB city council gives a whole new dimention to the word 'obtuse'.

P.S. Juno, have you been having trouble posting entries to your blog? Only thing I can post is comments and tech support is nonexistant. I've been tearing my hair out with mine for a couple of weeks now and I've had it. I'm moving to wordpress, I think.

Audrey said...

of course, I meant dimension. Ha. Got it crossed with demented or something.

Juno said...

Thanks Audrey. No, I'm not having problems with my blog posts - blogspot working perfectly. (Which is more than I can say for most other electronic/technical/electrical/mechanical
devices and systems in my life. How come (oh dear, I can feel a rant coming on) irons, kettles and toasters last for only two years? Why does my mouse keep jamming, when it's still such a very young rodent? Why's the fridge warm? Why's the oven cold? Why does my cell phone switch itself off when a call comes in? I could go on and on....