Wednesday, 19 June 2013

How we got LEC back

Contributed by Patience and Farzana

NATC had its LEC connection restored after nearly 2 months. I asked Patience, our Admin/Finance officer to summarise what she went through to get our connection back on. 

The following is a record of the bureaucracy we faced in our efforts to resolve our electricity problems:

1) Our meter got burnt/faulty.
2) Patience went to the LEC and verbally complained at the New Service Department who referred her to the Customer Service Department.
3) Patience was asked to write a letter of complaint. Patience wrote a "3-in-1 letter" to inform LEC about the damaged meter, to request a 3-phase meter, and to retrieve the credit that was lost in the damaged meter. The letter was submitted and filed. 
4) Patience was explained that the letter had to be taken to the Customer Services Manager for approval as well as the New Services Department for filing and approval. 
5) After this, she had to fill out for a form in the Commerce Department to describe the problem. 
6) It was back to the New Services Department after that for another signature. 

Patience says the departments were extremely difficult to deal with  and, if one did not follow up, documents would be "lost." Also, she had to go back to the LEC almost every day to inquire on the status of our application. She would be told the approval had not come or technicians were on the "field." Or, the relevant person she had to meet would not be in the office, out for lunch, or busy with our customers. 

The matter was further compounded because our meter was actually not in our name. When we moved to this office about a year ago, the LEC was not giving out new connections. We bought a meter from someone in Sinkor. The fellow who did it for us was an LEC technician but it was done under the table. Since the meter was burnt and the LEC office realised that this meter was not in NATC's name, they took even longer to process our complaint. 

Patience says, "If you want your work to be done faster and quicker you will have to do the other way around to get your done on time." 

It was a relief to get the connection back. We were spending US $ 50.00 every day on re-fueling the generator. Not to mention that it was a strain on the generator to be on 6 days a week with some days running for 14 hours or more. We also had to regularly maintain and service the generator which cost us US $ 100.00 every month. In total we were spending about $ 1,300.00 on electricity. 

With the LEC pre-paid meter we get 180 units per US $ 100.00. We are consuming  roughly 50 units a day, that works out to 0.55c per unit x 50 units = $27.77 per day x 30 days = $833.00 per month. It is definitely cheaper than the generator. 

Patience is still working on retrieving the credit that was in the burnt meter and getting it transferred to the new one. She has been making rounds between the Finance and Technical Departments. She even went to the Bushrod Island office to make a follow up with the department that repairs faulty meters. 

It has been a nerve racking experience. 

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