On the warpath with K-Electric
I thought they were getting better. The guy who handles social media for them is prompt at addressing complaints. The SMS complaint chat works. Breakdowns are handled as quickly as possible most of the time. And although I am still upset that I should be the victim of load-shedding despite paying my bills regularly, I have learnt to live with it since there seems to be no-one able to solve that problem for me.
However, when I get a bill for Rs. 40,000 I am absolutely dumbfounded. How is that possible when my air conditioner broke down two months ago and it is only a couple of weeks ago that I bought a new one. There is one refrigerator and some lights and fans that are used. I am not home most of the day and the only time I use the television is for a couple of hours in the evening. So I can’t understand why I should receive a bill for such a horrendous amount. I look at the bill and I see that there is a large amount that is labeled as “Arrears”. I figure they have made a mistake so I send my office assistant to have it checked alongwith paid bills of the past 6 months. He is told that they can’t handle the enquiry at just any K-Electric office and that I have to go to the office in my area – so much for a so-called technology enabled company.
Yesterday I sent another person to the office near my home. It is an understatement to say that he was not given a fair hearing. In fact instead of listening to the complaint and trying to resolve it, the guy at the K-Electric office said to him: “Aap log kunda lagatay hein aur phir aajatay hein shikayat karnay”. My rep told him we have never used kundas, showed him previously paid bills and requested that he send someone to check out the meter. To this the response was “We know that your meter is installed inside the house so we will have no access, and you have had it turned off for a month”. Wrong!!! The meters were installed by K-Electric outside our gate and we did not have them turned off. We wouldn’t even know how to turn them off. “Come and check out the premises yourselves” he was told “or talk to my boss on the phone”. Both pleas went unheard.
The K-Electric staff member said that the best he could do was provide a revised bill breaking the amount into 4 instalments. No argument or debate or explanation was acceptable to him. He insisted that I had to pay Rs. 40,000 for the month and that was that! He also said he did not feel the need to send a person to check out my premises nor the need to talk to me. After all, who am I – just the customer!
Without any proof he made all these assumptions about a customer who pays her bills regularly:
- That I was involved in electricity theft
- That my meter was installed at an inaccessible location on my premises
- That I had shut off my meter for a month
Would the situation have been different if I had gone myself? Was he rude and unreceptive because the man who had gone there was visibly not someone who “looked” important enough?
Should I be intimidated into paying a bill for electricity that I know I didn’t consume? I don’t think so. I am angry and upset – and rightly so. I expect much better service from a company that is presumably run like a well-oiled machine or so I am told. Who should I reach out to? Why should I have to reach out to anyone in particular? The customer service people should treat me like any other paying customer and resolve my issue. Isn’t that how good businesses are supposed to run? Or am I living in a fool’s paradise?