A tale of everyday life with electricty.

Anyone had recourse to deal with the electric suppliers recently?
Yesterday: Washing machine not working in a flat. OK it's the 13A fuse (32A MCB ring circuit no RCD) replace fuse all is well but .. fuses don't blow by themselves so I thought I'll check to see if the current consumption during heat/pump/spin are plausible. (E.g. there might be 20A being drawn by a broken heater - say). So I gently eased my tong-tester (clip on ammeter) around the meter tail.... flash and darkness ... as my eyes adjusted to the dark I saw the meter tail had _fallen_ out of the meter (meter replaced an Sub-sub-sub...contractor of Siemens Metering only a month or two ago).
Decided that whilst I _could_ pull the fuse, break the seals etc. and fix fault in minutes I would do the 'right' thing...
1) Phone EDF Emergency Eastern Service. (Formerly 24-7 Formerly Eastern Elec. Formerly the EEB). Menus & music one level (MM1). Nice guy. Asked me precisely which wire had falled out. Told me outgoing meter tails are handled by the supplier. Don't come back to us _they_ must fix it.
2) Got tenant to find recent bill. (Nobody except a verified cusotmer can speak to a supplier) Phone NPower. MM1. Another nice guy. Explain situation carefully. Put on hold. 2 minutes later... "This is the number you need...."
3) Phone "needed" number. MM2 (2 levels of menus & 'soothing' music). Actually was "Eastern Contracting" or some such. No person at all but the number your need is ... the one for EDF Emergency Eastern Service like I got from the phone book before at stage (1).
4) Try previous number again but take different route through MM2 to hold for an advisor. Engaged tone 3 minutes before giving up.
5) Try Npower again. MM1. Another nice guy. Explain situation carefully. Unfortunately this guy has short term memory problems.
NP:"You'll need a qualified electrician to fix it." ES:"Really! I thought this was seriously off limits." (Knowning full well it is). NP:"No, all you need is a qualified electrician." ES:"Just to check, we are talking about the connection on the meter itself." NP:"I'll just check with my supervisor."
... more music ...
NP:"Oops sorry, You can't fix it." ES:"Right-oh. When are _you_ going to fix it?" NP:"I'll give you a number." ES:"Been there, done that, I'll be back here. EDF won't fix meter outlet problems. _When_ are you going to fix it?" NP:"It does need fixing." ES:"Yep. It does indeed." NP:"I'll ring you back."
5 minutes later. NP:"It's OK for you to get a qualified electrician to fix it." ES:"We are talking about the wire which has falled out of the METER." NP:"I'll check and ring you back".
10 minutes later. NP:"Someone will be there in the next 9 hours." ES:"OK what's the job reference." (So I can progress chase if needed). ....
Experienced guy turns up one hour later, fixes it in 5 minutes. (Also checks all the other terminals at his own suggestion which saved me the bother of requesting he did so). He holds unprintable views about 'contractors'.
Tenant: It has taken a lot of work, I think things are simpler in Japan.
This is the 3rd time in about 6 years that I have directly experienced a serious fault on an electrical installation associated with a meter replacement. Twice it was loose tails, Once it was polarity reversal.
With appologies to JRRT.
Three ring tones for the Powers of Hell. Seven for the Gen Co.s wanting more. Nine for the Supply Co.s doomed to sell. One for a saleman at every door. In the Land of London where the shadows lie. No number to rule them all, nor one to find them, No number to ring them all for service by them, In the land of London where the shadows lie. 8-)
--
Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter.
The FAQ for uk.diy is at www.diyfaq.org.uk
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I'm sure I've heard this story somewhere before!
SJW A.C.S. Ltd.
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On Thu, 29 Jan 2004 00:12:21 +0000, Lurch wrote:

Um I ws so pleased with it that I thought I'd post it twice. <Actually I tried to email it to several people aswell and my news reader got even more confused than me>.
--
Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter.
The FAQ for uk.diy is at www.diyfaq.org.uk
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On Thu, 29 Jan 2004 00:25:14 +0000, "Ed Sirett"

In all seriousness I've lost count of how many jobs I've been to and found loose meter tails in the meter. It has got to a stage where no-one knows whats going on so just take a stab in the dark at which department\company looks after the particular 12" of pipe\cable that you have a problem with. That is after they tell you it's nothing to do with them. I have the same woes with BT quite often as well.
SJW A.C.S. Ltd.
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I'd just remove the service fuse and nip up the terminals myself. Why stress? It's what I did when I replaced the consumer unit (and tails, as the previous ones were a little bit too short to reach the new CU).
I keep a spare service fuse next to the meter, too. Buggered if I'm waiting hours for the electricity company to change a frigging fuse.
Christian.
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On Thu, 29 Jan 2004 09:54:17 -0000, "Christian McArdle"

people that are totally incapable of doing a simple job properly. Does the man who comes to read the meter not mention the fact that there is a service fuse lying next to the meter?
SJW A.C.S. Ltd.
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No. If anyone does come to the meter, they're probably kids on work experience, or workfare from the Dee Road estate on minimum wage in order to not lose their benefits. They couldn't give a monkey's toss about seals or fuses (probably don't even know what they are).
Christian.
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On Thu, 29 Jan 2004 10:11:31 -0000, "Christian McArdle"

I thought that's what you were going to say.
SJW A.C.S. Ltd.
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On Thu, 29 Jan 2004 09:54:17 +0000, Christian McArdle wrote:

I did reckon that that if I did not get a 'result' from them I would sort it myself. If anything came of it my defence would have been that I made every reasonable effort ot comply with the law (many would say "and then some") and I reconnected the supply so as to prevent the greater crime of failing to supply electricity.
--
Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter.
The FAQ for uk.diy is at www.diyfaq.org.uk
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