Friday, June 29, 2018

Dear Electric Ireland, Today Is Not the Day...

and I wish I was not the one.
Day 5 of this heatwave--the day the nausea arrives and not the day I want to be dealing with nonsense from anyone. However, now that Eircon is gone from our lives, I guess someone has to step up and sadly, Electric Ireland has volunteered.

When we moved into our apartment in Ballinrobe, the letting agent signed us up in Bill's name. Fine. That's good. We cannot do any of this ourselves, mind you--it has to be the letting agent and this sometimes takes a while. The exception was the letting agent in Moville. The young woman who worked there was wonderful and got things done. The other two we've dealt with, not so much. They take their time and sometimes require a push. But I digress.

Weeks after we moved in here--just the other day, in fact--we got a letter welcoming us to Electric Ireland. The account is in my name alone, as it has been since we moved in here the first time. We were told by a letting agent that this was because Bill had switched providers in Ballinrobe and had a closed account or something like that. Who knows whether this is true. W never know when someone is speaking whether the words tumbling out of their mouth have any relation to reality and if so, which ones. In any case, by then Bill was receiving a household benefit payment each month that goes towards the electricity--they credit the account. But for that to happen, he had to actually be on the account, so I had to email and request it and he had to email and request it, and they put his name on the account. It was no big deal--simple and quick.

When we moved to Moville, we asked the very competent young woman if she could have the account in either Bill's name or both our names and they would not let her do either. They don't like having the accounts set up with two names (!!!) and there was still the issue of Bill's previous account. Why either of these things is a problem, I cannot imagine, but there it is. It was slightly more complicated that time, because they did not change our address right away--just added the new electricity address and kept our mailing address here. A few emails took care of that, although it took longer this time.

So here we are back again. Once again, we asked that the letting agent try to put the account in both names. He said he would try--again, he is unreliable and we have no way of knowing whether he did or not. He often says one thing and does another. I sent the email and Bill sent his email at the same time. We got the automated replies saying they'd get back to us in three days.  I had to resend my email. I got a reply saying that they needed my date of birth, contact phone, Bill's contact phone, and had also--in addition to those other bits of information--to confirm they were communicating with the account holder. I resisted the urge to comment that I had no idea how I was supposed to confirm that, except by pointing out that it was unlikely that an imposter wanted to pretend to be me for the purposes of paying my electric bill.

In the meantime, we got a letter in the post today saying that they'd sent a letter about setting up the direct debit (we never received any such letter) and saying that I needed to do this immediately or pay the 400 euro deposit. Bill checked the page to see if our account details were there, so he could set up the direct deposit. They aren't.

I tried to call the number provided. I was told to press 1 for residential accounts. Upon pressing 1, I was greeted with silence and then the whole message again in both English and Irish. After three attempts, I gave up.

We wondered if something had changed, so we headed for the bank--in the worst heat of this miserably hot day. Just what I wanted to do was trudge a mile through town in the blazing sun. Let me take this opportunity to say that Bank of Ireland, Killybegs branch, has the perfect woman out front. I felt much more calm talking to her. Everything is automated and she is there to offer help. She is well suited to the job. Friendly, calm, happy to explain--just what is needed. She told us that Electric Ireland has to set up the direct debit, based on details we give them. That's what Bill thought. So home we walked. I realized when I got to the top of the hill that is the driveway, that rage* had propelled me up the hill this time--I was at the top before I even paid attention. Now I could add the headache to the nausea. Sun hates me and I hate sun.

I am still in the dark as to what is going on. I have emailed again and will just have to wait for them to get back to me. I pointed out that we have had a direct debit with them for over 3 years and nothing relating to the bank details has changed during that time, nor has it changed now. Can they not use the details they already have? Could they not offer a box for the letting agent to check off saying to just use those same details with the new account number?  There is a huge push to force people to do stuff online and then they make doing things way more complicated than they need to be. I suspect they will want me to start a new online account for some reason--they didn't when we moved from here to Moville, but that seems to be where this is going. When you do that, you cannot use any email address that you've used before. We are running out of email addresses. I pointed out that their policies regarding names on accounts don't seem to work very well and end up wasting everyone's time. I do not expect any rational response to this, but at least the complaint will be registered.

Should it really be this complicated and such a hassle to be allowed to give them money?

I will end on a happier note and then go medicate myself. The planters in town were looking lovely.

And, Bill went and got some ice cream.

I hope your day is comfortable and hassle free!

* I should hasten to add that my rage was not expressed to the lovely and helpful woman at the bank, nor to anyone else, unless you count Bill and I venting together with each other. I am quite good at presenting a public face that has nothing to do with my internal, actual feelings--was trained early and often and those neural pathways are well established. When I express anger, it is deliberate and directed appropriately. In this case, the woman at the bank had nothing to do with the hassles I was experiencing, so I was friendly, smiling, and grateful for her courtesy and professionalism, which I reciprocated. 

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