July 20th started out just like any other day. I was on the computer as usual, taking care of things. Along about 3 pm I noticed the light bulb above me flickering. I thought that the light bulb had finally bit the dust. I was thinking that luckily we had a couple of spares. Well the truth was far worse than that. Because about then I also noticed that it was also getting hot. The fan had quit. Oh crap, another brownout. I waited a few minutes like I normally do to see if the power would come back on. It didn’t, so I turned the computer off. I told my wife that this brownout seemed weird because the lights never flickered before, they just went out. We waited anyway. Then we noticed that our cousins in the back have electricity. What the heck is going on now?
So I checked the breaker box. Nothing loose. Time to call an electrician. No electricians available until after 5 pm. They all have jobs and are working. We did finally get a hold of the Fan Man. He checked the breaker box. It has no power coming to it. Time to call Samelco. We don’t have Samelco’s number, except on the computer, which we can’t access. You’d think the phone number would be on the bill and/or the receipt, but it’s not. I made a mental note to make a hard copy of all the phone numbers I have on the computer.
Around 4 pm Titing was nice enough to drive to Samelco to inform them of the problem. They said they would be by. They did come by, about 2 hours later. It turns out that we need a new meter. Evidently the neighbors have been smelling burning electrical for the past couple of days. Also the security guard at the Ciriaco Hotel across the street saw a spark fly out from the pole around 3 pm (the time of the outage). The Samelco guy said it was too late to do anything tonight so it’d be tomorrow before they could fix it. They’d be here around 9 am. Yeah right!
Well crap! No computer, but we did get an extension cord, connected to Titing’s house, so we could use the night light, a fan and the TV or the night light and 2 fans so we would not suffer during the night. The only real difference tonight from any other night, after the computer, is that I get to watch what I want, (because her stations are too fuzzy) and both fans are on my side of the bed (because of the extension cord). I must say it was much cooler this way, especially with all the windows open. It actually got a bit cold.
Fast forward to Thursday morning at 9 am. No Samelco, but not really a surprise. Titing and Neneng rode over there on their motorcycle again. They were going downtown anyway and, although Samelco is in the opposite direction, they wanted to make sure they didn’t forget. So upon their arrival back to the house, we found out that they didn’t forget because they didn’t know anything about it. Seems the guy that came by didn’t file a work order. So it will be tomorrow before they can do anything.
Now I know that they are the ONLY electric company in town and can do whatever they want, but that is some piss poor customer service. I’ve got a strong feeling that when/if another electric company ever does come to town, Samelco will be losing a lot of business.
Now let’s skip ahead to Friday morning. Titing once again went by their office to find out the status of a repair. Today their answer was “Today”. I’ll believe it when I see it. The didn’t give a time or even morning or afternoon, just “Today”.
The refrigerator in the computer room is now plugged in to an extension cord, which is plugged into another extension cord. I hope that doesn’t turn out to be a bad decision.
Well, lo and behold, at 0850, Samelco showed up. Now let’s see how long it takes them. The meter reader came by yesterday morning and Titing got his electric bill yesterday afternoon. We didn’t get one. Our meter is busted. I’m not sure how they are going to handle that.
Well son of a gun, at 0900 our power is back. They had us turn off our main breaker. We waited a few minutes and turned it back on. It’s all working fine. It took them almost 2 full days (40 hours, 35 minutes) to respond and only 10 minutes to take care of the problem.
Unfortunately this has been the typical type of service I’ve received since being here in the Philippines. I’m not sure if it’s the same way all over, but I’m betting it is.