An extra article: a tale of two power companies

A Tale of Two Power Companies


Recently, both Clodock and Michaelchurch Churches have needed to upgrade their electricity supply to three phase to accommodate their new heating and other developments. In each case, the same work has to be done: a trench has to be dug (the responsibility of the PCC), new cables have to be laid (the responsibility of Western Power Distribution) and a new meter has to be fixed (the responsibility of the relevant electricity supplier).


At Clodock, the trench was dug and the cables laid in April. The assumption was that Western Power Distribution and the electricity supplier would communicate with each other so that the meter could be fitted. (This was what happened at Michaelchurch.) It became apparent that this wasn’t going to happen, so in June the request was made to the electricity supplier to fit the new meter. We then waited. And waited. And waited. There was endless hassling, during which we were told that the delay was because the company was having to deal with power outages in the winter. (This was in the height of summer) A complaint was duly lodged and was accepted. We were offered £100 in compensation and an appointment between 8.00am and 10.0am on Friday September 5th. The accompanying letter said ‘I have spoken to our specialised team who will monitor your account and make sure that the appointment is upheld’. It wasn’t. There followed a spate of tweets, phone calls and emails, involving a vast amount of time and frustration resulting in our being offered an appointment in October. When this was rejected at being completely unacceptable, we were offered a 6-hour appointment in September. In other words, the power company having failed to honour a 2-hour appointment felt it completely OK to expect someone to sit in a cold church for 6 hours in the hope they might this time turn up. Eventually after much angst and increasing upset, we were offered a 2-hour slot on Friday September 11th, and, amazingly, they turned up. The job took less than an hour. The company concerned, recognising the anxiety they have caused and the time they have wasted - not forgetting the 2 hours that Judy Stone had to spend on Friday September 5th fruitlessly waiting for them to turn up - have offered us, at the time of going to press, the princely sum of £50 in compensation. (Its profits last year were £162.5 million.)


At Michaelchurch, I went on holiday for 10 days in July, and by the time I returned, the trench had been dug, the cables laid, the meter fixed and everything was hunky dory.


It is no part of our role to give recommendations. But we can give warnings. So this is to let you know that the supplier for Clodock is Npower and the supplier for Michaelchurch is Ecopower.


You have been warned.

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