The lyric of the film theme says “Who you gonna call ?/Ghostbusters !”
And I don’t know who else to call. In 2016 I began to buy my gas and electricity from EDF, a large company, French holding company, sounded safe enough. I told them I was elderly, lived alone and had eye problems. I was not going to have a smart meter (the promotion for which was voiced as a choice) and didn’t use a mobile telephone (clumsy, hate the sound quality and regard the philosophy with suspicion). I paid by direct debit. Don’t tell me what everybody else does. I account for me.
And of course the pandemic played hell with work patterns. Through 2021, men (precise term) accredited to EDF read both meters 18 January, 11 February, 12 March and from then on, for no reason that they could give me, the gas meter only – 9 May, 23 August and in 2022 16 May. I presumed (never presume) that EDF knew what they were doing.
Discovering I could put meter readings through on line, I did, a number of times. I received the same form through the post repeatedly asking me for all my details which have all remained exactly the same, and I filled them in and returned them, including once a full description of the gas meter as I saw it – and this I sent through the post, to an EDF address in Plymouth. No response.
Eventually (now, I think I was slow,: then, I thought I was not making an unnecessary fuss) I rang customer services.
Customer services online were revealed to be long on modern courtesies (“Have a nice day!”) and short on information. End of June, I got a woman with an accent I could identify (radio ears) who told me that I hadn’t had the meter read for a long time. The six visits reading the meter(s) “didn’t count.” The meter readings on line “didn’t count”. And she didn’t answer when I asked why the electricity meter hadn’t been read. I must send a photograph of the gas meter. I said what about the electricity meter. The gas meter, she insisted.
I explained about the lack of mobile, she confirmed by name on email what she wanted: I asked Amy Capable to help, the picture was sent. I waited three weeks and sent all the details through again. No response.
Suddenly EDF sent me the offer of a new tariff – yes, I know it’s from a computer but even a computer is programmed. Miracles, wonderful, two years fixed rate at more money, £150 back to help you, in the small print it can be cancelled at any time. And I saw
So I emailed customer services and asked why I was being offered a new tariff when I was in dispute and waiting to hear from them, wrote all the details out again. And on Wednesday 27 July 2022 got up to an email which said “Thank you for your email, I can see this account in contention has already been ended with us, please let us know if we have missed any details … Have a nice day and stay safe.”
I went on line, I found a telephone number, I got the voice of a young man in Kwa Zulu Natal which is where EDF’s call centre is. I gave him my account number, he asked for my name and (first time) date of birth. I explained. “No” he said “ the account is not closed.” I asked for his patience and told him the story without histrionics, but insisted he listened to the whole story, including the terms under which EDF took me on.
He said the meter reading visits counted, though he could not explain not reading the electricity meter. He could not explain why the readings on line were ignored. He could not explain no response to the requested photograph of the gas meter. He wanted to make an appointment to have the meters read. I said “On two conditions: one, you confirm this arrangement to me on email and two, it is for both meters because the electricity meter has not been read for over a year.” He gave me a complaints number, though as of this writing, I have not heard a word. Ghostbusters.