More NEPA / PHCN stories, for a reminder that stands for Nigeria Electric Power Authority / Never Expect Power Again and Power Holding Company of Nigeria / Problem Has Changed Name, for more info read my two previous posts Paying for Nepa or not? and PHCN became PHGA.
So after paying 20,000 Naira for our electricity two weeks ago, and finally getting re-connected we receive another bill for 17,800 Naira that says it is for June and July, its dated 29th July and that was the day we paid the previous bill.
So off I go to PHCN, first to customer service, then I am directed to the second office on the right. The customer service office is a clean air conditioned office where two staff sit with desks and computers and chairs for the waiting customers. The place I am directed to resembles a classroom with rows of desks, and a bookshelf at the back, and rather worryingly no papers, or computers - so how on earth do they track my electricity consumption?
This is the room of the "marketeers" which I found out are the people who "manage" my power supply, ie make sure I have paid, disconnect if I haven't, re-connect if I have. I am told I have to wait to see Helen, who looks after my area, she should be here sometime after nine, (it was around 8:30) so I sit and quietly fume about the inefficiency, why can't someone else see me, why have they sent me an incorrect bill, why are they wasting my time etc etc?
However when Helen arrives I change my mind, and wander if this really is customer service, she explains the bill to me, tells me where I have to pay, gives me until the end of the month to pay, and gives me her phone number in case I ever need to contact her if I can't pay on time, so that she won't have to disconnect.
So this customer service had me waiting for the right person to turn up, but at home, I could have been on the phone, on hold, transferred between many different people who ask me all the things I've already told the last person!
And for the record, the NEPA has almost become AEPN (always expect power now), this could be due to the rain, (as some of Nigeria's power is generated from hydro), or the cooler climate (fewer people turning on the AC) or maybe it is Goodluck himself, who when he was sworn in as President promised to take personal responsibility for the power sector.
We frequently lose power for about half an hour in the morning, after it is light, I notice as the ceiling fan stops going round, and occasionally at night, normally by the time I have found a candle, it comes back. I'm not looking forward to the dry season, and the resumption of hot candlelit nights, disturbed by the noise of generators.