DP saga continues

Dear Editor,
I wrote a letter about issues with the electricity power supply/EDP which was published last autumn. In essence, my concern at the time was with the large numbers of power cuts (varying in duration for several in less than five minutes to others which lasted up to four hours) which occurred mainly from June to November 2015 – incidentally, still occurring on a far less frequent basis. Frequent contact with EDP and their (apparently separate) technical arm were abortive.

It was never possible to get any answer about the reason for the cuts or when they would stop. The current issue is separate but I believe linked.

It is now the time when last year’s usage is calculated by EDP – any over/under payments defined and the monthly payments set out for 2016. As we had not heard anything, we went into the EDP office in Albufeira last week to find out what was happening. We discovered a number of disturbing things:
– our end-of-year usage was only estimated, being based on a reading taken in July 2015
– a large underpayment was to be demanded/taken
– the monthly charge was to increase by some 50% on the basis of an apparent massive increase in usage in the last year (which cannot be correct).

I then took the current reading on the meter and went back to the EDP office the next day – incidentally, the reading essentially matched their figure.

It was a long and not very fruitful discussion in the EDP office. I made the point that the vast number of power cuts in 2015 were very likely to have affected the meter at our house – particularly on the occasions when the power went off/on two or three times in less than five minutes.

Each time the power went back on there would be a significant surge before stabilising at the correct level. These frequent surges would likely affect sensitive equipment. EDP offered to send someone to look at the equipment but agreed that the check would merely confirm that the dials were turning!

A full technical check on the meter would mean taking it away and sending to an apparently independent organisation, at a substantial cost to be borne by us. Eventually, I got the oral admission that I was not the only consumer to come in and complain.

After some persistence, I found out that the most vocal complainer lived in our area. I was then belatedly advised that as of the last six weeks or so it was possible to have an additional piece of equipment attached to our meter to check for problems/technical faults. This service would only be put in place for seven days (totally inadequate) and would cost €20-30 which would only be refunded if a fault was found.

The other complainant (mentioned above) had paid for this equipment to be installed a few weeks ago – fortunately (for him) a power cut occurred during his week. Negotiations are apparently underway with him over significant bill reductions as a fault was found. Somehow, I doubt we will be so lucky.

It would be interesting to know whether other readers are experiencing the same substantial bill increases, particularly if they are in the area which covers Paderne and the zone, half way to Ferreiras and most of the way to Messines, which experienced the power cuts in the last year. I would also be grateful for any suggestions for other action on our part.

John Hunt, by email