By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]
Electricity supplier EDP has come under fire from Algarve MP Mendes Bota, who claims that it provides a poor service in the region, with frequent cuts in supply to households and street lighting.
“I live near Loulé where, for a long time now, cuts in the electricity supply are very frequent, both in the summer and winter months,” he said.
He says that electricity cuts happen in various places in the Algarve and refers to reports from residents in seven municipalities of the Algarve where cuts happen on average one or more times per month, and in another six municipalities where they claim more than one cut per week.
The outlook for street lighting in the region is not so bright either. “Many bulbs need to be replaced, with some being left not working for up to one year,” he said.
The MP said that the successive interruptions in supply result in damage to household appliances and computers and are “a huge inconvenience for people”.
“EDP is responsible for the distribution of low voltage electricity in the region and as providers of a public necessity, they should improve their services. I think this happens because they have the monopoly. If they had competition, it would lead to improved service levels,” said Mendes Bota.
He also referred to the Algarve’s importance in the country and its contributions to national economic growth due to tourism.
“EDP managers don’t hold back from increasing electricity rates, even in times of crisis. It would be good if they applied their profits to increasing the quality of their service,” he said.
Algarve resident India Sampson agrees that further competition in the sector is needed to make the company improve their services.
She told the Algarve Resident: “In my dealings with EDP, I have found them to be completely lacking in customer service and I have actually been shouted at down the phone by a member of their staff.”
She added: “I have made a formal complaint against the company but even with this, they refuse to acknowledge me and my disappointment with their service. I only wish that I had a choice in my electricity provider and if I did, I would certainly switch immediately and I am sure many others would also do so given the opportunity.”
Another resident, who asked not to be named, told the Algarve Resident: “In addition to the high prices charged by EDP, where I live, there is a street near my house that is completely dark between 2am and 5am almost every day and during the day we see the village lights on.”
In a document sent to the Portuguese parliament, Mendes Bota, the Social Democratic deputy, questioned the Ministry of Economy on the measures he will be adopting with special regard to the Energy Services Regulatory Authority (ERSE), which legislates and controls electricity services, to change this situation in the region.
Meanwhile, deputies and Parish Council presidents in Monchique unanimously approved a motion which criticises the EDP services in that council.
According to Parish council members, there is poor public lighting in the council especially in the main areas of Monchique, “which undermines the welfare and safety of people and properties”.
Despite being contacted on several occasions, EDP’s response time to requests from Monchique council is considered “truly outrageous” by the Parish Council presidents.
Monchique Municipal Assembly is about to launch a survey to assess EDP services in the municipality and press the company to correct, “immediately”, any problems highlighted.
The Algarve Resident contacted EDP but, at the time this edition went to press, no one from the company was available for comment.
Editor’s note: Over the years, the Algarve Resident has received several complaints from readers about the services provided by EDP. We would always recommend that they request the complaints book (Livro de Reclamações) at their local EDP office and make an official complaint.