On Wire theft, Globelines Contractor and MERALCO Woes

      16 Comments on On Wire theft, Globelines Contractor and MERALCO Woes

It started at 12:30 Sunday morning when Butch and I woke up to darkness with the airconditioner turned off. Oh no a brownout! Peering down our bay window, I discovered that the rest of our neighborhood had lights in their homes. Maybe our circuit breaker tripped. No worries. I turned the main switch off then on. Nothing. No lights. Time to call MERALCO call center (16211) to rule out a problem with their power supply to our house. They arrived within an hour.

The MERALCO service guy removed our electric meter and showed us the smoking main line leading to our house. I didn’t need to see it. I could smell burnt rubber. They said they could do nothing about it since the problem is inside the house. To prove his point, he showed us the electric current coming from their line which was running fine. Great. Something is short-circuiting our main line. Luckily, we were able to sleep despite having no whirring electric fan to cool us.

Fortunately, our electrician arrived early the next day. He found the source of the short-circuit problem which was the main line leading from the electric meter to the wires just before the circuit breaker. That shouldn’t be a problem. We can replace it easily. Still puzzled, I could not figure out what would cause our main line to burn. Just then, a neighbor passed by “You have an electricity problem too?”

I nodded. The neighbor explained that we are the fourth house to have no power source. Hmm, sounds fishy. Minutes later, a MERALCO personnel passed by our house to ask if we noticed a wire dangling down our post (We are in a corner lot). The missing wire is a ground wire that protects the surge of power that goes through your electric meter. This information I gathered from my neighbor who used to be a MERALCO manager. It makes sense now. When the power resumed after a brownout, the surge probably overheated our main line causing the insulation to melt.

The plot thickens. The neighbors started to gather around our house saying that two weeks ago, they noticed a GLOBELINES contractor van along the road with men fixing the cables until late at night. Though we have no evidence to pinpoint the GLOBELINES contractor, it makes sense that whoever stole the neutral (ground) wire is someone who has access to a tall ladder. Working till 7:00 PM to fix their cable lines is terribly suspicious. No wonder, GLOBELINES replaced their contractor just recently. I was told by the repairman who fixed my internet connection that they were the new contractors.

Naturally after spending money on new wires and electrician fees, I didn’t want the incident to repeat. This is where I called my bitch powers to work for me.

Call Number 1

Me: Can you please send someone to check on our ground wires to make sure it is replaced?

Customer service: Maam, you have to report it to your branch office?

Me: Excuse, aren’t you customer service? Aren’t you the one in charge of customer complaints? Besides, it’s a holiday today. Your branch office is closed.

(The customer service like a robot repeatedly states that our electricity is restored. He sounded like a CD track on repeat. Geesh.)

Me: (exasperated) Stop repeating the same sentence. My concern is about the missing ground wire not my main line as I am fixing it at the moment.

Customer service: Maam, our senior agent will take your call.

The senior agent dutifully gives me a service report number where I can follow-up my complaint. Sure enough, the MERALCO arrives. He looks around and sees that our electricity is restored. The neighbors gather again outside bitching the same electrical woes.

Call Number 2

Me: May I know the progress of my report number xxxxxx?

Customer service: It has been restored.

Me: what has been restored?

Customer service: Your electricity.

Me: I did not report about my electricity. That is another report number. This report number xxxxx is regarding the missing ground wire.

I started to explain that even if our power was restored, I feared that the same problem would recur if the missing ground wire is not replaced soon.

Me: if my main line short-circuits again, I will hold you accountable for the damage.

The MERALCO guys just arrived an hour ago, inspected the post and verified indeed that the ground wire was missing. Finally, I get results.

So what’s the point of this rant?

1. MERALCO will not take action (i.e. replace the ground wire) if you don’t report the problem. They may note that there is a missing ground wire but it ends there. You have to be specific with your report. As a consumer, one needs to be vigilant about the safety of our electricity source.

2. Watch out for the cable guys and ISPs’ contractors who are tinkering with cable wires . Make sure they don’t steal the electric wires. Some of these workers are notorious for stealing wires and selling it off . Be suspicious if they work till after 6PM during darkness when one can’t see what they are doing anymore. Get their names and look at their identification cards.

3. It pays to be persistent. Who else will ensure the safety of your house if not yourself? As a consumer, it is our right to follow-up legitimate concerns. Fortunately, the MERALCO call centers can easily be reached and won’t hold you up for long in the queue.

It’s just sad that I, the consumer needed to turn on her bitch powers to get things done.

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1385 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

  • Ade

    Darn. I mean, if Meralco already reported that the ground wire, shouldn’t they replace it ASAP? It shouldn’t be the customer’s responsibility to follow-up these things.

    Ades last blog post..I Think My Old Friends Are Scared Of Me

  • Bitch powers worked for me as well. If I didn’t bitch on the phone about our 2-month supposedly-cut-off-but-still-charged broadband connection, we might be receiving another billing statement and swell our balances to 10 grand.

    I love my illegal broadband connection. 🙂

    Neils last blog post..Charice Pempengco’s Performances – Oprah, Paul O’Grady, and David Foster

  • @ade They won’t respond to reports kung di ka magfa-followup. In my case, thrice. They’re just lazying around… 🙁

    Neils last blog post..Charice Pempengco’s Performances – Oprah, Paul O’Grady, and David Foster

  • Ok now this post has me a bit worried. There was a “Globe” contractor 2 days ago near my house with a tall ladder and some guy on it. The vehicle looked suspicious so I reported it to the guard. He just confirmed that they were, indeed, contractors for Globe. I’ll be checking our wires just to make sure.

    Well, nowadays, you need bitch powers to get through to thick skulled customer care reps. You’re right..para silang mga robot.

    Kongkong622s last blog post..Money Talk

  • @Ade- I don’t understand myself why didn’t take intiative to correct it when obviously, it is the possible cause of our electrical woes

    @Neil- Kulit power to the max but it’s such a waste of productive time waiting on the phone.

    @kongkong- I hope it’s the new contractor that doesn’t steal wires.

  • mia

    bitch power rules 🙂

  • Congress should really look into how utilities conduct their customer support services.

    We need more consumer protection laws.

    jhays last blog post..Globelines broadband speed cannot be upgraded in Silang, Cavite

  • @mia- why do we need bitch power to make these men move.

    @jhay- tama. I have more to say about consumer protection but that will be in another entry.

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  • Noemi, we have had the same problem Saturday night around 7pm when the wires around the block started exploding like firecrackers. And if its just electricity, how come our PLDT service was also affected. We had the electricity restored and wires repaired around midnight and phone service restored Wednesday pa.Tagal dumating Meralco, houses could have been affected by then, good things there were two fireturcks on a standby just in case.

    Imagine, halos sabay-sabay. LAst night too, brownout again, and no PLDT at the same time. I have been wondering why these two are happening together.

    julies last blog post..Kalayaan – Freedom

  • how exasperating…. we worry about people loitering in front of our houses, now we also have to worry about men in legitimate uniforms and make sure there’s no hanky panky while they do their job. ano ba yan.

    lady cesss last blog post..The Mysterious X

  • wait. they KNEW what the problem was yet they didn’t take action until you reported it? my goodness. no wonder our country’s not moving forward.

    mnels last blog post..Nostalgia

  • I don’t think I’m that confident in bringing out the bitch powers myself. But your pointers are absolutely correct. I’ve noted each one.

  • I should think too that the first time a Meralco man came and checked, they could have pinpointed the problem even before the electrician and the neighbors did. When they found an alibi it was out of their hands, they stopped na?

    Not everyone is endowed with bitch powers. Paano na sila?

    annamanilas last blog post..When You Do Things You Don’t Have To (Going the Extra Mile)

  • bitch mode works well for my mom too! practically anywhere you call, masungit ang mga sumasagot. by the way, i hope you dont mind ha, i will add your site to the links on my blog.=)

    marielles last blog post..Horror and Monsters

  • dennis

    we’ve been a customer for as long as i can remember ng globe landline, and for globelines broadband mga 2 years na. pero sobrang pambabastos ang ginawa nila sa amin. nagoverdue kami ng bayad for a month tapos i made it a point to settle on the day na sinabi nilang puputulan kami ng phone/internet, pero after payment, dinisconnect nila kami ng walang abog abog. tapos nung tinawagan namin to ask for reconnection, sabi ng magaling na call center person, 24 hours, na naging 48 hours, na naging 72 hours, na naging hanggang ngayon (more than 4 days na). araw araw naming tinawagan at inupdate pero sa sobrang pagkaincompetent nila, at pagkagahaman sa pera, walang nagawa ang mga magulang ko kundi magantay ng reconnection.
    ipapadisconnect ko na ang landline ng globe, pati internet nilang mabagal. ang daming option dyan. imagine 2 years naming tiniis bayaran ang 1800/month (nung kinuha namin, walang promo promo) at the astounding speed of 20 kbps (i have the screenshot of the speed test to prove), pero ganun ganun na lang kaming bastusin ng globe na yan.
    i discourage anyone to avail of this very customer unfriendly service from the most inconsistent and most unreliable service provider.