Meralco is the power company of the Philippines.
Yes, THE power company. There is no other, ever, anywhere. It used to be government owned and operated during the Marcos years but then the following president spun it off to a corporation that can charge whatever the hell it wants for power.
After living here for several years I can deal with a lot...
I can deal with the constant power outages with no known reason for anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes at a time.
I can deal with the increases in charges per KWH every 6 months or so.
I can even deal with a bill being due 5 days after it is printed.
However, I cannot deal with the absolute hell that we've been dealing with for the last 3 months.
Let me summarize:
We have very little in the form of electrical stuffs.
1 medium size refrigerator
1 PC with flat panel monitor (no printer or scanner)
1 evaporative cooler (either this OR the fans are on, not both at the same time)
various cell phones and gadgets that are only plugged up to charge, then chargers unplugged and put away quickly.
We have had these same items for years and when we lived in another part of the city we only paid between P800 and P1100 for power.
When we moved to this new apartment two years ago we continued this trend, then oddly a year ago it spiked to around P1700. We had the meter calibrated and then assumed that the change was something to do with new rates.
In February the power bill went down a bit, then a bit more in March and in April it was all the way down to P400 and then in May it was P6.
Yes, you read that right.. P6 which is about 12 cents US. Something was definitely not right. I had already communicated in April to the maintenance that there may be a problem since the power dropped so much and then in May I informed Meralco who just said "i dunno" and refused to check on it.
Well, then in June I got a bill for P2,500 and I jumped out of my skin.
I checked the KWH consumption and did some power consuming math. All of our electrical stuff combined running 24 hours a day all month long could not have used up all the power we were getting billed for. So I called Meralco, the customer service people looked up my info, we did a collective "holy crap!" and they dispatched tech teams.
Unfortunately these teams arrive when I'm at work and my wife isn't very technical so she doesn't really know what to tell them or ask them and they are able to use a bunch of mumbo-jumbo to talk her out of some tests that I specifically wanted done. I wanted a line trace done to verify that our meter box was connected to our apartment and ONLY our apartment. This is what I told Customer service and my wife. What did the techs do? Meter calibration (note that it had already been done a year prior).
I got home and was moderately irritated that the techs hadn't done what was needed but decided to wait and see. The tech told my wife that probably what happened is the meter reader made a mistake in May and then corrected it in June. (NOT an acceptable explanation though)
July came and the bill is HOLY SMOKES! P2,900!!!
So I call Meralco again... and again.. and again! Finally on the 11th of July I'm able to get a management type person who I convince to walk with me through all 2 years of our power consumption and express to her that we have NOT BOUGHT ANY NEW ELECTRONICS OR APPLIANCES so therefore our power consumption should be nearly the same. She cited the mere fact that the May bill showed ZERO power consumption so there was clearly a problem. CLEARLY a problem.
Today, nearly a month later, the techs visited our apartment (again while I was at work). What did the tech do? Shut off the power in our meter box for 10 minutes, saw no movement on the meter and said "no problem" then left.
I. am. livid.
I have no idea what to do.. it's like they know I can't really do anything against them so they keep screwing me over at every turn!
EDIT: UPDATE: Just for kicks we shut off the power for an hour and a half last night. Guess what? Meter showed power consumption! I guess whoever is connected to our meter isn't there in the middle of the day (gee whodathunkit?).