Friday, October 25, 2013

Maynilad Water Chronicles: The Clusterf$%#, Part 1

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This is the second post in our Maynilad Water chronicles. This time, we will talk about just how inept their record keeping skills are in the face of a massive overhaul in a given area. This involves a technique used by Meralco in high-risk areas called clustering, and is efficient – if utilized correctly. Needless to say, Maynilad has yet to be able to do this.

clustered meters

These are clustered meters, the face of Maynilad evil.

In a certain high-risk neighborhood in the city, Maynilad sent an away team of contractors to replace a series of meters, and to cluster them in a certain portion of the area. This means that the meters in the street are put together in a row, and then caged in order to deter any attempts to tamper with them. Now, if you read my previous post on how incompetent the system can get, then you’ll have an idea of how clustering can become a complicated mess. But basically, it goes a little something like this: neither Maynilad nor the contractors tell you what your new meter number is, and neither your account, nor your billing statement, will reflect your new meter number as well.

This happened in today’s case study. The meter of, let’s call it account X, was removed from his premises, clustered together with the rest of the meters in his area, and activated. Sounds simple enough. There were, however, several problems with this endeavor by the water company.

First, and the biggest problem, was that the account holder was nowhere near the premises at the time of the reinstallation. There was nobody at the address at the time, therefore there was nobody with any right to provide the contractors with the permission to pull out the meter and put it in a cluster. When faced with this situation, the only proper, legal, and moral thing to do would be to leave the owner of the meter a note, informing them of their plans to centralize all of the meters in the area, and to please set aside a given date for this endeavor. The contractor, in all their brilliance, went to the baranggay for permission instead. The baranggay, on their part, gave the contractors full permission to pull out a meter that wasn’t even their responsibility to begin with. And thus, Account X’s problem began.

Secondly: the contracting team did what any irresponsible contractor for Maynilad would do in a similar situation: they pulled out the meter, centralized it in a cluster, took down the new meter number – and did not give the account holder any information about his new meter. Maynilad, on their part, did the same thing, but more on that later.

And finally, it seems as if the contractors did not do their jobs properly. When Account X’s new meter was installed, it seems as if the change in the ENTIRE CLUSTER of meters was not recorded at all. Within a few months of reinstallation, the owner of Account X awoke to find out that there was no more water in his house. This was strange, because as of his last billing, his total bill did not go higher than Php150.00. Definitely not a reason for cutting off the water. So he did what anybody would do in a situation such as this: he called Maynilad’s hotline, and lo and behold, his account was NOT for disconnection, and this anomaly was up for investigation.

So what happened to this account? Why was there no water, if there had been no order for disconnection? Was it just another fluke? Or was there really something wrong with the pipes in the account holder of Account X’s house? Stay tuned for the next post to find out how the saga of the Maynliad Water Clusterfuck ends.

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