Mainova suck

Feb 27 2011 Published by under Cultural Observation, German Life

Some of you might have noticed that Grrl and I were offline for much of last week. This, urrm, wasn't panned. But the lights went out.

try this if you prefer

It started last Tuesday when Grrl called me to say that our power had gone off. After a bit of thought, I decided it could be that our power company, Mainova, had switched us off because I hadn't got round to paying the bill for a couple of months. Ooops, stupid me. So I rushed off to the bank and paid. Then I rang Mainova, and they confirmed that they had switched the power off because of the unpaid bill, and told me that I just had to fax the right form to them that says I have paid. Hm. Back to the bank, and ask them to fax away. I rang Mainova again, and they told me that it was fine, and that power would be restored on Wednesday afternoon.

That night I had to rush put and buy some candles and torches, so that Grrl and I could sit in the dark and read. We also have four aquaria, of different sizes, and of course the heaters and pumps were turned off. The only thing we could think to do to keep them going was to turn the heating up full (that's separate from the electricity), and change water regularly. Of course our water was cold because it wasn't being heated. Which meant we filled buckets with (cold) water, and them left them in the kitchen to warm up.

On Wednesday I went to work happy that the problem was sorted. But guess what when I got home on Wednesday evening? No power. I rang Mainova again, to be told that I had to pay a further €180 to get the power switched back on. Err, thanks. That's steep, and absolutely ridiculous that I wasn't told this already - didn't anyone in Mainova's help centre know that they charge to turn power on? Isn't it their job to know these things? Actually, their technician had left a bill, but that was in German, so I hadn't looked at it (and anyway I couldn't read it in the flat because, well, we had no power).

Aargh. Anyway, all we could do was continue to change water and read in the dark, and wait for Thursday morning, when I could return to the bank to pay the extra surcharge.

Please, sir, can we have some of your electricity?

So, Thursday morning and off to the bank. I paid the extra money, and the bank sent off the fax. I went to work and rang Mainova from there to check that the fax hadn't arrived. It hadn't. Aaaagh! Right, back to the bank. They said the fax had been sent correctly (but bizarrely the documentation said it was sent whilst I was waiting in the queue to ask whether it had been sent. Bizarre? Well, I was holding the documentation at the time). After an hour of queuing, sending faxes and phoning different people at Mainova, they finally confirmed that they had received the fax, and that power would be restored in the afternoon, some time after 2pm. Every time I rang, it seemed like they flipped a coin for each fax to decide if they knew of it or not. There are times when some of us wish we could do this with our experimental data...

Being a bit paranoid, I rang in the afternoon to check that they would turn our electricity back on. But first they told that they had no record of the first fax (from Tuesday). Um, panic. And try not to swear. It turned out that they knew about the fax, but the information had been mislaid. Well done, folks.

Anyway, back home in the evening, happy that everything would be OK: power would be restored between 2pm and 9pm. Around 8:30pm I started to worry that they might not be coming, so I tried to ring Mainova, but no answer.

The fish, of course, were less than happy by this time, and of course we avoided opening the fridge; if we waited longer and were lucky then whatever was in there might evolve a deodorant.

When I rang Mainova again on Friday morning, I found out why they hadn't turned our power on. The technician had come round, but the switch was behind a locked door, and he hadn't been able to find a caretaker. This is despite us living above a shopping centre, with a help desk as well as a security booth. It's possible that the guy wouldn't have been able to find them, but apparently he was unable to find our flat, or even the doorbell, in order to ask us for help finding the caretaker.

Anyway, I was told that power would be restored (for those not keeping score, it was switched off on Tuesday, and this was Friday; it should have been turned on on Wednesday and Thursday). Amazingly, at about 1:30, stuff like lights and the fridge started working again. Once we had recovered from the shock (electricity is so fucking LOUD), we started emergency operations on the aquaria. This meant lots of water changing and cleaning up of fish shit. Even though our aquaria had been kept warm, the faster rate of evolution hadn't lead to the development of the aquatic roll-on, so the tanks ponged. Thus was our afternoon spent, after which we retired for a pizza, leaving the fridge for Saturday in the hope that the worst denizens of the freezer would have iced up.

Saturday was spent replacing food and engaging in major operations on the fridge, armed with a cloth, cleaner, water, and a nosepeg. The parrots were finally released from a diet of apples (The Beast's food comes in don't-need-to-refrigerate packages, so he was well looked after. Well, except he didn't appreciate us turning up the heating to full).

So, we're finally getting back to normal. Grrl is now much more relaxed: she really is addicted to the web. I only have n emails to deal with, and the usual backlog of blog ideas to decide are too old to be timely. The good news is that we both had time to read books.

But Mainova are very much in our bad books. How can a power company be so incompetent that they can't even turn on a switch? The bastards even charged us €180 for the joy of not having a switch turned on. Even when they turned up, it took them two tries to get to the switch. It's just a simple fucking switch.

Mind you, it shouldn't be too difficult to pay a bill on time, should it?

12 responses so far

  • Christina Pikas says:

    Good grief! You would think they could manage a lot of that centrally. Faxes? Really?

    • Bob O'H says:

      Apparently the payment takes a day or two to go through, so they needed a confirmation that it had been registered.

      I would have used my electronic banking, but I'd been given some new codes, and when I emailed asking how to activate them, I got a reply (in English) saying that they only respond to messages in German. This is a large German bank, and we're in Frankfurt, which is a big centre for European banking (and has also just taken over the NYSE).

      • Fred the Bulbous Squidge says:

        when I emailed asking how to activate them, I got a reply (in English) saying that they only respond to messages in German

        So you replied and said - "So why did you reply to this one then?! Ha! Gotcha!"

  • grrlscientist says:

    bob, you REALLY need an editor.

    • The Founding Mothers says:

      Come on, Grrl, it's hard to see the keys when it's so dark.
      Oh. Wait...

      Mind you, it shouldn’t be too difficult to pay a bill on time, should it?

      Missing Finland yet?

  • Shana says:

    I'm living in Münster and had a similar experience with the 'customer service' while having our internet switched when we moved. Fun things like waiting 5 wks for them to flip a switch, saying the tech came but no one was home (someone was), flipping the wrong switch when they did come, and when we called, telling us (in English) "this is a German hotline, no one here speaks English" (after that a kind co-worker made calls on our behalf). Our co-worker told us "this is typical Germany" when we expressed shock at the customer service. Granted, this was just internet, not electricity, so not quite as dire.

  • Thony C says:

    My electricity bill gets booked as a fixed sum automatically each month with a correction, usually to my advantage (I get money back!), once a year, That way you don't have to worry about paying the bill!

    Rule No. 1 never ever ring a hotline!

  • You know, sometimes I wonder if everyone else has to deal with the patently ridiculous bureaucratic bullshit that seems designed to destroy any semblance of productivity that might otherwise exist in my life.

    Now I know.

  • Yet another reason why fax machines suck.

    Glad you're back in the modern world!

  • Dear Bob O´H,

    We want to say sorry about the discomfort you had around the electricity connection of Mainova Service Dienste GmbH last week.

    Therefore we would like to offer you a credit for the expense of connection. Which will be 98,07 Euro total.
    If you accept our offer please contact us at the known contact details of Mainova Service Dienste GmbH.

    With best regards,

    Julia Schiller

    Mainova ServiceDienste GmbH
    Forderungsmanagement (S2-SF1)
    Gutleutstraße 280
    60327 Frankfurt

    Tel.: (069) 213 - 26822
    Fax: (069) 213 - 22770
    eMail: j.schiller@mainova-servicedienste.de

  • Dear Bob O´H,

    We want to say sorry about the discomfort you had around the electricity connection of Mainova Service Dienste GmbH last week.

    Therefore we would like to offer you a credit for the expense of connection,
    which will be 98,07 Euro total.
    If you accept our offer please contact us at the known contact details of Mainova Service Dienste GmbH.

    With best regards,
    Mainova Service Dienste GmbH