Cut off (or, The Utilities Curse)

Sigh, I mentioned moving in my recent post. What I didn't mention is that while the move has gone smoothly for the most part, I've had a horrible time dealing with utilities. First, it was NS Power, my landlords are new and didn't realise that I could just call NSP and tell them I was moving to that address and put the power in my name, so they called to have the power disconnected. I was delaying calling NSP because I was trying to push back my move in date (and start of my lease) to the middle of December. NSP turned out to be surprisingly quick in disconnecting the power though, so there was no power at my flat at the beginning of the month. My landlords are new landlords so I don't blame them for not knowing that I could just take over the account and it was my own fault for not calling earlier.

What followed was a comedy of errors though. Because the power was turned off I had to turn the main switch for my power off for them to turn it back on. We looked for the main switch and couldn't find it, well we thought we found it but that was just the switch for the furnace. This was on a Friday, NSP said they'd be out on Monday (the 4th), it was cold over the weekend so I headed over on Monday evening to see if it was back on because I wanted to get the heat on. Of course it wasn't. To make things even more fun, it was a big snow storm that night and on the way back to my old place I saw all the power on my street go out, and it stayed out for a good 3 hours or so. To make matters more fun, the next morning I found out that my phone had died for some reason (it was on fine during the power outage and when the power came back). I called Eastlink from work the next morning, at first they said it was an outage in the area and would be back up shortly, it was still out later in the day and by that time the outage had been fixed so they had to send out a service tech the next day (Wednesday).

I didn't dare call NSP Monday night because I knew there were lots of outages so I called them the next day, they said they'd be out on Wednesday and again told me to turn off the main switch. I explained how we couldn't find the main switch so they told me to pull all the fuses, which should work as well. So I went back to my place that night and pulled all the fuses out. To add to all the fun, I was putting in a lot of overtime that week, because of that I was able to take Wednesday off. This turned out to be fortunate because when the Eastlink techs showed up they did some work but it didn't fix the line, they did some more looking and determined there was a problem that required another crew to come out and install some equipment to fix the problem, I finally got my phone back early in the afternoon.

Once I got my phone back I called NSP to see if they had been out, they couldn't check yet (the crews don't report in until the end of their shift) but they told me how to check on my meter if they had turned on the power. I went over to my new place and saw it wasn't turned on yet. I waited until later in the afternoon and checked again, still not on. By this time I was really getting worried about there being no heat in the place. I called back NSP and they again told me about the main switch, I explained again that we couldn't find it but I'd pulled all the fuses, they said there was still some load on the meter and couldn't turn it back on and it would be Friday when they could be out again and that I'd have to there when they did it because if there was still a load that time they wouldn't go back again. I argued with them for awhile, they finally agreed to send a tech out that night but they wanted to charge me an after hours fee. I fought over that and finally had the fee waived. My mother and I had to wait in a cold (by this time it was 3 degrees C in the flat), dark flat. They showed up, saw there was still a load on the line but he could turn it on because I was there (they just can't do it if I'm not there). Turns out that my main switch is in the other tenants basement, which makes things fun. Finally I had power though.

I put that behind me and focused on my move. Eastlink was set to come out on Friday (the 15th) to install my cable, phone and internet. They showed up around 2, he did a bit of work and then told me he couldn't do the install because he couldn't ground the cable line. This was a bit odd because there was cable there already and it was grounded off the meter for my electrical service but apparently they're no longer allowed to ground it that way. He told me he could put a ground post into the ground, which would interfere with the shared driveway so was out, or drill into the basement and connect to the electrical service. Of course that means the other tenant's basement (see, I told you this was fun). Fortunately they were home, we went into their basement but couldn't get near the electrical service because there were too many boxes in the way, and the installer said he'd still need permission from the landlord so he couldn't do it.

Much phoning to Eastlink ensued, which is really hard to do when you have no phone at home and no cell phone. The short version is that I've had numerous broken promises of call backs and I'm really getting tired of being asked, "don't you have a cell phone?" The most annoying part is that all the time they were trying to get something earlier for me, they never booked an install for me for the time they could get (which they could always cancel if they did get someone out earlier) so everytime I called they kept getting me a later install date. Finally I just settled on booking something for today (Wednesday), my mother took the morning off so she could be there for the installer.

I was hoping that would at least get me internet installed but I was still sceptical about the phone getting hooked up. I got a call from my mother and she told me the installer had been back out and had now declared that there was no ground wire on the electrical service so he couldn't ground off the service. The good news is that my landlords are incredible and when my mother called them they were more worried about me not having phone than the work that need to be done, they called their electrician and he went out right away to put the ground wire on. The bad news is that now I'm pushed back to Friday to get installed, I still have no internet or phone at home. I'm now going to start another round of calling to Eastlink but I'm not expecting much at this point. I'm really annoyed because the installer made it sound like we might need an electrician to add the wire and we couldn't check it the last time he was out. Now he's making it sound like he told me I would need an electrician out before he came back, which he definitely didn't make clear to me. The other thing that really bothers me is that if I actually had my phone service hooked up and then lost service they'd have to be out within 24 hours to fix it because it's an emergency service but it's apparently completely acceptable to leave me with no phone service for a week when it comes to getting it installed.

If Eastlink had have booked a new install for me the first time I called I would have been booked for Monday, if the installer had have clearly told me I absolutely needed an electrician out there I could have had one out on the Friday or the weekend, and everything would have been installed 2 days ago. Instead, I'm left waiting with no service for 2 more days. Hopefully this is the end of the utilities curse.