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The pain in Spain: One man's nightmare battle for electricity

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The pain in Spain: One man's nightmare battle for electricity
Thomas Rowland and the generator he was forced to buy after Endesa cut him off. Photo: Thomas Rowland / The Local
12:30 CEST+02:00
When Thomas Rowland, 27, and his husband Jordan, moved into a villa on Lanzarote's Teguise coast last November, he went into the local Endesa office and dutifully filled in the forms to transfer the supply contract into his name.

Five months later, and after paying the monthly bills, the supply was suddenly cut off with no warning.

This is one man's tale of frustration as he does battle with Endesa, the largest electric utility company in Spain.

"It was 1:30AM in the morning on Thursday 12th April, my husband and I were lying in bed watching TV when the power went off. Now, this is Lanzarote so being the norm, we thought it was a power cut and went straight to sleep.

The next morning we woke only to find that what we originally thought was a power cut was the start of a long “nightmare”!

I was panicking because I work from home and knew I had to work but I thought by putting a quick call into my electricity provider Endesa, they could fix the problem in no time.

How wrong I was!

Back and forth on the phone, with them cutting me off consistently, one woman eventually insisted that the contract with Endesa to supply electricity to my flat had been cancelled and that I must visit the Endesa office in Arrecife, Lanzarote to sort it out.

I jumped in a taxi, because time was of the essence, but when I got there, an employee told me that I was best going to another office in Arrecife as they were so much better for dealing with complaints.

I had brought along my original contract, signed and dated November 21st, 2017, but when I presented it at the office I was told there was no record of it but they could draw up a new contract and the supply would be connected in around seven working days.

I tried to remain calm and asked for an explanation as to why a contract I had signed five months ago was not valid.

The woman behind the counter informed me, it was not her problem and my only choice was to wait seven days.

I sighed. Seven days! In the absurd hope that they might fast track the reconnection, I told them we had a new born baby at home. (we don't, but are planning to start a family).

Unperturbed the woman repeated to me that she hadn't been the one to cancel my contract so it wasn't her problem!

With no obvious solution I had to take the expensive decision to buy a generator at a cost of nearly €1,000 to power our home until the reconnection.


The noisy generator causing problems with the neighbours.

It makes so much noise that my neighbours are complaining.

Despite explaining about the disconnection, we are getting dirty looks and whispers when our paths cross as if we caused all this by not paying our bills.

If only that were the case! Endesa would have reconnected me within 24 hours if that were the issue.

Even swapping to another supplier wouldn't work since everything goes through Endesa here in Lanzarote!

Far from being helpful in resolving my situation, I have been variously told to “shut up” and had my requests for a complaint form declined.

I have not come across one  single person from Endesa who is actually interested and wants to help.

Instead I've been caught up in a cycle where I have to repeat myself five times per day just repeating my name and NIE number!

I have taken to Twitter and Facebook where they start the conversation, advise me that they need my name, NIE etc to deal with my enquiry only to be ignored again.

So five days after being plunged into darkness, there was still no light at the end of the tunnel. No complaints form, no resolution and no closer to waking from this utter nightmare.

Eventually, after being passed between numerous people for five days, I finally got some sort of answer.

“It seems the contract wasn't processed because there was already an existing one on that property but now the error has been realised a new supply will be provided between 7-10 days.”

10 days now!

But they still took my money for months before disconnecting without warning.

All we are asking for is our electricity to be connected with the same ease as it was disconnected.


Thomas and Jordan in happy times.

We've loved living in Lanzarote but I'm at the point where I'm rethinking a future a country where if something goes wrong, nobody wants to know, care or help.

I don't even want an apology, I just want to be able to turn on the lights.

Editors note: The Local put a call in to Endesa for an explanation and was told: "We want to apologise for the problems Thomas is having. I can't tell you exactly what has happened and why he was cut off or why he can't be reconnected immediately but I'm going to look into it and promise we will do everything possible to solve the issue." 

 

 

 

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