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Sign here please

Whenever one moves house the opportunity arises to renew one’s acquaintances with the lovely folk working at your services providers and utilities.  These entities that shape our lives each have their own formalities and procedures, which for me at least have to be rediscovered from scratch.

DEWA – Dubai Electricity and Water Authority.  Upon finalising the tenancy contract of the new place you have to submit a copy to apply for a new connection.  Each apartment doorway has a small plaque with a nine digit number on it.  That’s the DEWA account number.

Side note: evidence of the UAE’s non existing data protection laws, one can call up DEWA on an automated line, punch in anybody’s account number, and be told the balance owed.  Same thing applies on the Dubai Police website with license plate numbers, for outstanding fines.

In spite of DEWA being this lumbering utility often alleged to hike rates at will, they do have a functional (albeit around 3 years outdated) website, which allowed me to submit the application for new connection.  Which by the way comes with a refundable deposit payable of Dhs 1,000.  I also managed to submit the request for final bill for the old apartment, although I don’t know how smooth (or otherwise) this will be as I just did it today and it takes a couple of days to process.

Du, competitive telecoms provider extraordinaire.  Sadly I had to stop my custom as the area I moved into is serviced by Etisalat only.  Du had hitherto been very helpful and flexible.  I was able to pay my bills by credit card.  When it came to closing the account and claiming my refundable deposit however I was told I had to go in person to an outlet for this.  Fine, they need signatures, but it’s nothing that mail cannot solve.

And of course Etisalat.  I went in person to an outlet to apply for broadband internet, opting to forgo TV and landline for now.  I like my distractions one at a time, thank you.  After a week and still no connection I called them up and was surprised when, after the usual 2 minutes of automated menus, the call center picked me up immediately.  Which is when I was informed that my application had been cancelled.  My incredulous (and somewhat loud) “what??” was cue for the operator to launch into a tale of engineering problems, one technology not working, there are three other technologies they can try (pardon me??), and reassurances that the application will be reinstated, but I should go in person to an outlet for more information.  Way to go Etisalat. 

While still deciding whether to take the apartment I had specifically asked if internet was readily available, to which I was assured by the real estate agent that after applying it should take only 3 working days.  Same was told to me by Etisalat the day I actually applied. I’m sick of being sold stuff which then doesn’t work like it says on the box.

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