Internet, and Electric

Djibouti Travel Blog

 › entry 7 of 11 › view all entries
I do not have internet service at my apartment because I do not want to live on the computer.  I spend 8-10 hours behind this glowing screen 6 days a week, so I really do not need any reason to spend any more time burning out my eye balls, or firing my brain.  My co-workers who live in two other apartments do have internet.  One apartment established the two month plan,  and the other apartment set up a six month plan.  Over the past 4 months the 6-month apartment never has had any problems with the internet except for a minor 3 hour outage one time, while the 2-month apartment has had their service disconnect at the beginning of every month since they established it 4 months ago, the reason given "failure to pay the bill".  The way it works is you pay the full bill up front for the length of service you establish, so you pay once every 6 months or once every 2 months.  The 6-month apartment has experienced the Djibouti 2-month plan in the past, with their monthly cuts for failure to pay so that is why they went with the 6-month plan.  It is known in the to know circles that the tele-com monopoly wants everyone to use the 6-month plan, so they purposely cut service every month to make it so annoying that you are forced into the 6-month plan.  They will of course deny it, but it is hard to deny when everyone has experienced the same cuts with the 2-month plan and good service with the 6-month plan.  More annoying, every time you are cut you have to go to the office to find out what the problem is, and then get a new access code which requires separate trips to different offices.   Oh and of course there is no competition so you have no choice, except for the one I have taken which is to not participate.

Electric is another beast.  Of course the price of electric can be located somewhere around the moon (out of sight), and the people working at the company are generally lacking of basic intelligence.  There is no concept of customer service, actually they act like typical city workers found in most places.  The meter reader confused my meter with my neighbor's meter.  Understandable, as the apartment number for each meter is located right above the meter, but who could blame this guy for not being able to figure that out it is rocket science.  Anyway, I get my neighbor's bill and he gets mine.  I don't know it is his bill because they fail to put any identifying language on the 'factor' (bill) or any meter reading.  All you see is the billed amount.  It looks low, but who am I to question the electric company?  I pay it.  Then my neighbor tells me he went to the electric company office and finds out that the meter ids are switched, and our bills are switched.  We go to the power company to get the bills put into the correct name, he paid his portion of the bill so all owed amounts are paid...we just need the name and bill invoices switched.  All DAY affair.  Sent from one office to another, in different parts of the city.  Finally an upper level manager gets involved, we knocked on his door.  He tried to send us back to our starting place, but when we commented that this is where we started our day he took charge himself.  He got it corrected within a few how hard was that? 

In Djibouti there is nothing easy.  Between the heat, Khat, and general lack of common sense nothing at all is easy..... so just have patience, and think kindergarten...

I know people in several neighborhoods who do not deal with the electric company for their electricity.  They use a local enterprising electrician to tap the power line un-noticed.  He charges 20,000 DF per month for 1/2 day service and 30,000 DF per month for full day service.  Just pay him and you have all the power you want.  He is located in the neighborhood that the police are scared to go into, and has his own gang of security.  I've met him.  A likable guy.  He would make for a real good politician in any country.
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