Firstly, I’d like to apologise for my Halloween blog being a day late but after you’ve read this column you’ll understand why. Secondly, I apologise for needing to vent my spleen this month. I had intended to have a thoughtful but light-hearted column to act as an antidote to the Halloween piece but events have conspired against me. Next month’s piece (which I have already written) is a lighter and festive exploration of the silly season. Now on to the events of the last few weeks…
On October 19th, the water heater in my council flat broke down and so began a chain of events that have highlighted just how, in my opinion, incompetent Thurrock Council can be. My wife called the out-of-hours repairs service that evening and was told that a workman would be out the following day; however, when I called the next morning to get an approximate time for the workman’s visit, I was told that the call hadn’t been logged. Two more calls and a trip to the council offices finally got some results. Unfortunately, the problem didn’t get fixed until the 21st or, at least, the work wasn’t finished until then. The fault, however, remained unfixed.
The problem with the water heater meant that we didn’t have any water above lukewarm temperature for the last two weeks of October despite a number of call-outs to get it fixed. Was the problem fixed by the beginning of November? Of course not! In fact, at the time of writing this on November 16th, and after numerous phone calls, several complaints and about a dozen call-outs, we still have little or no hot water. On at least one occasion, a job number was raised but no one at the council called the contractor. Council workers are also adept at passing the buck from one to the other when you try to phone in a complaint – that is, if they don’t cut you off first. Written complaints get either a standard response or a reply that says they haven’t done anything wrong. My wife and I remain without hot water, however, and, as the weather gets colder, we are at risk of developing health problems.
This situation is intolerable and begs the following questions:
Why hasn’t the problem been fixed by now?
Does Thurrock Council get their equipment from Derek Trotter?
Why do complaints seem to fall on deaf ears?
Would local councillors put up with this situation if they were in this position?
In fact, are there any local councillors in council properties?
It seems to me that, rather than being council tenants, my wife and I are council victims. A simple water heater repair should not turn into a full-blown saga, but that’s what it has become and it’s getting to the point that I think it would be quicker and more effective to write a letter to Santa asking for a new unit for Christmas rather than deal with Thurrock Council.
See you next month!
Opinions expressed by the contributor are his own and not necessarily the views of YourThurrock.