BCM helplines prove helpless when needed

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Buffalo City Metro has insisted its electricity helpline numbers are working fine, but for a bit of “congestion” during outages.

Last Thursday, during an outage in Mdantsane, a reporter tried for two hours to call the only advertised electricity fault number, (043)763-8656. An automated message replied: “The network is busy”.

BCM has insisted that its electricity helpline numbers are working fine, but for a bit of “congestion” especially during outages

BCM communications official Bathandwa Diamond later said a second number, (043)708-5600, was also available to the public.

A Dispatch check on BCM’s website and Facebook page revealed no sign of this number.

In a further revelation for weary ratepayers trying to get after-hours service, it turns out the promise of a 24-hour customer care centre is limited to a 24-hour “call-in” system.

The walk-in customer care system only operates between 7am and 5pm, but it does so “seven days a week”, said Diamond.

The Dispatch tested this out and tried to visit the 24-hour centre after hours but was denied entry by security at the gate.

Diamond said: “Access to the centre is possible between 7am and 5pm, seven days a week. However, it is not a 24-hour walk-in centre, it is a 24-hour telephonic fault reporting centre.”

Diamond conceded that the lines became jammed at times. “The number (043)763-8656 is not malfunctioning but is congested during peak periods and that is why (043)708-5600 is available.”

This number is not on the BCM website, nor their Facebook page; nor the billboard outside the customer care centre in Fort Jackson.

Diamond said: “We have 20 telephone lines coming into the call centre, four of which are on (043)763-8656 and 16 on (043)708-5600. Both have been communicated to the departments and councillors and listed on the social media site.”

 

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