Saturday, December 25, 2010

Boiler update

Christmas Eve: After the non-fix of our Boiler System by British we tried to get a local plumber in. I was sufficiently annoyed that I sent off a long email to Customer relations at British Gas and the CEO of Centrica who own British gas. The basic problem, apart from not getting the system fixed is that we have British Gas Homecare contract for peace of mind and we had had anything but peace of mind. We also did what British Gas suggested, which was basically their job for them and rang round to see if we could get a local plumber in. Thanks to my wife's tenacity we managed to get a plumber we know who promised to send along two of his lads (I assume trainees) and then come along as soon as he could. Phew - hopefully something could be sorted even if it was too late to get new parts. For some strange reason (perhaps one of trust) I believed he would send someone along. At this point I really didn't trust British Gas. I also popped into Comet and bought a fan heater for back up.

Oh did I mention that overnight we ended up having to turn the whole system off (10pm) - heating and water heating - we had less water pressure and more clanking. It was weird going from a very noisy system to nothing. I then got up early (5am) and turned on the gas fire in the living room and set up a fan heater in the utility room and another one in the kitchen.

When I got up the fan heaters had not been very effectual - it just shows how high the power output is on the Gas Boilers and why we need more than one. I also got a reply from the CEO of Centrica - whilst it might not be him personally doing it, it was reassuring that at least his emails are read and responded to - in less than 5 days (which is what the BG Customer rep said "because they were FSA regulated". I think that is the new Health and Safety excuse. Excuse me but the five days is the maximum, a back stop, not something to boast about.

My son and I went out to collect the turkey and as promised two young plumbers turned up and methodically began to work through the issues. At this point I was ready to buy three more fan heaters and borrow two more from friends when I got a call from my wife. They had worked through the problems and had explanations for what was happening. Although it was too late to get new parts ordered they had instituted some temporary fixes and provided we kept the water levels topped up (along with a bucket where one of the boilers was leaking) it should tide us over Christmas. Their boss then also came over and checked through their assumptions (which were correct). So despite not having been through the British Gas Academy they certainly seemed to know what was what. As it happened I also got a call from Customer Relations at British Gas (score another point for the CEO, when he said something was going to happen it did. They were ready to send in an engineer, something the Customer rep from the day before had said was impossible.

Having sorted out the problem ourselves we did not need the BG engineer to come in but kept an Engineer's appointment for the 29th. The Customer relations person also gave me direct phone numbers and names for contacts should further problems follow. We also arranged that a different engineer would be visiting (rather than the one that indicated the system had been fixed). So far so good (I am writing this on Christmas Day - the house has been kept warm and we have hot water.

Happy Christmas.

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