I’m not sure that you want me to keep ranting about our water problems, I’ll try to be brief although the situation does seems to occupy us constantly and has many complex issues.
We made it clear we weren’t willing to hand over almost 4000 euros to our neighbour, our quarter of the costs to move the 4 meters from the mountainside to the top of the road, with no legal paperwork and no timescale for completion. Actually the quotation was for a single pipe sized for one property to which we should all 4 connect, according to UK standards it should be twice the size quoted, and what’s to stop them once the pipe work is installed from saying it’s just for one house and we each actually have to pay 16,000 euro.
We had submitted our own application for a price for the work but Acea, the water people, said they couldn’t give us a quotation until we installed the meter housing ourselves. At the same time they made an appointment to visit our immediate neighbour, who doesn’t have the necessary meter housing to give her a price (and they’d already given the price of almost 16,000 euro to the other neighbour who doesn’t have a meter housing ready either). So MrFF got in touch and said since they were going to be here they could give us a price at the same time. Our immediate neighbour asked them to do the same thing for us, she wasn’t able to attend and appointed MrFF as her trusted person to meet the Tecnico and discuss details.
The appointment, this was over a week ago, was according to the email for between 12 and 2, or between 2 and 4 according to the attachment, best to cover all the afternoon. I was working in the front garden by 12 and dashed to the balcony to tell MrFF when I heard a car, by the time we’d walked back round our house the man had left. MrFF phoned him and he said we’d need to contact the office to arrange a separate visit. Obviously he never had any intention of giving us a price. When we contacted the office they said we’d need to have a meter housing in place before they could price, what a situation, a stern email has been sent, we’ve had no reply. They also said we couldn’t have our own price and our own bill for our share of the pipework as it was one job so could only have one customer.
Our neighbour let us know that she received quotation of 87 euro, which is the standard charge for linking into an existing supply, it didn’t need a visit from a Tecnico to tell her that, it’s on the website.
Now a meeting has been arranged for Tuesday next week by our Comune for all 4 residents in our road to meet with Acea at the little town hall. We asked what the intention of the meeting is as we cannot accept the current situation where we fork up the money before work begins to a neighbour, have no contract so no control or comeback if things go wrong, have to co ordinate the installation of water pipes from the new meter down our road, probably while we are back in the UK and accept a supply that is sufficient for one house to supply 4, with the possibility that once the major work is done other houses in our area, mostly currently not occupied, could later link in at a cost of less than 100 euro further depleting the supply and contributing nothing to the major expense.
If the new meters are housed at the top of our road we still need pipes laid running under our road, we’d have to to arrange this betwden us and still be responsible for any leaks from the new meters to our properties, granted a much shorter run than up to the existing snake pit meter housing but still a concern. As I said we probably won’t be here to see the work done, if it’s to the same standard as the existing pipework we shall still have problems and be many thousand of euros lighter. We again asked if the meters could be located outside our houses so that Acea would be responsible for all the pipework. They insist they cannot lay pipes on private property, our road is not adopted by the Comune, but have so far not been able to point us to evidence or legislation that this is the case, since we’d all be in agreement and give our permission it must be feasible.
The Comune have set up some WhatsApp group where we can all speak with each other, one neighbour isn’t participating, one is as concerned as we are and one, the person who would have the contract just wants to crack on. In fact her daughter was rather rude to us last week and asked if we were angling to have the contract in our name and for her to give us her share. She obviously doesn’t understand the issues, no one in their right mind pays out that amount of money without some binding agreement and I cannot see that she or her mother will be up for managing the Acea contract and coordinating the second contract for pipes in our road. All we’ve seen is a 2 line quotation and a sketch I think was done on the back of a fag packet. The daughter also said we should stop talking to each other and just resolve the matter because as they are now the houses cannot be lived in. Excuse me we are living here and while it’s a hassle we are coping by filling our irrigation tank once a week and using that for the bathrooms, cleaning etc and bottling water for drinking when the supply is on, the rest of the time our mains supply is turned off so we are not loosing water from the various leaks we have. We all want things resolved but we won’t make rash decisions, if the work had been done properly in the first place we wouldn’t have had 20 years of fixing leaks and extortionate bills for lost water, which we refused to pay.
To be blunt we do not trust Acea, not least because their charter says they will never disconnect a water supply, yet they did disconnect a friend nearby when it was discovered there were two properties on one meter and earlier this year they disconnected the 4 houses in our road saying we didn’t have contracts. Some of the residents have had contracts for 30 years and even when we were disconnected they continued to take payments from us all. In every one of these case there was no consultation or notification, although we later found a hand written note on a torn piece of paper in the snake pit saying we’d been disconnected and a number to call. This is the customer service we are up against, it’s appalling and I need to brush up in my Italian to be able to tell them so on Tuesday. It’s bad enough being expected to fork out this kind of money just to have a decent water supply which in a major European country should be a given, not being listened to and being treated with such disdain is infuriating. See, it’s impossible to write about this without producing yet another massive rant.