My mum’s house has been vacant for the last 4 months. The last tenant moved out in October. When the water bill came in Dec 2003, I settled it in full together with all the arrears. Then, between Jan 20 and Mar 8, I received 3 bills all showing overlapping dates of meter reading, conflicting amount of water consumed and type of reading i.e. E, N, A (Remarks on the bill shows only 2 types i.e. E – Estimated reading, N – Normal reading but what’s A or when they introduced it! Anyway, the only common factor in the 3 bills was, the amount charged and they never knock off the arrears paid. Moreover the house was vacant during that period so obviously no water was consumed. I checked the meter and there was nothing wrong with it. But we have to pay PUAS Bhd for not using water – what a joke! So, I’ve no choice but take a trip to their office to straighten out the billings before the next tenant moves in. Though I know visits to such dept is always an agony yet the aftermath is still as stressful and grueling…..
First I had to check where was the counter that handled complaints as there were no signage at all. I explained to the officer in charge my problems and asked why the differing codes and billing discrepancies. Instead of answering my questions, he said “You go back to your house first. Within 2-3 weeks’ time, we’ll send someone over to the house to read the meter”. I was confused. The dispute was not on the meter but the billing system. Moreover, they’ve already given me 3 differing readings, so how’s another reading going to solve the problem. He couldn’t explain except to keep telling me to go back and wait. Finally, I got so fed-up and demanded to see a higher officer.
He retrieved my account from the computer and displayed the list of payments and readings. Again, he told me that they’ll send their meter reader to verify the reading, this time, instead of in 3 weeks’ time, he said within a week. I reiterated that there was nothing wrong with the meter in the first place and secondly, the water meter was located outside the gate and therefore accessible to their meter reader at all times so why the need for all the unproductive estimated reading etc. etc., But he didn’t seem to comprehend or want to comprehend the customer’s issues. Therefore, whether “small” officer or “big” officer, they’re all the same! Only difference was he has a computer in front of him where he was able to access the data. But I truly doubt his ability to use the data to solve customer issues. Reason – when I asked him to calculate the actual amount owing, he just brushed me aside by saying that he has to ask the meter reader to work it out. Obviously he had little interest nor pride in his work.
Actually it was very simple. All he had to do was take the reading from the last paid bill and minus the latest reading on the latest bill (I told him that I’ve checked that reading against my water meter to be correct) and multiply by the rates. In fact all these could be quickly done on the excel spreadsheet. Anyway, by then I was truly sick and tired of them and didn’t want to stress myself further by prolonging the visit which I knew won’t bear any fruitful results.
Just ask anyone their experiences with the public services and their immediate reaction will give you the answer straightaway. My above experience is just one of the numerous that we’ve faced and I am quite sure is also typical of what everyone of the general public has or will continue to face. Of course, in all fairness, a number of government dept have made great efforts to improve their image and services such as the Immigration, EPF to name a few. But unfortunately, the same cannot be said for PUAS Berhad. From the time it was run by the govt, until today after being privatised there was no improvement in their service, no progress. Prior to privatisation, our Water Works Dept was called Jabatan Bekalan Air (in Bahasa Malaysia). Subsequently it was changed to Perbadan Urus Air Selangor Berhad or PUAS Berhad in short. Puas means Satisfaction in our National language and supposedly to reflect positively on their service and image. However their “tidak apa” (couldn’t care less) attitude and inefficiency is a sheer irony and disgrace to their name. I’m sure many of my countrymen out there share my total “Tak PUAS” (No Satisfaction) sentiment.