Ten hectic days, predominantly spent packing up the house and putting it into the hands of a highly recommended notaire, brought some unexpected revelations from our resident locataire, Monsieur C, and several helpful suggestions from the notaire’s English-speaking assistant. But, that little lot followed on the heels of EDF trying to rip us off!
We have learned much during our time as hobos in France, however, our minds are constantly boggled by the learning from each new lesson!
Tom and I arrived in Champagnac (15), location of our pile, during the afternoon of Sunday 7 July. I was extremely (but silently!) worried about Tom driving such a long distance after so many months of severe ill-health, but, he took his time and even the dreaded A20 didn’t phase him! The A20 is what we consider to be France’s equivalent to the UK’s M25, to be avoided whenever possible! There is a D-roads system alternative route to the A20, however, that route would have added distance, time, petrol cost and greater wear and tear on the ‘old girl’. So, we chose the A20, followed by the much quieter A89, concluding with the D979 to Bort-les-Orgues (19), aka ‘the organ pipes’, then, into the Cantal and up the mountain road to ‘our’ village high on the plateau.
Despite there having been a live electricity supply to the shop section in the house when we last visited in September 2012, in time to oversee the exit of the hairdresser, the electricity supply had been cut off by the time we arrived on this occasion.
How could that happen? According to the relevant Civil Code, the hairdresser only had the right to switch off the electricity at the meter after taking her final reading and passing the reading to EDF. Only the property owner(s) can have the electricity supply totally disconnected, unless, of course, EDF consider the supply to be in a dangerous condition – in that event, EDF can disconnect the supply without permission from the property owner(s), fair enough.
Well, here’s the twist!
Unbeknown to us, the shop’s electricity meter had been installed by a private company way back in the late 1990’s when the original hairdresser had been permitted, by our sellers, to start up her business – illegally, without the necessary permissions, as we discovered in 2010.
Paul contacted EDF to get the electricity supply reconnected at the earliest – EDF (Ciel Bleu) had no knowledge or record of the electricity supply to the hairdresser’s shop, they had no record of the property’s change of ownership in July 2007. Yet, we were paying the bills for two of the apartments, until we had the supply disconnected in 2012 after a two years fight with EDF about the unsafe condition of the wiring! For goodness sake, Tom recognised the state of the electrical wiring in 2007 – he is a retired electrician and he didn’t acquire his professional qualifications and experience on the ferry that moved us to France!
Paul gave our original 2007 client number to EDF, also the full address of the property. EDF had no record of the property address being Place de l’Eglise, their details still offered the property address as Place de Bourg (we have no idea why!) and the owners as Monsieur et Madame T, ie our sellers!
What a shambles!
Eventually, Paul was able to persuade EDF that we do own the property and we desperately required electricity to be restored to the shop area to power Tom’s nebuliser. By Thursday morning, EDF were promising Paul the electricity would be reconnected on the 5 August!
So, Paul jumped up and down – just as the French do when things are not going their way! It worked, but, at a price!
On Thursday morning, EDF advised Paul that the electricity supply to the shop would be reconnected between 10am and 12 noon on Monday 15 July; the cost of reconnection would be 100 euros plus TVA, due to the fact that the ‘emergency reconnection’ would have to be carried out by a private company.
EDF (Ciel Bleu) also advised Paul to contact them immediately if the electrician had not arrived by 7pm, at the latest, on the Monday. Paul said he would do that and he asked what time the Ciel Bleu helpline would close on the Monday…….”6.30pm” was the reply!
Oh, joy! The electrician duly arrived at 11.55 on the Monday morning, Bless. Hmmmmm! His uniform and van portrayed the distinct logo of…EDF! Private company, my foot!
Oh yes, we’re definitely on to your little scam, EDF (Ciel Bleu)!
Next blog page – how the current notaire will get rid of Monsieur C, because we have “no chance of selling” if the locataire remains resident in our property.
Also, we have news about our ‘way forward’, according to the European Ombudsman – the same route was also advised by our current notaire and her assistant!
Oh la la! It’s all still happening for the hobos in France!