19 January 2013


I have sent a plaintive mail to my lawyer about the crippling DEH bills that have plagued San Luca for years and years and years.

  • " ... people have talked about a machine to test for leaking electricity. My DEH bills are horrendous so I should try anything.
  • When the electricity expert comes with his machine, I am told he needs to install it next to our metre which has been fenced off by the neighbour.
  • It seems a good time to cut the fence for the electrician to reach the metre. This will bring out the neighbour which is a good time to call the police so it will be good to have everyone here: electrician, Stamatis, you available on the phone to talk to the police.

    I have the plans that show our border.

  • All the neighbour did was build a stronger fence where my mother built one 40 years ago to suit her garden. It was never meant to mark the border. When the neighbour built this stronger fence - for which i will not pay them - they should have informed me so I could remind them to leave a gap as before for the DEH meter reader.
  • I am also telling people that i doubt the existence of such a machine because for the 6 years I have been here there has always been a problem and many people have suggested a leakage but NOT ONE has mentioned a machine that can test for leaks.
  • DEH bills: as you know, I pay bills around €800 per quarter, altho' I use very little electricity.

    My last bill was €2,743.00 that DEH agreed to break down to 4 months' payments of €700, €681, €681, and €680,51 but they warned me I would have another bill in the meantime. That bill arrived today, for €2,931.00.

    I have used no electricity, no heating, I have frozen but this is more than the previous bill.

  • I have no money anyway, I use no heating. I may as well not pay and let them cut me off from the electricity I am not using.
  • People have recently told me I should write to the head of DEH in Athens complaining that this is ridiculous and should be investigated.

    I tell them this does not sound very effective.

    I tell them that for the 6 years I have been here there have been these huge bills but no one has ever suggested to me or my mother that we should write to anyone senior in DEH.

  • I dont know what to do. - I am hearing these new suggestions but doubt they are of any use because my mother would have heard this advice many years ago.

    Literally, I use no power. I freeze. What or who is spinning the meter like this to produce such sums?"

Etc etc.

Really, this has been a burden and worry on me: when I arrived in April 2006 my mother mentioned en passant the unlikely DEH bills and I dutifully setting about investigating and visiting everyone I thought might help. With every new bill, I'd get another grumble and sigh of despair at my uselessness. When we went out to Italy - the visit when my girls' stolen inheritance was handed over - I was present when my brother asked what progress on the electricity: a sigh, a nod, an exasperated nod of the head in my direction.

On I pressed, then one day I was grubbing through Thief Alley - the connecting walk-in wardrobe connecting my and my mother's bedrooms and where I had my box of personal jewelry - and I came across a hefty file including correspondence and calculations going back to the early 1980s, including efforts by the bank manager and DEH personnel, all focused on this escaping electricity.

I brandished them in front of my mother: What the deuce are these? Why wasn't I told this is a problem going back 20 plus years? Why was I allowed to feel such a failure?

A dismissive shrug. What did my feelings matter?

I suppose I now go back to DEH and beg a further amnesty - and it's hampering efforts to attract buyers because everyone assures me that a) No one will touch a property with a fence dispute; ditto a crazy electricity bill.

Every day a reminder that I should have quit this culture of theft the day I saw my stolen treasures on that dressing-table in Palazzo Purloin.

Investigated the cost of professional caregivery, vested sufficient of my mother's shares to take care of the expenses ... and headed straight back to Blighty and saved muchas heart-ache and humiliation, not to mention penury.

A soothing song is called for.

Helpful suggestion - it is hard not to despair when, after 40 years and every possible assistance and loony theorising, there is still someone who thinks it original to "suspect your neighbour has tapped into your supply: a simple test would be to turn off your supply at the meter box.

  • When it's dark push up the three levers in your meter box.
  • See if the lights have gone out at your neighbour's property [owner's note: Asposia is too far away to judge if her lights have gone out, or she is just watching TV in her parlour with other lights out.
  • It may be an idea to get an electrician to do this for you. [It is an idea because it shuts them up, as it does the police who also include some who think they've invented the wheel. When I do it, I have time to leave the power off all day. When helpful strangers think of it, I let them take as long as they like and then bid them good day. The fact that they think their theory is in any way novel, after 40 years, is all the confirmation I need of a time-wasting weakest link.

    Anonymous said...

    I suspect your neighbour has tapped into your supply, a simple test would be to turn off your supply at the meter box, when it's dark push up the three levers in your meter box and see if the lights have gone out at your neighbour's property, it may be an idea to get an electrician to do this for you.

    Jim said...

    Lovely song. Very sad story.

    Much sympathy.

    Corfucius said...

    i don't mean to be patronising about Anonymous's suggestion but why is this regarded as such a clever or unusual solution? Several people have come up with this over the years as if no one has suggested this before. I cannot see my neighbour's lights so I wouldnt know if they'd gone out.
    In January 2007, August 2007, Jan 2008, and a few times on a whim, I have killed all electricity, checked that the meter is not turning, and informed my ex-DEH electrician that I have done so. I tend to leave the power off for 8 hours and make sure to include hours when anyone would be cooking. Within DEH are employees alerted to expect *any* call from my area complaining about loss of power. If I really am being stolen from, it started around 1976. We reckon that anyone tapping in has forgotten if or when they tapped in. The meter is difficult to reach on our property without actually bypassing dog and gates; DEH have twice changed the meter to be sure. Over the 30-40 years this has plagued us, every crackpot theory has been suggested and tried. This one is not crackpot; it is the most basic idea that everyone comes up with as if, over 40 years, no one else on the island has thought of it. It was even suggested by the neighbour in 1980. Yes, it is a very simple test, and I let police and workmen try it for themselves so that they can feel professional and inventive.

    Susanna said...

    Wouldn't it be easier to turn off your own supply within the house (the mains switch) and then trot down to the road-side meter and if the wheel is turning then someone else is indeed using your power. NO WAY should you be getting bills of that size.

    Corfucius said...

    Everything has been tried and treble tried over the years, yea from the 1980s up to January 30the this year which is my deadline to pay the latest quarter's bill of €2,931.00.
    My meter is up on the hillock outside the front door. When I turn the power off at source - or anyone turns it off, DEH, Fuzz, handyman, maid, me, whoever - the meter stops spinning at its steady standard measured rate. Thanks very much for caring enough to comment.