OIFC: A Dinosaur in Disguise

its been a while since i had to deal with OIFC … so i almost forgot how useless that organization really is … you see thanks to bank muscat and their online banking service (with all its limited functionality) I have managed to totally skip OIFC for more than 2 years … until recently.

They recently disconnected the water from a related party property. The property is not occupied and has been locked and empty for a while. so there has been no water usage over the past couple of months. When looking at the bill, strangely enough, there has been usage for more than 40 Rials. How is that possible ? no one lives there ? has someone been stealing the water? is there a leak in the pipes? squatters??? No, no, no, and NO!

The OIFC meter reader guys go around and read the meters every month … report the reading to the brainy people at the head office so they can calculate the usage and process your bill … and then send it to you, or deliver it to the house. Simple, right? You probably never see these guys come around, right? Its because they are usually undercover… they travel is pairs… and use unmarked cars with yellow plates on them not red ones … one of meter reader dudes is on foot and the other is following him very slowly in the car but at a distance … they dont want to attract any attention you see … they guy on foot usually wears bell bottom jeans and a white T-Shirt while the guy in the car wears a “jalabiya” often dark in color and wears black sunglasses… the cars they move around in are korean most of the time … Daewoo or Hyundai … silver and white are the preferred colors … although i have seen them use other cars. They dont have any electronic gadgets that read the meters… the guy on foot walks and peers into the meter and makes note of it … you would think that they must have some kind of super system that makes sure they get the reading right for each and every house in muscat … very impressive operation.

The truth, unfortunately, is a bit different, these guys are among the laziest people on the planet … yes, they do move in pairs, and they do drive Korean cars and they are supposed to read the meters every month but in reality, they dont. they dont bother to actually really come around and read your meter … they take a guess, sometimes based on your previous usage and charge it to your bill and sometimes… they just take a guess. I am not making this up. I got this info from someone that works there. They actually just guess. And this is how a house with no one living in it can get water bill of 40 Rials.

You are probably not paying for what you actually use…. that is a more likely a probability than you paying for actual usage…. Now, some of us really lucky, the few times that they actually get a meter reading … they havnt used their water much … so they end up in the low range of payments…. while others just keep getting screwed aver month… i know of instances where the water bill of a whole building was less than a small two bedroom house… I always wondered how can that possibly happen… well… the secret is out !

Here is the best part…. are you ready ?

If you get disconnected, you have to go to the OIFC office that is “responsible” for the area that the property is in in order to get the services reconnected. For example: if you have a disconnected service in Ruwi, you can go to Zakher Mall and pay the outstanding, BUT you then have to go to the ruwi office to get your self reconnected. If you dispute any of the readings, you have to continue to pay what they ask for, until they investigate. If you dont day, they will not hesitate in disconnecting you.

To the untrained eye this would seem like each office in not in sync with the other one… or that each office has not idea what the other one is doing … OR each office is just sending you to the next one … but in reality … this is a very sophisticated system …. that starts with them not really reading your meter … and then guessing what your usage is… and ends up with you having to pay all dues in order to get them to investigate the problem… and then IF you are right in your claim you will get credits in your OIFC account … but never cash back … You simply have to pay what they ask for … there is no way to know how much you have actually used … you have to take their word for it … and in most cases your guess is as good as theirs …

now if this doesnt make your jaw drop and your nose bleed …

i dont know what will…

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