As some of you may be aware, I have been given a job as a PoCo dispatcher, to all the Lineys and Faults Staff, here in Ashburton and surrounding areas. But what I was meaning to say, Is this: I really feel sorry for the Comms Centre here in Ash Vegas, we control all the field staff over a 300km sq area, especially when on Saturday nights, you get drunken idiots ring you up and say things like this:
Why is my power not working?, when asked they normally admit that they have not paid thier account for 3+ months
There's a guy up on my power pole(Darn druggies!) and there never is!!!.
What's your phone number?.
I'm not sure, but I reckon that you people are charging me too much(On the Faults line!).
Why was that guy(Faultsman) sooo rude to me when I asked him to perhaps look at re-wiring my house so that I could get my power re-connected(this incidentally happened at 2315).
We had a huge problem here when the European standard 112 number was introduced alongside the traditional 999 code used here in Ireland for many years (pretty much since the start of automatic dialling)
121 was used by the mobile networks as a voicemail access code. The emergency service call centres were getting loads of people who'd accidently dialled 1121.. they ended up having to move 121 to 171.
abusing 999 / 112 is pretty serious though. 1) the phone company can cut you off permanently or terminate your mobile phone account and 2) if it's serious you can face charges i.e. pretty heafty fines, community service or jail time.
However, people are invited to call 11811 (eircom) or 11850 (conduit) (directory enquiries but now "information") they'll do anything. Directory enquiries (with or without call completion and send you the number by SMS), golden pages (yellow pages), weather forecasts, lotto numbers, traffic updates, tell you what's on in your nearest cinema and how to get there.. etc. etc.
The DQ (directory enquiries) market was liberalised here in 1999 making it fully compeditive. We've ended up with 2 main suppliers who are cut-throat compeditive you'll never be holding for more than about 10 seconds and they bend over backwards to extract money from you especially by offering you call completion.. automated system asks you to say "yes or no"
999 / 112 would take a call for the ESB (PoCo) if there was a serious problem like a dangerous live power line on the road or something but normally it's just Police/Ambulance/Fire/Coast Guard/Mountain Rescue.
Otherwise you call 1-800 ESB ESB they're pretty efficient during a power outage (eg. a storm). A continiously updated announcement tells you what's going on and you can follow menu prompts to find details about your area (what's happened, how long it will take to be restored etc). So you only need a live operator if it's something they're not aware of.
Also during a big storm and in its aftermath they'll generally stop taking any billing/account enquiries and only answer emergency calls.
[This message has been edited by djk (edited 09-28-2003).]
Re: You wouldn't believe it!#138812 09/28/0307:17 AM09/28/0307:17 AM
I've seen a quote which says that two things are universal: Hydrogen and stupidity!
I've fielded calls from locals after there have been brown-outs and momentary power losses during a storm. Most of the rural installations here are TT with a main RCD, and it often turns out that the RCD has just tripped.
It's fair enough that I need to explain that it can happen sometimes, but I've known people who have apparently sat in the dark for hours after all their neighbors' lights came back on before they decided to do anything!
Not a call as such, but a visit to a house for a rewire quote sticks in my mind. They'd just redecorated the place and then decided to see about the installation of extra lights and sockets. It was a flat-roofed place, so no attic space to crawl through. The internal walls were solid brick and the floor concrete.
Can I cut access holes into the ceiling from below for cables? No.
Can I do the same from on top? No.
Well can I cut channels into the walls? Not a hope.
Well how about running some neat PVC trunking around the top corners that could be painted over later? Oh no, it's got to be all hidden.
I wasn't even going to contemplate asking about digging up the floor!
I declined the job, and after hearing about the hassle these people caused with some other trades, I'm glad I did.
Bob, There was something on TV a while ago about people using our 999 emergency service for trivial things. Like the mother who called 999 and when asked what the emergency was told the dispatcher that she'd run out of cotton buds for the baby!
In our trains, we used to have a "communication cord" which could be pulled by a passenger to stop the train in an emergency. Next to each access point there was always a notice "Penalty for improper use £50" or whatever the amount was at the time.
I think a similar penalty for improper use of 911 / 999 / 111 etc. would be a good idea.
[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 09-28-2003).]
Re: You wouldn't believe it!#138813 09/28/0307:26 AM09/28/0307:26 AM
We had a huge problem here when the European standard 112 number was introduced alongside the traditional 999 code used here in Ireland
The same problem occurred here to an extent, with operators reporting a lot of accidental calls coming in on 112.
The systems have actually been programmed now to incorporate a momentary delay after receiving 112 to see if any extra digits are going to be dialed. If anything immediately follows the 112, the call is dumped to N.U. tone. Most people I speak to are unaware of the new number anyway.
We do actually hgave penalties for improper use of 999, especially malicious call outs, but I don't think they are imposed much in cases like the one I quoted above.
Re: You wouldn't believe it!#138814 09/28/0307:27 AM09/28/0307:27 AM
Here's a quote from the eircom phone book in Ireland
Making nuisance calls to the 999 or 112 emergency services is a criminal offence. If you are convicted you will face a fine or imprisonment or both.
Conviction in the district court: Fine of up to €1015.79 or 12 months imprisonment.
Conviction in the circuit court: Fine up to €3,486.90 or 5 years imprisonment (they would have been round figures in IR£ but would require new legislation to be rounded up in Euro)
It also says that all calls are recorded, including minicom* calls except where a call is being routed to the police in which case the call is only recorded by the police operator with the consent of the caller and not by eircom.
=== Footnote not wandering off topic ======
*Minicom = textphone for deaf callers. It's basically a keyboard / screen or a Minitel unit.
The keyboard folds up to cover the screen. It's a little smaller than an original Apple Mac. Quite a neat design. Available in a very 1970s phone company brown and beige or matt black only
Minitel was a full videotext service, just like the french system. However, Irish Minitel ceased sales in 1999 with the advent of the internet. It has remained in use for a few specialist services such as online booking of B&Bs where each B&B has a minitel and a central reservation system notifies them of bookings on minitel. It's usable as a terminal for Minicom, although this is not true minitel as it's not connected to a network.
The Minitel network when it was running had a lot of useful services, many of which I prefered to their web equivilants (particularly banking as it was 100% secure) - Directory enquiries, You could access your phoneline set up (call forwarding etc etc) "Telebanking", Teleshopping, Ticket sales, Bulletin boards, chatrooms, email (miniMail) etc etc.. it was a bit like WAP on a mobile phone just more functional.
[This message has been edited by djk (edited 09-28-2003).]
Re: You wouldn't believe it!#138815 09/29/0312:55 AM09/29/0312:55 AM
Bob, I'd believe that in a second!. Quite often there are media releases over here from the Main Communications Control Centre of the Fire and Police Services in Wellington. And some of the hare-brained things that some people ring our 111 system over here, for, one lady even rang the 111 system, because her pizza delivery was taking so long!, I mean, we aren't really talking "Life Threatening" circumstances here. On the other side of the coin, I've heard the odd time that a few people haven't been able to get through on 111, I think I know why.
Re: You wouldn't believe it!#138816 10/04/0312:53 AM10/04/0312:53 AM
Guys, Oddly enough there was an article in the local rag, about frivolous use of the 111 system, today!. Get this:
Someone here rang the Ambulance, because her Hair Extensions were falling out.
A woman rang the Police, because her family needed help with wrapping Xmas presents.
Some one from England rang our 111 system and told the operator that a boat in the English Channel was sinking and Captain Pugwash was on board! . If this were true, what on Earth could we do over here?.
One guy rang the 111 system (obviously Drunk), saying that his guitar had gone out of tune and that he needed advice on how to re-tune it.
It's coming up to the time now, when I go to work and sit in front of the CAD screen again and get silly calls, as well as the genuine ones, a good night is ahead!, will be online ALL night, until 5am!.
Re: You wouldn't believe it!#138817 10/04/0303:53 AM10/04/0303:53 AM