The 7-Day Rule

"The Network Operating Company will have
begun a power quality investigation
within 7 days of receiving the complaint."

The following is probably only relevant in the UK but is added to highlight just how easy it is for words to be twisted in favour of sales teams selling power quality recorders to get unsuspecting clients to purchase more equipment (it is not only lawyers who have the reputation to twist meanings!).

If one reads the above rule quickly, then one might easily think this to mean that a recorder must be in place within seven days of the complaint having been received. Translated, this would mean that the power quality investigation department would be compelled to have enough recorders in place to answer all the complaints that could come through the door.

If you have fallen prey to this misinterpretation, then take solace from the fact that you will not be the first unsuspecting and over trusting client of a 'clever' sales team and their manipulative tactics. What was deliberately left out of the translation is; what is the actual problem, and what sort of recording equipment must be installed.

And there is another twist to this too. They will do their utmost to convince that the recorder must also be in place for seven days from the start of the recording. Think about it. Must be in within 7 days, and must be in for 7 days. For every complaint received in a week means one recorder must be purchased. Then, just in case it breaks, better buy a spare. Hmm, I see a vicious circle approaching!

Power Quality Investigation: A Definition
This is the process of receiving the complaint, planning the installation of the recorder, retrieving the data, analysing the data, and finally presenting the findings.

It is, therefore, the whole process, and not just the coupling of the recorder to the supply that constitutes the investigation. Therefore, if the planning part is under way then the investigation is under way. And if under way in 7 days means the rule has been adhered to.

Here's an analogy I love using on training courses to illustrate this misinterpretation; A household is suffering every time there is a football match at the sports stadium down the road. If the recorder were to be installed within the week and in for seven days, but it was a whole month before another fixture was held at the sports ground, then the recording would be a total waste of time.

All the rule states is that, within seven days, the problem be acknowledged and that a plan be set in place for a recorder to be connected at a mutually agreed time to give the best chance to capture the fault. If the recorder has to simply be connected for a few minutes to trap the fault, then all good and well. If the nature of the fault means a recorder has to stay in for a month, well, so be it.

This all, of course, assumes that a recorder is actually required to sort the problem out. If the fault is instantly recognised and a cure is already known then planning the remedial work is the next logical phase and, again, as long as the supplier has, within seven days, acknowledged the complaint and stated how they will be tackling the problem, then no-one is going to shout. It is hoped that none use a recording as a means to 'buy time', even when they know what the fault is!

The short and long of it all means that common sense needs to prevail in this situation. The seven days is simply a means to ensure the client gets the customer care they deserve. As for the actual process that needs to be adopted to offer that care is entirely dependent on the fault that is presented to the power quality investigator.


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© 30.07.03