Friday 29 January 2010

When You Don't Rate

We've talked about this, my friends and me, before, but it comes with some force when it happens to yourself. Many months ago a person representing Southern Electric came to the door and signed me up for electricity and gas on a cheaper tariff and a quarterly payment. Then I heard nothing, and nothing, but I knew I had hefty credit with Eon, that is they owed me a stash in apparent overpayment from my regular payments. I wanted my hands on that money.

Facing some hefty expenses soon, I decided to act. First I rang Eon: am I still their customer? Yes. The operative then said my credit balance was even 50% higher than I knew. But they had no actual readings, it was all estimates. So during the call I made readings and then discovered that the Eon estimates had been considerably less than use. The result is there is no stash of cash. Whilst the gas meter can be read outdoors, they can't get to the electric meter and I've apparently not answered the door since 2008 to a meter reader. But what of this transfer? I'm sure I sent readings to Southern Electric.

I waited ages for Southern Electric to answer: that matters. I then discovered for myself what friends have said. I failed a test. What test was I put to that I had failed, I asked. I had to wait again for someone else to speak. This failure was confirmed: I had failed their equivalent of a credit test; they could send out a form for me to fill in. Yes, I said I'd failed a test because they had no data to go on. I have never had any credit with anyone: I have never borrowed from any bank, building society or company. So I failed the test. Bills have always been paid on time.

I then said I would short-cut this matter. I no longer wanted to sign up to their company. That was it. Though, apparently, if they press the transfer, it cannot be resisted, but I am contacted. So I'll just carry on.

What's happened is I've been paying about the right amount for the power (gas, electricity) used, but the ongoing estimate was too low. Well, since 2008 bills have shot up, but with an apparent stash they haven't increased my payments. This winter the fuel has been used heavily, but I have managed on about 50% of waking time for heating: in other words I get cold and in the evening the heating comes on and I tend to stay awake into much of the night. It might explain some very late or early blog entries. At the moment (16:36) there has been no heating on and won't be for hours, and I'm listening to Tony Blair in his groove and deflecting answers by mistimings and introducing matters not even of evidence, e.g. a nonsense repeated about 2010. All well rehearsed, of course, and not just to remind him of the data.

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