Salvaging A Squandered Sunny Afternoon


The power cut we had experienced two evenings ago had alerted me to the fact that I did not know who supplied our electricity. And I had never, in three years, received a bill. I speculated that I may be able to surmise the reason for this. First I needed to find the correct electricity company. SSE had fixed the cut. It therefore seemed logical that they may be the suppliers. After half an hour on the telephone I learned that they were not. I asked if they could tell me who was. They couldn’t.

An energy information website gave me a number of the organisation that would be able to tell me. They couldn’t, because SSE were the relevant information organisation in our area. Never mind who they are. A further call to them gleaned the news that British Gas supplied the power. This was not an organisation that immediately sprang to mind for a house that had no gas.

Ten years ago I had taken a six months rental in a house in Bayswater. When I came to leave my final bill for both gas and electricity showed credits for direct debits on both accounts. I had not taken any out. The company, British Gas, insisted that I had. They would not tell me the bank account that they were taking the money from. I offered them my number, and those of both the owner and the agents, neither of whom had taken out the direct debit. Eventually I paid the bill, accepting the donation from a mystery donor.

Of the three hours spent on the phone dealing with this this sunny afternoon, two were spent speaking with three different representatives and listening to inharmonious music while they sought advice from their supervisors. I have been told that the vendor of this house did not cancel his direct debit. (Like me, you probably saw this coming). He is therefore entitled to a refund which I must make good. In order to continue the supply I have to agree to take responsibility for the account from 31st March 2014. My position is that I will agree the responsibility from today’s date. No amount of arguing could bring about any change. I told them to send me a bill for what they thought I should pay, and I will take it up with management on paper.

The reason I could take this no further today, is that I know that if I do not pay without agreement I will be unable to change supplier. I have made it clear that if they charge me, I will change supplier – that, of course, means that I will have to settle the account. But that is to be debated. I have stated that putting things right with a man whose direct debit has been taken monthly for more than three years is between him and them. I acknowledge that it is my fault I have overlooked the matter, but they have some responsibility for their actions. The meter, in a box outside the house, has never been read by an individual because it is Smart and doesn’t need that.


After this I needed to be whisked off into the forest in search of ponies. We didn’t spot any doing anything of interest until there was another hold-up outside Beaulieu on the way home.

Woman and boy on beach

Before then, we wandered on Lepe Beach. There were not many others there.

Container vessel passing Isle of Wight

Passing the Isle of Wight were a lengthy container vessel

Yachts passing Isle of Wight

and some briskly blown yachts.

Cliff Erosion at Lepe notice

Past the car park a warning sign explains why

Cliffs at Lepe 1Cliffs at Lepe 4Cliffs at Lepe 3Cliffs at Lepe 2

the cliffs are seriously crumbling.

Burrows in cliff 2Burrow in cliff 1Burrows in cliff 1

There was much evidence of burrowing,

Burrow in cliff 2

some of which seemed precariously close

Steps down to beach 1

to the steps up to the top,

Lepe beach

where a rather rickety barrier now stands at the very edge.

Eroded breakwater and pebbles

Even the breakwaters are seriously eroded, but blend rather well with pebbles on the beach.

Cliffs at Lepe 5

I had to wonder how long the trees could retain their grip.

The Filly Inn 1

We have often passed The Filly Inn on the Lymington side of Brockenhurst.

The Filly Inn 2

Today we dropped in for a drink. My pint of Starboard is placed in the bottom right of the picture.

We didn’t need to imbibe anything more with our Hordle Chinese takeaway meal.

84 responses to “Salvaging A Squandered Sunny Afternoon”

  1. Fight the good fight … energy companies the world over are a scourge and so are communications providers. I feel there is a very real need for the little folk to stand together and say no so I am delighted you have done just that though sorry that it must have been stressful. πŸ‘ŠπŸ‘Š

  2. I could use some take away right now. I wonder if you don’t see any fossils on that beach with all the erosion? Do you have ground squirrels? I’m wondering about the burrowers. The Filly Inn looks like a sweet place! I’m glad you could do some exploring after your adventures with your electricity supplier. I wonder if the las tenant is…um…alive? so rich as to never reconcile his account? Not paying for electricity now? I shudder to think of a three year bill.

  3. Wow, Derrick! I’m glad the weather was pleasant for you to go for a much-needed outing after three hours talking (and being on hold) with the energy suppliers. You shouldn’t be responsible for their mistake. Though I did kind of laugh that you just thought about it after three years. I also wondered about the person who has been paying for it for three years. I hope you get it sorted out.

    The photos are splendid, as usual. The pub looks cozy.

  4. I recently changed power company and got royally screwed over by them. Never use a company named ‘TrustPower’ is my advice to everyone now. Nowadays they are offering free smart TV’s to new subscribers – heavens knows what the very tiny print says nor what machinations the friendly minions are using to get new or existing subscribers to verbally agree to something they don’t even realise they are verbally agreeing to. It’s the world over isn’t Derrick – and still we think corporations are ‘good’ and ‘necessary’. Bah, humbug I say! I hope you get even a somewhat satisfactory outcome – go fight the good fight! πŸ˜€

    • Many thanks, Pauline. I will. What amazes me is that in this age of Smart electronic systems there can be no communication whatever with the customer for years on end.

  5. Your story re-inforces why I always check my bank and credit card statements every month. Young people look surprised when I ask them for the receipt whenever I pay anything by credit card too. I am, once again, locked into a query with my gas supplier. Gas consumed for hot water is calculated by measuring the quantity of water drawn off and then multiplying that by a factor of how many mj of gas is needed to heat that water. At least this time some nice young gentleman has emailed to say he agrees that ‘x’ x ‘y’ cannot equal the random number the computer has spat out. Now to convince his superiors . . . The pub looks nice, I’m surprised you managed to stop at one drink.

  6. Oh, how I dislike situations with bills and levels of phone calls. On many of our contacts around here in central Ohio,we have to ask for a supervisor or manager.
    My opinion is that if a man or woman kept paying your bill then he must be “flush” in the money. My Dad’s favorite expression when someone was generous. 😊
    Hope this will be solved the way you would like, Derrick. 😁

  7. Now that is a crumbling cliff! The notice board holds interesting information, especially about the bees. The pictures leave us in no doubt about the prognosis of the erosion. Grappling with call centres of utility companies can be a peace-eroding experience.

    • ‘Peace-eroding’ is good, Uma. Jackie felt her neck and shoulders all tightened when I’d finished. It didn’t help that two of the three reps I spoke to had South African accents – not my favourite. Many thanks

  8. One of my relatives had a similar battle with the water supplier for her new build house. Despite her repeatedly asking for a bill, they insisted there was no house there. She assured them there was and she was living in it. Eventually they requested several years’ worth of charges all at once.

      • I think they came to some agreement in the end but I can’t remember what it was.

        I’m not a fan of British Gas, although I used to like their adverts where the houses and gardens were little floating globes. Good luck with it all.

  9. Had mine with the dullards at Thames water. Grrr. On the subject of the Filly it is where the Oddfellow Arms used to be in the early 70s. Well named it was too.

  10. Sounds a bit like what happened in Ontario, when they opened up power ownership. people were being over and under billed right & left. Took ages to sort out and some were badly impacted.

    Wonderful photos. πŸ™‚

    • That is the problem. We think they are all the same, but the only one I have experienced before with no problem is SSE. If, as expected, I get a ridiculous bill, I will return to them.

      • One of my friends changed suppliers whilst in the middle of a divorce. After six months things calmed down and he found he was paying two companies for the electricity. It took another six months to sort out as neither was prepared to give him up and offer a refund.

        • How about B.T? At a previous address the account was in Jackie’s name, even though I paid the bill. It is my bank details they have, and take the money from. They insist on keeping her as the account holder. She gets the bills. They say she doesn’t have to do anything and it will be taken from her (MY) account at the end of the month. My sister Elizabeth was divorced more than a decade ago. They won’t replace her ex’s name with hers. Whenever there is a problem they say they will only speak to the account holder. She has to go up the chain of command every time. At least when we have a problem I can pass the phone to Jackie. Progress, innit?

  11. Wow! I’ve never heard of a smart electricity box!
    And it’s such a challenge and often very frustrating to get things straightened out with any large company like that! UGH! When they make mistakes they want us to just be patient while they deal with it and when we make the mistakes they want us to step up immediately and right them.
    Glad you salvaged the day! All of that gorgeous nature would be good for the mind, heart and soul!
    (((HUGS))) πŸ™‚

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