A Touch Of Havoc


Regular readers will remember the British Gas saga which began on 1st August last year. Having opted for quarterly bills I should have received one by now. This morning I girded my loins in preparation for a call to find out why I had not. An hour later I was promised a new account with documentation dating from last August.

I had politely asked why I was not receiving bills. This was because there was no electricity being supplied to our address. I assured the representative that I was not sitting in the dark. She looked into the problem a little more and found that the contract had been cancelled two days after it was set up. She didn’t know why. She looked into it again. Each time she looked into it, I listened to music regularly interrupted by a voice asking me why I didn’t join the millions of other customers who managed their accounts on line, and notifying me of the various “smart” and “clever” facilities the company offered.

Finally I was transferred to another person who also looked into it. More recorded messages ensued while she did so. She informed me that the reason the contract had been cancelled was because someone had entered the wrong code. I had to go through all the setting up questions again, and eventually my informant undertook to send me a new contract from the correct date.

Given that my contract had been cancelled, yet we were still receiving electricity, I offered the suggestion that poor Dr. Greenwood, our predecessor at this address, may perhaps still be paying for the supply. I guess I can do no more about that.

After this I ventured into the garden to inspect the ravages of the 70 m.p.h. winds we had experienced throughout the night. Quite a few slender deciduous branches had been ripped from their sockets, and

our evergreen cypress had suffered a certain amount of breakage.

Later in the morning the winds summoned renewed vigour and wreaked havoc with the planting barrier at the end of the back drive.

Becky, Ian, and Flo returned home to Emsworth this afternoon.

This evening, Jackie and I dined on her exquisite chicken curry and parathas.






  1. That is so irritating – NO, infuriating … and all the while having to listen to their recorded publicity messages. The wind was obviously somewhat worse for you in the New Forest than for me in Surrey.

  2. I am sorry, Derrick and Jackie, for all these troubles you are having with the electricity. Sounds like some utility companies over here. And a destructive windstorm on top of that!

      1. It would only be free until 14 years in the future when they figured it out and sent you a bill for 14 years of electricity plus interest and fines. At least, that’s how we do it around here.

  3. I am sorry you are having so much trouble with British Gas. These large companies seem so disorganised! We are continuing to have problems communicating with BT! I am also sorry the wind made such a mess of your lovely garden.

  4. Thank goodness for Jackie’s chicken curry to salvage what little good could be gotten with the kind of day you had. What the heck is wrong with BG, I mean seriously Derrick – they have some major administration/technology problems. You were much more understanding than this Texan would have been given the circumstances. So very sorry to see the wind damage to your beautiful garden, seems there are a lot of tree limbs to pick up.

    1. Many thanks, Mary. The main problem is that the poor erk on the end of the phone doesn’t make the rules, and probably can’t get another job. And I have no confidence that another supplier would be any different. Actually the garden is not too bad really. I’ve picked up most of the smaller limbs.

      1. Your storm reminds me of a winter-ice storm we had in Maine 20 years ago (when we were living there). We had many tall white pine trees in our yard – we heard popping and cracking noises all through the night. When we got up there had to be hundreds of branches down. The town had the residents pile them up along the road, so they could pick them up. Our pile was 5 feet by 128 feet – seriously took us all day long to pick them up. We were exhausted. Shame about services these days, we face some of the same here ~

  5. We have similar problems here in Oz now that they are run by large faceless companies, in competition to screw everyone. I mourn the day our state pollies sold off OUR power to private enterprise so that we’d be better off, even if a lot poorer in more ways than one! :'(

  6. I suspect there are many similar situations with the utility companies.
    We had a difficult time trying to find out who to call about our Internet being down a few days ago because all of the information was for online support, which of course, we couldn’t access.

    I hope there wasn’t too much damage to your garden.

  7. Sometimes, when I think of the ways the companies are interacting with their customers, I am convinced the pendulum of intelligence has begun the backward journey. The images of the cypress in distress is like a series in watercolour.

  8. You’d think they would be thanking you for drawing the situation to their attention instead of playing futile messages that people just go into a trancelike state whilst being subjected to …. my mother is 85 and has been continually harassed to switch to online – she finally, in her best Dowager Duchess voice, a voice which it should be noted, I am extremely scared of, said, according to my brother who was witness,, ‘I have no technology and I never shall. Now kindly stop perturbing me or you will live to regret it’ …. it appears to have worked. If you want her on loan, she is rather fond of the New Forest ….

  9. Your garden still looks good despite the wind damages. More than wondering how the company did not spot the mistake in cancellation, I am wondering how your predecessor did not notice he was paying an electricity bill that was not his. Then again chances are he himself was having an infuriating time trying to persuade them that he was not responsible for the bills they kept sending his way.

  10. Looks like you had more wind than we did. Hope it hasn’t done too much damage.

    As for Buritish Gas, I agree they are all pretty much as bad as each other. A friend of mine ended up paying two suppliers, and neither wanted to give him a refund.

  11. That’s what you get for complaining about not having to pay for electricity 🙂

    Ugh, wind. I feel for you and your garden. Most of my plants are in containers so there’s always damage from the wind.

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