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What a nice situation.  Let's start at the beginning.

Move into house March.  Rearrange power, gas, phone supply through various companies.

Get letters confirming the transfer.

6 month contract is up, move to different address.  Take meter readings, apply for final bills, leave forwarding address, go.

Expect deposit back.  Denied.  Reason: outstanding electricity bill, with wrong utility company (company A).

Try calling company (company B) that does handle the electricity account.  They deny all knowledge, even knowledge that doesn't relate to electricity supply.  Apparently the transfer was suspended and never went through.

Phone company that sent the bill.  They are surprised.  They say that they have not supplied that address since we moved in as it was transferred to company B at that time.  Company A know not why we get a bill from them, though, as their own records say we are not with them any more.  Suggest speaking to company B (office 2).

Company B (office 2) repeat previous statement and say that we are not on their books.  They refer to company A (office 2).

Phone company A (office 2).  Again, company A (office 2) point out that company A (office 1) was right and that it is all in the name of company B.  They suggest we phone relevant body C, who keep track of such things.

Phone body C. Get put on hold for 25 minutes listening to the same 12 bars of murdered chamber music.  Get bored.

Try company B (office 3).  Encounter crappy voice recognition system designed to infuriate the listener and not allow them to speak to a human being.  Try body C again.

Body C answer phone, check their records and discover that, yes, company A has been right all along and it's all company B's fault.  Company B suddenly introduces annoying voice recognition system at offices 1, 2 and 3 in attempt to avoid talking to me.

Eventually get through.  Company B say company A offices 1 and 2 are wrong, because it was really dealt with by company A office 3, and the offices don't talk to each other.  Refuse to acknowledge or even entertain the plausible connotation that they might actually be wrong.

Phone company A office 3.  Tell them what has gone on.  They suggest phoning body C.  The results of this being known, it is explained.  Minion in call centre of company A office 3 expresses sympathy, says that the system is totaly geared against this ever being resolved, and I ought to get in touch with regulator D directly, as A, B, and C are incompetent and will merely pass the buck without solving the problem unless jumped on from great height.

Call regulator D.  After some more, hideously mangled, famous chamber music (who loops on 12 bars?  You should loop on 16 - 12 just grates), the phone is answered, the regulator listens sympathetically and promises to land very heavily on powerg^H^H company B from a high altitude, although it might take a couple of months and things could get very nasty in this time. 

Decide to call back company B and confront them with the facts.  Get flustered woman in accounts (by this time I am more than a little angry).  She admits that if body C, regulator D and company A databases say the same thing then there's probably been a mistake somewhere.  Really? I enquire.

Get put through to company B office 4, where mortals may not make contact.  Speak to minion who is as confused as I am.  Try sorting this out.  Get put into second queue after pointing out that we were registered with company B 7 months ago and that all the databases say this.  Second queue leads to god knows where.  Currently on hold.


Second queue led to the famed helpful minion that lurks in each one of these companies.  Turns out that their account registration department did have stuff saying that they had tried processing the account, and that we had given them all the meter readings.  Interestingly, body C (NPASS) is supreme arbiter, and if they say a company supplies you, it does, whether that company says so or not.  Useful thing to know.  Anyway, Company B have agreed to send a bill since they know the start and end readings, and anything sent by company A, is not referring to me and my housemate.  In a case like this, the blockage of the account transfer from A to B is probably due to the non-payment of an earlier bill due to company A.  This debt was then sold by company A to company E, company E being debt reclamation specialists.  It is company E that is hassling the landlord under the letterhead of company A.  This is for monies outstanding prior to me and my housemate moving into the house and trying to set stuff up with company B.  Since body C says that company B supplied the house from the start of our rent contract, the landlord has no leg to stand on, that bill is not ours and pre-dates our tenancy since it is not sent by company B.

That took over 4 hours on the phone to sort out.  Come back MiltonKeynesCouncil, all is comparatively forgiven.


Update 2:

Since the last update,  I have found that although the wheels of the regulators turn very slowly, they turn quite well.  I actually got phoned by company B, who were very flustered, and quite desperate to resolve this.  After it turns out that their computer system is indeed up the creek without a paddle, and that similarly their database is a case of ThatsJustWrong, after three failed attempts by them to reconcile their database with that of the regulator, company B have decided to waive any fees that might have been necessitated during the period they should have been charging us, because frankly their system did something really really screwy that it should never have done and its not our fault (and also, presumably, their system is so inflexible that to actually send out a bill retrospectively would necessitate replacing their database system).

Free energy!  Yay!  Yours for only 6 hours of painfully drawn out phone calls, on hold music and "intelligent" voice recognition systems that do not understand the phrase "I want to speak to a human you cretinous machine" (and indeed, do not give you that option)!!


In the meantime, dare I ask where your bills have been going?  --Vitenka (WHY did the gubblement decide to have multiple billing systems per wire?)

According to the power company B, our bills have officially been going nowhere, because they were never sent, because company B did something very very dumb. --Jumlian

Speakerphone + book is a useful combination, I've found. - MoonShadow
I'm still waiting to find out who supplied my electricity for the first few months I was in my current flat, and whether they are ever going to bill me... --M-A
Ours is PowerGen? - it took the landlady going through the records quite severely for us to discover this, and they refuse to bill us because the previous tenants haven't paid up yet. They're in China, with no ForwardingAddress?... They might concescend to bill us once photocopies of our tenancy agreement reach them. Call-center minion seemed flustered by the concept of us not having a fax machine. Don't get me started on the gas people. -- TI
There's a number you can phone to find this stuff out, you know -- Senji
No. Not that it's now relevant. Two call-centres worth of minions failed to mention said number to me, as well. -- TI
Can we have this number here (and everyewhere else I might find it) for future reference?  --Vitenka (Why the heck is a company averse to being paid by someone other than the person they expect?  I mean, as long as they get the money, why do they care who pays it?)
I'd've posted it if I had had it handy at the time :) -- Senji
Because we're not about to pay a 60 quid bill left by someone else, and the system, for whatever reason, requires them to close one account at a property (presumably by writing off the debt, in this case), before opening another... -- TI
AlexChurchill has made use of this number in the past also - which means this info is handily available thanks to Nokkette.  "TransCo?" is the company who'll tell you just who is providing your current gas and electricity service. 08706 081524 is their number (or was).

I've had a thought.  Fun with utility companies would be changing your carrier every three weeks, and then moving house before they get it all sorted out.  A ForwardingAddress? is for the weak.  --Vitenka

Update the third

Things get worse!!

Calmly awaiting first combined electricity and gas bill in new house from (above defined company B, i.e. powerg^H^H^H) then bill arrives.  It's only for Electricity.  About to phone company B but get delayed, which is just as well because next day have a bill from company A (as defined above) covering gas, for about 16p.  Decide to wait a little while.  Next day, another bill from company A, for 8.47.  Phone and get a quote for what the actual bill should be given current readings, and get an earbashing from company A minion that we obviously didn't tell them we had moved in, which is bad because we'd actually registered with company B, who had (again, I might add) failed to do the transfer.  Next day, get two letters from company A.  One is the bill they claim they sent for the gas three months earlier (in october) for about 47.  Which doesn't explain why it is dated 21st January.  The other letter is something saying that company A has received notice from company B (after 4 months) that we want to become gas customers of company B and that company A records this property as deserted and cut off, so do we want them to come round and switch the gas back on since it has according to their records been switched off for the last 4 months.

I give up.

SeeAlso: CambridgeCouncil for similar rant.
SeeAlso: BritishTelecom?.  They really don't like transferring you to another supplier.

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