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So, I’m going to rant about people. In this case, I’m going to rant about a company I’m going to enigmatically refer to as “n”, because naming them as “that collection of morons at npower” would be bad for my image.

For the last ten months or so I have had a pleasant relationship with “n”. They gave me gas, I gave them money. We were both happy. My electricity company, however, who I shall likewise refer to by an initial – in this case “p” – have constantly referred to me as “new Powergen customer” even when they were threatening to kill me for maliciously paying my bills on time.

So I got a flyer from “n”, about how wonderful my life would be if I used them for all my energy fuel requirements. I was sceptical, as often I am, until they mentioned that it would save me money – which I am in favour of – and give me free plush toys – which I am also in favour of. So I phoned them up, confirmed the free toys thing, and signed over.

A couple of months later I got two bills. In two envelopes. One was for electricity, and was excessive, and the other was for gas, and was also excessive. By this method I knew I was in 2006. And I paid one, and forgot about the other.

Then, a little while later, I got a reminder from “n”, with “n”’s logo at the top, reminding me to pay “n” the value of the other bill. So I went to my computer, loaded up my bank’s website, and paid the bill.

Today, I got another letter from “n”. “There the wuck” said the letter, which I am paraphrasing, “is our mucking foney? Phone us now on this freephone number, you deadbeat, or we’ll send the boys ‘round with an axe”.

So I telephoned them at 8am on a Monday morning. “Due to an unexpected number of calls, i.e. any, on this bloody horrible time of the week, we reserve the right to pacify you with yet another bloody recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Or, if you like, the wonders of modern technology allow us to continue ignoring your call without you even being here and phone you back when we’re done killing kittens. How’d you like that? Press 1 if you’d like that”

I pressed 1.

The machine played Vivaldi at me.

I waited a little while.

“Due to […] bloody […] technology[…] we’re […] killing kittens. […] Press 1 if you’d like that”.

I pressed 1.

“Hello person who is on a phone that we are going to phone back, yet who is already on the phone to us, what is your phone number?”

[Phone number]

“And your name?”

[My name]

“Okay. Soon as we’re done, we’ll call you. Kthxbye”

So they waited. And I left for work. And I passed though quiet residental streets, and they waited. And I wandered down silent roads, and they waited. And I crossed a busy roundabout, and they phoned.

“Hello. This is ‘n’, who are you?”

“I’m me. These are my details”

And we had a Conversation. And it came apparent in this Conversation that despite the fact that I am one person, I am – to them – two people. I am the Aquarion who pays twice for gas, and I am the Aquarion who fails to pay for electricity, and there is no possible way the two can ever meet, or give each other money, or interact in any way. In this, it’s a bit like LARP.

So I went over my details a bit, and realised that whilst the bills I had got had said “Gas” and such helpful things, neither letter about non-payment had no such helpful crib notes.

So, I have two remaining questions. One, what is the point of having all my energy needs supplied by one company if I still have to treat them as entirely separate companies without the useful visual reminder of them being two entirely separate companies?

Two, and far more important, why the hell haven’t I got my plush gas flame yet?

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