1/16/2009 03:11:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 16 Comments

I'm alive, well (it's all relative!) and settling in to my new flat. I've managed to sort out a landline, but it will be some time (possibly weeks) before I can get broadband hooked up. Until then I don't expect to be able to post as there are no internet cafes where I live and finding places with wi-fi access is difficult. I'm sort of attempting to keep a moving diary so I'll post that when I can, but expect highlights such as my having been called a victim over a dozen times by the woman who processed my housing benefit application, how I managed to restrain myself from walloping her to give insight into what being a victim really means and more nonsense from the utility companies.

Hope life is treating you all kindly, Bendy Girl x


Sparks will fly

1/07/2009 04:01:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 17 Comments

Aaargh! So far I've spent the best part of the past hour on the phone to Scottish Power who currently supply my gas and electricity and seem to supply the electricity in the new flat.

I started with the Carefree team who are the department set up to deal with extra needs. Nearly 20 minutes on a chargeable 0845 number with a nice lady keen to help. After checking with her manager she gave me the number to the power systems team which was also an 0845 number. Carefree believed that because it was a physical change required (ie a new power supply rather than just a new meter) that it had to be the power supply team who authorised and did the work. They believed that because it related to disability there shouldn't be a charge but couldn't state that for sure.

So then the power supply team insist it's not their responsibility and must be sorted out by the Carefree team, even reading out an email to me which they'd all received explaining such issues must be dealt with by Carefree. I was given a national landline number to contact the carefree team this time so at least the 10+ minutes I've now been on hold since being transferred aren't chargeable. Unfortunately the second person I spoke to at Carefree insisted it was the responsibility of the power supply team and that they can't deal with it.

Finally, I've found I've been on hold so long the carefree team are closed for the day. So now I have 3 different phone numbers for the carefree team and no better idea of who to contact or how.

So, to Scottish Power: Your customer service is appalling. The individual operators are all pleasant and helpful but passing people back and forth between different departments whilst both insist it is the other departments responsibility is pretty poor and indicates a lack of training and communication. In terms of disability access and DDA it's so complicated and insistent upon avoiding responsibility that it's probably also in breach of DDA. Banging my head against a brick wall would be more productive than trying to deal with Scottish Power as a company and probably produce cheaper electricity too!


Coin Meter

1/03/2009 01:10:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 11 Comments

Just a quick post to ask if anyone has any information about electricity supplied through a coin meter? I went to see the new flat again this morning, the landlord showed me how to use the electricity coin meter but my hands simply are not strong enough to turn the thingy to get the coin to drop in. I'm very unhappy about the idea of replacing it with a prepayment card meter because they are extortionately expensive, but realise that may be my only option.

Whilst I'm fairly happy that the landlords are charging the same price as the electricity companies per Kwh, obviously not being able to work the coin meter is a major problem. Relying on friends to fill it for me on an ad hoc basis as some have suggested is unacceptable, I can't cope with the idea of living somewhere the power could go out at any time and I won't be able to do anything about it. The landlord, understandably, won't change the meter himself as the electricity companies wanted £500+ to do so, but is quite happy for me to have it changed if I can find out how to get the electricity company to do so, as long as there is no charge to the landlord.

I've tried google but can't seem to find anything about regulations relating to coin meters other than the standards about cost etc. If anyone has any advice or suggestions I'd be very grateful. Thank you!