Monday 25 February 2008


More tales of unspeakably silly and frustrating bureaucracy. We have three properties on this site. Our originally house, a derelict black bungalow that we bought some years ago and the office. This has caused severe “bolt on, sod off” problems with the water and electricity authorities which goes something like this.

When we built the office we were told that there was only 1-phase electricity available. “OK” we said “we have 3-phase at the house can we swap them about” “Not possible” they said “but, you can build a sub-station at our own cost” “For our own unique supply?” “No, to service the whole area”. “But we are an International company that relies on a good electricity supply and Internet access, surely, there must be something that can be done. We are ecologically sound, employing and training 60 local people in new technologies in this rural part of Lincolnshire ” “Sorry, no can help”. Brick wall.

We then applied to the water authorities to have a separate water supply piped to the new office. All it required was for them to fit a meter and connect the new pipe to the mains at the top of our drive. We paid for this to be done and after several months of arguments, unfulfilled promises, lost paperwork (by them), people going off sick, varying opinions on how and when is should be done and how much it should cost, it was finally accomplished.

While this is going on we decide to have the old black bungalow electricity and water supplies disconnected. The place had not been used for years and until we ever get around to re-building it seemed silly to pay rates. After several months and many, many letters and phone calls this was also finally achieved.

Job done. We now have our main file servers off site in a secure location with reliable electricity and a backup generator in case of electrical failure, the office has its own billed water supply and the old black bungalow has had the electricity and water disconnected. Sorted! You reckon? Not a chance.

All three properties are now classified as unoccupied by both the electricity and water authorities and an old lady who has lived in a bungalow down the road for 47 years is having sleepless nights because her electricity is being charged to our old black bungalow and her house has also been classified as unoccupied. BUT, we are still getting our meters read and paying the bills! How does that work?

We have endeavoured, almost weekly, to get someone to listen to us and finally last Friday we thought the water authority part had been resolved. My colleague happened across someone who not only appeared to understand the problem, but was convinced it could be rectified. Together they went through the whole process and at the end of the conversation agreed it had been resolved.

This morning we received a notice referring to this conversation, confirming that the office is now classified as an unoccupied building. You couldn’t make it up could you? Hello! Is there life out there anywhere?


You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.

You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons

You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.


You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. The public then buys your bull.

You have two cows. You shred them.

You have two cows. You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.



Dusty Spider said...

Poor you, but it makes a great story. You'll laugh when it's all over. Flick x

Maggie May said...

Blimey! You are really going through the mill.
I have the same thing with my broadband service. You wouldn't think it was so difficult to arrange a direct debit. One year later I am still getting threatening letters & have to pay 3 months at a time by phone. They still haven't sussed out how to set up a direct debit!

aims said...

And you live where?

Jean Genie(us) said...

Dear Friends,

Retired and Crazy lives in Lincolnshire. I rest my case!!!

But hang on, these are national companies we're talking about.

Dear Friends,

Retired and Crazy lives in the UK. I definately rest my case!!!!

Signed: another daily battered, police state-ed, government ruled, embittered, thank God this is a democracy - not - shouter at the TV, high blood pressured, UK citizen

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

Lord above - it's beyond belief! I love the continuing stories about the cows too. Margot xx.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely crazy! I live in a block of converted flats in an old building. The gas and electricity companies have no idea which meter belongs to which flat.... its absolutely mad.

Anonymous said...

I think my brain hurts now! These larger companies seem to think they can get away with anything. Unfortunately, they usually do because people don't complain. I think I could have had grounds for a complaint with BT but I let it go and they got away with shoddy service for 2 weeks while my BB was disconnected. It's just a pain in the rear but hang on in there. Once that's over with, something else will crop up.

I'm a happy ole soul today!!

Crystal xx said...

We are actually howling with laughter already Dusty, especially when that last letter arrived. said...

Oh, Maggie, I could go on all day about trying to set up DD's. Don't get me started again! said...

Yes aims, I STILL live in the UK! said...

Hi Jeanie, my old friend. Calm down now, you will do yourself some harm. said...

I love the stories about the cows too Mother. I keep trying to improve old grumpies demenenour by continuously reading them to him, but he obviously doesn't appreciate a good laugh! said...

I have also had the experience of living in a block of flats where the utility company can't identify who lives where. How do they get away with it? said...

Hi Crystal, one of our Ambassadors used to say "thank God it's only a game, what would we do if were for real?". When life gets crazy I remember that.