Don't get mad - get a shotgun.

Office Space

As of today, I’ve started work in an office in central Milton Keynes. I’m still working the same contracts and so on, so it’s not a new employer or anything. It’s just a different environment, allowing me to separate work and home a bit.

While I can work from home (and have been for the last few months) I still find it’s easy to have days where I’m demotivated, and can’t really be bothered to get on with work stuff. It’s easy to be distracted, to never really get into “work mode”.  In general I can get away with it, because the productive days outweigh the non-productive ones – but I don’t want that to be the case.

So I made some enquiries, and an office space had just become available in one of the buildings I’d emailed. It’s designed for start-up businesses – which I am/have – and is ideal for one or two people. Less than £200 a month (which is also a business expense anyway) including utilities and wifi/internet, right in the middle of Milton Keynes. Pretty much ideal.

I’ve got it for a minimum of three months – which takes me to just over the current end-date for contracts – and then a monthly-rolling renewal after that. If things go bad, one month’s notice and I’m done.

It’s another positive step, and one I hope will work out when it comes to balancing work and home life a bit better.

But it does make me feel a bit grown-up too, which is kind of odd, to say the least…

Change is Gonna Come

As per comments on the previous post about my asshole energy suppliers, I will definitely be looking at changing them this year.

However, because of the ongoing billing fuckups, right now I have no decent figures for comparison purposes. I’m sure I’m not getting a good deal from the cockwhistles at nPower, but I don’t actually know for sure how bad the deal is. I haven’t had a clear and accurate bill in nearly three years – which makes figuring anything else out into quite a struggle.

As always, I don’t see the point in changing anything until I know I’m getting a better deal – so for now I’ll be keeping things with nPower.

However, that’s only for the next couple of months, during which time I’ll be keeping an eye on actual usage and what I’m paying. Once I’ve had the next bill, and know more about the usage and expectations, I’ll be able to make a far better estimation of what I’m spending versus what I could/should be spending.

And from that point, I’ll then have to decide whether I’m going to stick with [current location] for at least another year’s tenancy. If I am, and there’s a good offer around, I’ll swap. Until then, it’s going to be about making sure I’ve got the figures to back up the decision one way or t’other…

Energy Madness

Since moving to the new (current) place, I’ve had an ongoing (and too depressing for words) set of issues and disputes with nPower. These have included, but not limited to

  • Not having the correct name on the account for eighteen months, despite repeated requests to change it
  • Losing documentary proof (including my tenancy agreement) of my address. Originals were insisted upon, sent recorded delivery, signed for, and then lost.  Hard to place blame anywhere except nPower
  • Billing issues – my bills went up, down, sideways, and every way except correctly
  • Misrepresentation – sending a meter reader into my house under the guise of being someone to do ‘legal gas meter checks’.  (This was also while the bill/account was in the wrong name, so there was also some issues legally around that)
  • A meter reading done by a representative of nPower, who then managed to register that reading to a completely different address, and denied ever having done one for this house. (Despite his having done readings/visits recorded to every other house in my block at the same time)

So it’s fair to say that I regard nPower as incompetent useless dickwhistles at the best of times.

Today, though, has taken it to a whole new level.

Things have settled down somewhat, and on Tuesday I gave them a meter reading directly through the website.  At that point, my account was £1.62 in credit.  Happy day, all well and good.

Today I logged in for a quick check. £595.82 in credit.  Um, what? So I look, and it’s got four cancelled bills, adding up to the amount in credit.  Four bills I’ve received, and paid. Now cancelled. File under “Fuck, What The”

So I gave them a call. The first incompetent managed to put the phone down on me. So I called back, and finally got through to one of the (few) efficient and competent individuals who work at nPower. (I’m quite sure she won’t last long, having been actually pleasant and competent)

It turns out that – once in receipt of a valid meter reading – nPower cancel out all the estimated bills back to the previous correct reading. They then recalculate all those bills with the correct figures (although technically they must still be estimates of what was used, averaging out the figures over the number of bills) to bring everything back up to date.  So for however far back, the bills get cancelled – despite having been printed, posted and paid – and then recreated.  Then I’ll know what I need to pay to be up to date.

Except of course that they’ve also got to send out all those new bills. So next week I’m going to get five bills from nPower – the four reconstructed ones – as well as the one to bring me up to date.

Now, I realise that this is something that’s required by the energy regulator – but does it strike anyone else as a completely fucking barking way to run a business?

Business Account

Among other ongoing things, I finally got confirmation today that I’ve sorted a new account for my limited company, so I can start doing things properly come April.

There’s still a bundle of other things to sort out along the way – but it’s a major step forward.

It’s progress for me personally as well, because this account has needed credit-scoring to get it started, and it’s still been accepted. That’s definitely A Good Thing, and bodes well for the future.

Ghost Town

I don’t know why, but my village this week is utterly quiet in the evenings. It looks like I’m the only person in my block of houses – the parking spaces outside are all empty, and there’s no lights on anywhere in the block.

Walking round the village, I’m lucky if I see two people. Even the pub is closing early.

All told, it’s just a bit odd. It’s not half-term or anything, but it feels like a ghost-town of an evening…


When I logged in today, I spotted this…

d4d_6666Nothing special to it, but I did like that nice balanced figure for the comments…

Flattened, But With Progress

I don’t know what’s been going on this last week, but I’ve been feeling pretty wiped-out all week. Not health-wise as such, there’s been no illness or anything to speak of – but my mood has just been flat and a bit demotivated. Not depressed – I know that one way too well – but just…. tired. I guess it’s just been one of those weeks.

Despite that, though, there’s been progress with other stuff.

As well as the normal work – which I’ve still been able to get enough done on – I’ve also finally got a business bank account sorted for once this contract comes to an end.  Considering everything else that’s gone on, that’s quite something, and I’m really pleased about it.

I’ve also finalised the paperwork for renting the office for the next few months, so that should be a go from next week, with any luck.

So it’s all looking pretty promising. The first month of this year has already been more positive than pretty much all of last year.  I’m not counting my chickens just yet, but things so far are looking up.

Now if only I could get back to being a bit more motivated and driven about it all…

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