A few months ago, Smithy and I decided to convert from mains gas to bottled gas after receiving a gas bill in which we'd used about $3.00 worth of gas, but had to pay $60.00 plus for the privilege of having it supplied to the house. So we went about buying the bottled gas and getting it all connected and everything and then Smithy rang the gas company (AGL) to organise the disconnection. It took quite some time for the operator to understand that yes we wanted the gas disconnected, no we don't have a forwarding address as we're not leaving, but yes we do want the gas disconnected. Yes we do understand that means the meter will be taken away. No, it won't cost the new tenants anything to get it re-installed because we are not going anywhere. Yes we want the gas disconnected...even though we aren't moving house. Eventually someone did come around and disconnect us from the mains gas and took away the meter. A little while after that we got our final reading bill, which included a penalty fee for terminating the contract with the gas company before the two years we had initially signed up for had expired. Money-gouging scoundrels, but we'll cop that since it's the last we'll ever have to pay.
Fast forward to last week when we received a bill charging us for the mains gas we've used for the past three months - the gas we no longer get because we're disconnected. Intrigued as to how they managed to read a meter that's no longer there, Smithy rang AGL and explained to them that we've been disconnected from the mains, the meter has been removed and all that's left is a pipe sticking out of the ground. Oh, says the operator, but our records show a new meter was installed there as the previous residents had moved out. No, we're still here, but there's no new meter because we're on bottled gas. Turns out, a meter had been automatically ordered, but its return never recorded or something. Anyway, the operator said she'd sort it all out and arrange for someone to come out and remove that pipe that's sticking out of the ground.
Fast forward again to yesterday, when we received a letter welcoming us as new customers to AGL. They don't know who we are as the letter was addressed to "The Customer" but they've signed us up for a two year contract. Thoughtful of them, ain't it. Smithy's going to call AGL, ask if she's speaking to the Left Hand or the Right Hand and then ask to speak to the other one as obviously half the people at AGL have no idea what the other half are doing.
Meanwhile, that pipe is still sticking out of the ground.