I dare say before my dad died he thought he had most of his post-life financial affairs covered. But he couldn’t have envisaged the unnecessary and complicated problems I encountered when trying to pay his final electricity bill.
I phoned EDF, explained about my dad’s passing and asked for someone to come out and read his meter.
“I’m sorry, we can’t do that,” I was told.
“What do you mean you can’t do that? You’re an electricity company. You have dedicated teams of people who’ve had years of training to complete their childhood dream of reading meters for a living. Surely, it’s “a given” that you do that very thing?”
I was told when a tenancy expires, the landlord usually reads the meter and phones the electricity company and you’ll get sent the final bill.
So, when I attended dad’s sheltered housing final flat inspection, I asked the warden to take a meter reading.
“Is there a meter in his flat?” She asked.
“No,” I said but she checked anyway because clearly I look like a pathological liar.
After bizarrely looking in the communal cupboard marked “rubbish chute,” she declared: “I don’t know where the meters are.”
“But you’re the warden. This building is your domain. How can you not know? I hope you know where the fire exits are.”
After totally ignoring the cupboards helpfully marked “Danger, high voltage,” she took my number and phoned me the meter reading the next day.
I called EDF and explained that I had just paid an electric bill for dad’s flat for a reading taken a fortnight earlier for £53.38p and he noted it and said he’d send me a bill for the measly outstanding balance of £4.03p.
Brilliant, I thought. At last.
So, imagine my dismay when, a few days later I received an electric bill for the already paid and unpaid amounts added together for a total of £57.41p.
After one more needless phone call, it was problem solved and I finally paid the bill. Dad would be very proud.