Energy Suppliers – The Lost Spark

I have recently moved house and, for the first time in my life, have rented somewhere for 6 months until I can find a suitable property to buy. It’s all been a bit of an adventure and so far almost everything has gone well.

The fly in the ointment has been ensuring I get the energy suppliers that I want and not those imposed on me by the rental agent. It seems to be common practice for agents to have agreement with certain suppliers and that as soon as a property is offered for rent, those suppliers take over.

Before moving, I made arrangements for all my preferred suppliers to take over provision at the new address. All went well and I was assured that, apart from having to change phone number, all was OK. I moved in, everything was still connected and after a couple of days I had letters from the gas, water and phone companies I had chosen telling me that everything was in place. The missing piece was the electricity supply, yes I had lights and power, but it wasn’t until a week had passed that I found a “Welcome Pack” from Spark Energy stuffed through the door. This pack contained no account number or details of anything other than a load of fluff telling me what a great company they were and providing a form for me to fill in to set up a direct debit. I chose not to fill the form but to phone them – that’s when things warmed up slightly.

It seems that my letting agent Watson Bull and Porter have partnered with Spark Energy who had been able to become my electricity supplier one day before I got the keys. After a heated phone discussion with Spark Energy it turns out it’s down to me to repeat the exercise and change back to SSEB (my chosen supplier) – do a search for Spark Energy to see what they’ve been up to in the past and read the Which? review to see their below average ratings. I want nothing to do with Spark but find myself having to to get involved just because someone in a suit in a rental agency gets some commission from them for this underhanded business practice.

I suppose I am lucky as I am more than willing to stand my ground and make a lot of fuss about this kind of thing but I feel sympathy for those too timid to argue and get what they want and to make a fuss with the agents.

Give it a couple of weeks and I guess things will be how I want them but, should I really have to go through all this rubbish and, more importantly, why should a distinctly dodgy supplier (more accurately a provider of monthly bills) get a chance to take money for a simple rental transaction?

5 Nicholas Close Brading

I’ve recently been looking to buy a property here on the Island. Searching around brought up 5 Nicholas Close Brading as a good punt as it was priced well below the normal price for a 3 bedroomed detached bungalow, some research revealed why.

Despite the agent’s description saying “The property has undergone some improvement works in recent times and is considered ideal for owner occupation as a weekend/holiday retreat or as a letting investment.

The real description should have read “This property has been subject to flooding by water and raw sewerage and has been decorated to disguise that fact.

OK, so the price of c£140,000 should have told me something was very wrong, but nobody had the balls to admit it. I’m sure they knew but they just didn’t say!

Needless to say I won’t be taking things any further….

Estate agents? don’t ask……

Irish Newspapers Will Now Be Ignored

The following article is from Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at

This newsletter often points to interesting articles available elsewhere on the web. I usually give a 2- or 3-sentence introduction, followed by a link to the article of interest. According to a coalition of Irish newspapers, if I provide a link to an Irish newspaper, I am a pirate.

The National Newspapers of Ireland has adopted a new policy. Any website which links to one of the 15 NNI member newspapers will have to pay a minimum of 300 Euros ($395 US dollars), with the license fee going up if you post more links. See for the details.

Note that this is not a fee to post an excerpt or some punitive measure for the copying of an entire article. No, the NNI wants to charge for links alone. It doesn’t apply just to newsletters or web sites, the NNI wants to charge the same fee to ANYONE who even posts a single link in a Twitter message or any other message in any public place on the Internet. That includes Facebook, all blogs, all web pages, and perhaps anyplace else online!

This is one of the most stupid ideas I have read in recent times. The National Newspapers of Ireland obviously has no idea how the web works and also has no concept of the amount of valuable publicity that links to their members’ newspapers can provide.

Online news site Slashdot suggests this is an elaborate way to commit suicide.

Whatever the reasons, I will abide by this rule. I will no longer refer to any Irish newspaper web site until the National Newspapers of Ireland wakes up and rescinds this foolishness.

Investigating this madness a little further, I discovered an Irish Solicitor who agrees with Dick.

Happy New Year

OK so I’m a few days late… take it or leave it 😉

Not much to report really, I just thought I’d better get a new post in and bring things up to date a little.

No matter how I try I can’t seem to get my office/workspace clear of  a seemingly ever growing pile of old PCs and bits! As fast as I get rid of a pile of old machines, a couple of “new”  broken ones appear. I meant to photograph the current pile and put an ad on FreeCycle but haven’t got around to it – 3 old laptops, 2 PC desktop cases, 4 tower cases, an HP scanner, 2 printers and a bunch of PSU, oh and a partridge in a pear tree!

The pile is now big enough to raise eyebrows at the local tip as I’m sure they’d think it was commercial dumping so I think the FreeCycle thing is the only way to go.

I hope there’s not another one on the way as I just had a call from somebody who fell for the phone scam where the caller reckons he’s from Microsoft Support. He says he has detected that your PC is infected with all sorts of nasties and eventually convinces people to allow him remote access to assess the damage. Unfortunately, my friend allowed him online and only realized the scam halfway through. He immediately shutdown his PC but is rightly scared about what has been done by the intruder.

More later I suspect….