I received my electricity bill for our garage this week. Well, in reality, it is a glorified storage space – a place where any and all junk is offloaded, as items are banished from the house. There have been articles of furniture, once dispersed to the garage, which have then made a comeback. However, those have been few and far between. Having been consigned to the garage, it is pretty rare for a reprieve.
Until a recent top-to-tail clear out, it was just as likely that the items would remain in stasis as opposed to the next logical step: disposal. The odd occasion any of us would have reason to visit, we would zap the door – a process which had by now lost the attraction it initially held for us – look in and, with a resigned shake of the head, close the door and walk away.
We were pretty pleased when we bought the lock-up as it had a high-ish tech, electrically operated up and over door, controlled by the handheld 'zapper', which made us feel we had that wee bit enhanced security. That is until a few years ago. Some observant criminal type clocked the makeup of the door and, putting two and two together, came to the conclusion that it was likely there may be all forms of riches within. They duly proceeded to boot the door in, which must have been a pretty time and energy-consuming process.
In case you are wondering why we were not alerted to this element of criminal effort, it is because the garage is part of a lot, located at the end of our street. As a consequence, the enterprise was not noticed by ourselves nor it appears any of our neighbours. The intruders managed to wrench the bottom of the door open and pull it up enough to access entry. I imagine they then mimicked our behaviour, mentioned earlier, where they most likely peered in, shook their heads collectively, and with resigned disappointment made their getaway. The damage and replacement door cost a pretty packet but we managed to retain the crap clogging up the lock-up, so not a complete loss.
That is all in the past and not the focus of this particular story. I opened the electricity bill with heightened interest. I was aware there was likely to be a substantial increase from previous accounts but not sure whether to laugh or curse as I read the numbers. It said 'You must pay £376.62'. The due day was shown as three days previous to the date I was reading the bill. I naturally got straight on the phone and after 10/15 minutes was put through to the very helpful Kim, who, when I explained my predicament, quickly adjusted my account.
While she was making the change, I took the opportunity to congratulate her employer on having hired Superman. She appeared to be taken aback at this, until I explained that the detail on the bill stated that they had taken a reading from my meter in October. Truth is, the only way they could have possibly done so was by employing Superman's X-ray vision as I was absolutely certain that no such meter reader had entered the garage.
It turns out that even though each of the bills previous to this had registered that I had used one half of a kWh on average, this one reckoned I would have used 1,279 kWh from early August through to mid-October. The outcome was that I am now £70-odd in credit but think that's probably incorrect and is likely to be adjusted up the way in future bills.
Returning to the garage break-in. On replacing the door, we also had a spotlight installed with a sensor, designed to illuminate the garage forecourt when it detected movement. I can't imagine how much that would have cost us in electricity charges had it continued to work beyond the first week.
Makes me grateful for small gains which, on the face of it, appeared to be setbacks.
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