So when I got my six-monthly bill the other day I was pleased to see that they owed me about £150. Good, I thought, that’ll see me through the next few months when it’s colder, darker and more boring. The system’s working. Then I read on. “…which we will refund to your bank account on or soon after 6 November 2011.” Hang on, though: that means that, come the spring, I’ll owe them money; and I bet they’ll put my monthly payments up in response, which means next autumn they’ll owe me more money, which they’ll refund, which means … you get the picture. A positive feedback loop.
I remember a variant of this a few years back, when instead of issuing a refund, they proposed to reduce my payments over the winter, which would mean … oh, I can’t go on. On that occasion I phoned them up and explained. “Oh yes, the computer does that,” the call centre told me. “We have to go in and override it. We get this all the time.”
I don’t think I can be bothered to phone this time, but if I do I want a word with that computer.