Renting Apartments – What to Expect in the UK (part 5)

Moving day. Well, okay, not really, but chances are I won’t get the opportunity to post this on the day of and I won’t be able to post anything AFTER it until sometime in March.

Yo, why March? Well, very literally, that was the soonest we could schedule someone to come out and install our phone/internet connections. I am not joking. And we aren’t just talking about the first of March, no, the soonest they could arrange was a two week window in the middle of March.

So, a word from a recent graduate of Hard-Knocks U: If you want your utilities to be set up in time, be prepared to apply for them as soon as you have heard that you’ve gotten the apartment otherwise you’ll be like me and have to suffer from internet withdrawal.

Other frustrations as far as utilities are concerned: if the apartment is already registered to an energy company, you have to know the account number that it is registered under before you can register it under your own name. It’s completely twisted, I swear, but there you have it. I’ve tried calling them up and even their phone tree advises you to go online and register – but, again, you can’t DO that without the account number. Way to go UK, for customer service, you really nailed it… not. I’ve been on hold for 5 minutes and no real sign that they’ll be getting to me any time soon.

So far, this seems to be an issue with electricity companies – I had no problems registering for Council Tax, or Water/sewage. Applying for the internet and phone was also painless, aside from the scheduling snafu; so what gives?

That said, switching providers is easy; you don’t need to know specific details, though the more you know the better as they like to have an idea of how much energy you use on average so that they can give a better estimate of your specific monthly/annual costs.

15 minutes on hold, I finally get ahold of someone from E.On and after they give profuse apologies for the wait, I answered some basic questions:

What’s your account number? If I KNEW that, I wouldn’t have called… oy.

What is your post code?

What’s the first line of your address?

What’s your name?

You get through all of those, then they ask you probably the most important question of all:

Have you recently moved to this location?

After that, they ask you on what date did you move in, and if you plan to stay with them as an energy provider. Well, gee, what would have happened if I answered no to the second one? Would they have hung up on me? Honestly; I know it’s a basic question, and likely has to do with them deciding on which department to send me… but, well I’m testy from waiting on hold.

But now I’ve been back on hold for 5 more minutes while they try to get someone from the right department to answer and they checked on me just now (probably to see if I haven’t rage-quitted on them, but w/e) and they had another question to ask:

Is your meter a pre-pay? Well, yes, in this case.

Back on hold again while they release the hounds to hunt down, haul to the ground, and DRAG the person who is supposed to be there back to their desk so they can speak to me…

On a side note: maybe this is me being irritated from the sheer frustration of the whole thing, but the song going on REPEAT since the start of this phone call (see: 25 minutes ago), is starting to cha-cha-slide on my last good nerve.

“I belong with you and you belong with me, in my SWEEEEET ARMS~~~”

^ That, on repeat, over and over and over again. The same song, seriously? Who does this to people? The one that devised this sadistic form of torture… I honestly can’t decide if I want to shake their hands for doing the job so well… or probably something far less polite for doing their job so well. -_-

30 minutes after the call started, I finally get to someone who can help me; I answer the basic questions about my personal information, blah-tee-dah, and then I’m transferred to an automated reading of the terms and conditions for the contract which I have 14 days to change my mind on. Yay.

Thus I am left to wonder why they even needed the old tenant’s account number in the first place.


Because I will be disconnected from the internet for a couple of weeks, I’ve been working with a fellow transplant who is in Japan at the moment to see if they would be willing to do some guest articles for Transplant Monologues. I’ve worked with them before, so I more or less trust them with my baby while I’m away.

At this point, I will have a shameless plug and throw it out there if anyone – not specifically to the UK, but anyone who is living in a different country from where they grew up – would like to share their experiences as immigrants they are more than welcome to DM (Direct Message) me @TransplantM on Twitter or even drop me a line on the Transplant Monologues Facebook page and we can make arrangements.

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