I actually have no idea why the bill for gas and electricity is so large, but now I know why it came to a name that I don't recognize. It used to be in the name of one of my housemates. The guy that moved out (thank god). When he moved out, he didn't tell anyone. I finally asked his sister weeks later and she confirmed that he was gone, although I was pretty sure that's what had happened when I saw that the TV and all the toilet brushes disappeared.
When he left, he changed the bills to be under a fictitious name. And didn't tell anybody, except possibly his sister, what name to look for. So last week, I saw a letter from the electric/gas company addressed to an unknown name, and realized that I had given no money to either company in quite a long time. I opened it and it alerted me that the gas and power was going to be shut off in a few days time unless we sent them money. A lot of money. The bill is incredibly high.
I called the company and asked if it possibly dated from before we moved in. They refused to discuss anything with me unless I faxed in a copy of my tenancy agreement. I couldn't not get them to agree to delay shutting things off, even. So I did that and they promised to send a revised bill and have not done so.
And then I started talking to my housemates. The sister refused to pay anything and demanded to know why I had called them. (Personally, I think of it as kind of a disaster when power and gas get shut off, but I'm also the sort of person who replaces lightbulbs. Indeed, I'm the only person in this house who replaces lightbulbs.) She claimed the electric company was lying about the amount that we owed. We had already paid bills for the time covered under that bill, when it was in her brother's name. I asked if she could produce copies of these bills, as that would surely help resolve any disputes. She got suddenly very shouty and defensive.
There was an interesting phrase on the bill. It said it was extremely accurate because they had sent somebody around to read the meter. Apparently, the previous bills all said they were the amount that the residents had called up to report.
Now, this is pure speculation on my part, drawn from conjecture and partially remembered rants of my very ranty ex-housemate, but what I suspect is that he was calling them up every month with invented numbers on the meter. Then he switched it to a name unconnected with him and hoped that nothing would get shut off before his sister moved out.
How much is the bill? Less than my monthly rent in London is going to be, but not much less.
The gas/electric company promised to send something within the week, when I explained that we were all about to move and I needed to see something in writing to present to my housemates or else I would get stuck with the whole thing. They made false promises about mailing things.
There's false promises and duplicity all around. And I'm going to get stuck with the entire bill. Because the only way I'm getting any money out of the lying weasel or his sister is going to be to take them to court. And the whole process will certainly involve a wall of manic shouting from both of them. I have more financial capital than emotional capital. I can pay money and make the stress go away.
I was joking earlier that the vibe living here made me pine for the good old days of a disintegrating marriage. Truly I have cursed myself to an expensive divorce.