TO say that Lanark resident Margaret Brown was puzzled with a demand to pay a £341 gas bill would be a bit of an understatement.
That’s because her flat in the town’s Smyllum Road isn’t connected to a gas supply!
What’s puzzling her even more is that, despite alerting the company billing her - Scottish Power - of this fact months ago, they keep sending her ever-growing bills for gas she simply couldn’t have used.
She said that, under the council Home Happening improvement programme, a gas line was put into the Smyllum estate last year but her flat is yet to be connected to it; connection works weren’;t due to start until this week.
“I got the first bill back on January 30 for £44.94 for what the letter said was an `estimated reading’ and got in touch with them to explain that the flat isn’t connected to the gas supply yet.
“I thought that would be the end of it until, on February 3, just four days later, I got another bill, this time for £52.30. This time it said it was from a `meter reading’.
“ I suppose that IF I had actually used any gas, a seven quid bill for four days wouldn’t have been too bad but I phoned them again to point out I simply didn’t have a supply and the meter in the flat wasn’t yet connected to the gas pipes..
“The person I talked to was like that `the computer says no’ character from the comedy show Little Britain; she kept insisting her computer said I had had a meter reading and so that must be true. It just isn’t.”
Even Maragret’s usually cheerful and understanding nature was pushed too far, though, when a third bill arrived on april 30 - for £341.97!
“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened that letter. I even started to wonder if the unconnected gas pipes into the flat might have been leaking. Then I thought - no; I’m a smoker and if there had been a leak of £341.97’s worth of gas, I’ve have blown myself AND the rest of Smyllum Road up by now!”