I have something interesting to talk about. This is the first year ever in which I'm living in a house where I have to pay bills.
Now the only conventional bills we have are the phone/internet bill and the water bill, which I think we can expect 3 times this year. The big two, electricity and gas, are paid for via top-up meter. In order to top up either the electricity key or the gas card, we have to bring either one or both to the nearby Spa and simply add money, then upon our return we insert the relevant instrument into the relevant meter to complete the top-up process. Simple right?
Well in order to make sure both meters are kept properly topped up, a rota has been established for electricity and for gas everyone just pays in a set amount.
Now the thing about paying bills is, I've learned that, surprisingly, electricity isn't all that expensive. There are 3 key rooms in this house that use up a large chunk of power, but only about £2.50 of electricity is really used per day (could be less if John bothered to keep an eye on what gadgets of his don't need to be switched on). £15 easily supplies us with a week's worth.
As for gas, well a new contract had to be purchased or something (I dunno, Tina dealt with it) and for the first few weeks of term, we just lived without gas. It wasn't yet freezing enough for heaters and we could just boil water in a kettle whenever we had to wash up. Now when the gas did finally get topped up, I learned the hard way how bloody expensive it is. £4.99 provided hot water whenever the tap was turned on and powered the heaters for a period of about 9 hours. That's it.
Recently a massive amount of money has been loaded onto the gas meter, but because of what I've learned, I keep getting paranoid after I notice someone manually switching on the heating (as in, outside the hours which are programmed for automatic switch on and off), although with temperatures falling it is understandable. Because of my paranoia I just check the gas meter at regular intervals. All I can say is, automatic programming is definitely an advantage.
But Nathan, be happy your flat only has an electricity supply, I wouldn't wish you the unendurable fate of contending with gas.