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  1. Electricity: Well, we applied for electricity to be connected in March of this year (It is late August as I write this). Made a couple of calls to see how things were progressing, but never got any call backs. It would have been great to have an electricity supply for the a lot of the work, but in the end I had to buy a generator, which has been a godsend. So come August and we are now living on site in a caravan. I've been in for the last couple of weeks and last night my wife moved in too (we are doing the final move from the old house this week). So a couple of weeks ago we tried to ring Northern Networks new connections office - only to be told repeatedly that they were too busy and were not taking calls! So had to tell a receptionist who was fielding their calls the whole story - but still not allowed to speak to the new connections department. So over 2 days, my wife and I tried several times a day to get through since surely they must put the phone down at least once in 48 hours? Well, according to the receptionist, not. I asked if I could 1speak to some manager who may be able to help - no, we were not allowed! a flat refusal! I got an email from our original contact engineer to the effect that they had not received our acceptance of the quote in March! (in reality, things getting "lost in the post" is vanishingly rare, in my experience, certainly here in the North East, though I know it can be an issue in parts of the South). So I resent a copy - a week or two later we get it back with scrawled "OOT" - and a letter saying We were Out Of Time to reply! - and must start again from the beginning, getting an engineer to check the site etc. etc. By means I'll not disclose, I obtained a managers name in the new connections department and managed to bluff my way past the guard and was actually able to speak to him! He at least seemed to sympathise that 5 months is too long and I got him to promise he would watch to see this latest application didn't get "lost in the post" for 5 months yet again. Either way, I had to reapply - I pointed out to him how silly it was for the engineers to have to look at it from scratchy and could they not just resurrect using the map and details they already have? He agreed, and so after a week and a half another quote came - exactly the same as last time. So I've posted 2 copies of our acceptance in separate post boxes AND emailed both the department, and the person named on the letter, and got read receipts and delivery confirmation emails. Meantime, if we want a shower in the caravan we have to nip out and turn the generator on - which is noisy for our nearest neighbours, and whilst they have not complained, I am very aware of the noise. As at present I got to work around 0430, I really cannot in fairness run the generator, so it makes things pretty difficult. I'm sitting in the new house shell writing this with the generator running so I can use the computer and internet with ear defenders on! We run the genny in the house to try and cut some of the external noise down (with doors/windows open of course). Its not conducive to thought though to be honest. Unfortunately mobile data is so bad here that web sites time out, so this is the only way we can get on the internet from the site. I really wish they'd hurry up with the connection! Water: Curiously, we have had the same lack of response from Northumbrian water. They like to see the service pipe running into the house, but no way could I keep the trench open for 6 months safely so eventually, I filled it back in when they'd done nothing for 3 months (its a mere 1 metre from our boundary to the water main) . Chasing them up again, they were very good and apologised profusely and promised a guy out that week, they also said they quite understood that it was dangerous for me to leave a trench open 6 months on a building site. when the guy came I was at work, so when he turned up and said he needed to inspect the pipe (I've actually even pressure tested it myself) was deep enough and bedded properly she handed him a spade and told him to help himself . Strangely enough it then did not need inspecting - funny that! When they come to connect to it (the end is sticking out of the ground of course) and dig down, they will see the depth and the sand bedding it is in anyway. Openreach have been OK. PlusNet cut our business internet connection off 2 weeks before we moved (and that's a business connection!) and said it would be 3 weeks before they'd switch it on, despite Openreach having connected us up! In the event, they did it a couple of days early, but knocking business accounts off for 3 weeks is simply not good enough - that could destroy some businesses completely. We have ADSL rather than fibre, but actually, since the rest of the village is now on fibre we have it all to ourselves and so far it's pretty reasonable speed-wise (when the generator is no to power the modem of course). As for the house itself, the builder tells me that he should be starting the stonework in 3 weeks now the roof is 90% finished.
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