The weak link in all of this... • 19 December 2007 • The SnowBlog

The weak link in all of this...

Because I live surrounded by fields, the gas that runs my central heating comes, not from miles of pipes connecting to the North Sea, but from a tank in the garden. What's quite clever is that a telemetry device measures the levels of gas in the tank, then it looks for a mobile phone network and logs on to whichever one has the strongest signal. From there it makes a connection to the computers of its masters and updates them on whether I need a tanker to visit and top me up or not. I was told, when the telemetry unit was installed, that all I had to do was pay the occasional bill - everything else was automatic. But apparently there's a flaw in this system. Yesterday my hot water went cold. And when I checked, the boiler had shut down. Literally* five minutes later the phone rang to say that it looked like I was "low" on gas and would I like some. I asked if maybe in future that shouldn't happen before I ran out - that's how the previous owner said things worked. I was told that that's the norm, but I had opted instead to call them when I wanted gas. News to me. But why did an engineer visit recently to fit the clever telemetry unit then? So they can monitor levels - and call me just after I run out, apparently. I'm sitting here in a coat (in my kitchen) typing this and wondering whether to drive over to Em's and have a nice hot bath in a little while. I hope the truck comes and there's heat and hot water soon. My nose is cold. *I would never abuse the word 'literally'. Except for comedy purposes maybe. But this isn't one of those times.


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