Bunhill: Getting connected

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The Independent Online
MUCH has been written about the salaries and perks doled out to the men who run the utility companies.

They do not receive a particularly favourable press, but much of the problem is of their own making.

Before going any further, Bunhill must declare an interest. Living for part of the week at a rural West Country location has its advantages, but one of them is not the luxury of electricity. Bunhill often works by gaslight but is not given to complain.

Some months ago, I inquired about the possibility of mains electricity (there are more than 2,500 houses without it in the UK). Southern Electric was most obliging, sent an engineer and produced a quote. And what a quote it was. No less than pounds 15,000 is required to run a cable less than 300 yards. This may go part of the way to explaining the pounds 220m profits that the company recently turned in.

On the other hand, British Telecom has a better sense of fair play. It installed a telephone, having erected 15 poles and hung three-quarters of a mile of cable for pounds 99.