Single Account without OpenID or Carspace!

In the country I live, Belgium, the various utility providers have discovered the Internet as a place to interact with their customers. Over the last two years I received letters from all of my utility providers (electricity, gas, internet, telecommunication …) that I now can manage my account on their website.

Great! 24/7 I can login to their site and check my current balance, buy more features or do whatever that needs to be done.

Today however, I am running away from them. Each and every one of those sites requires me to register, including creating a new account with user name and password. Not to mention how difficult it often was to correlate my existing products with that new online account.

Almost every time I have to login to those sites, I forgot the user name or password I picked at registration. I do try to keep a single user name for that kind of accounts but that is not always possible due to conflicting rules or my default user name already taken.

Today I realized that I am not even bothering anymore to remember the user names or passwords. Somehow I found a way to use my Google Account on all of them. Instead of supplying my user name and password to that site, I use the following procedure:

  1. Surf to the site
  2. Immediately pick the “Forgot user name or password” link, I don’t even bother trying to log in
  3. Enter my Google email address somewhere (all those sites offer to mail you your existing or new credentials, either based on email address or based on user name)
  4. Wait for the mail to arrive in Google
  5. Open it, click on the link inside
  6. Create a one time password and log in with it
  7. Use the site

The only account I have to remember is my Google Account. Now I just wait for someone to write a Firefox add on that automates most of the above.

So if the following companies would be so kind to read up on OpenID so I don’t have to act like a fool with the above procedure: Electrabel, Telenet, Belgacom, Nuon, Proximus, Luminus … and probably others I forgot.