I see a number of deep theory questions and highly detailed answers for questions about fraud, opening channels, etc. What I cannot find is a simple explanation of how one would go about doing something as mundane as making a monthly payment.
The concept of opening a channel with a balance seems to imply that any amount I'd want to send will have to be allocated up front. Is there no way to add funds periodically, as one would normally do for paying bills? The existing answer here is hypothetical and seems lacking. It seems there are a some still quite shallow proposals, if there's any validity to the link in the comment on the question...
It seems that the expectation is that there will be an intermediary that I keep a large amount of funds with, and I would then use that central channel as a hub... true?
Finally, bonus kudos if you can explain what's up with the common 'Alice and Bob both add 1/2 BTC to a channel' example. I can't fathom what the real world transaction model that is supposed to represent. I can't quite grasp when I would ever use a two sided account; my transactions almost always go one direction. I realize now that the current (or recent) Lightning implementation only funds from one source, but that example is so common that it wasn't until reading the answer here that I realized this.
I'm looking for an answer that explains how I'd go about sending a payment to a hypothetical (mythical?) cutting edge utility company. I expect there are at least two answers - one where the utility company and I create a 'direct' channel, and another where I 'reuse' ('pay through') a channel I happen to have with a central hub. Any answer must assume I'm a normal person who can't pay more than one month at a time.