Friday, 22 October 2010
I don't know about you but I can't decide who to get angry with.
Should I be spitting blood at the tossers in Canary Wharf, who are still getting huge payout after nearly tipping the Western economies off the edge of the world. Should I be castrating the central bankers who, only after the event lectured us about loose money and too much credit. Instead, I aught to chastise us sucker consumers who thought we could live high on the hog for ever. (Frankly if anyone thought that emulating the life style of X Factor Cole and Wayne Rooney was a rational choice they deserve everything they get). And what about the politicians - don't ask.
Or is it the millions of immigrants who suck the Britishness out of Daily Mail readers, or the scroungers that earn £96k a year as baby factories ( according to The Daily Neanderthal). Could it be the black kids in dreadlocks and their Muslim friends who look so different.
Until today. Today my anger crystallised, it became focused and it ain't nothing to do with any of the above.
It's our loveable energy suppliers.Those adorable people that supply us with gas and electricity.
It all began with a call from an energy comparison company. (I have to say this) Normally such "cold callers " get short shrift from me, but not today. Anyway,a few minutes into the conversation and I'm being told that I'm paying over £200 too much on my gas/electricity bill.
I'd switched a couple of years ago from my original supplier but now I was getting pissed off as the charge kept going up. So this call enlivened me.
Some background. I have an online account. I pay a monthly fixed amount £98 for gas and elecricity, I put in my meter reading on line and I can see my consumption etc on the website.
I phoned up my provider ScottishPower; I explain that I'll learnt that I can get a better deal with a competitor and I was wondering why I wasn't on the best deal. Nope, you're on the best deal was the reply. OK, what if I give you my annual consumption broken down by gas and electricity would that allow you to be more precise with your answer. "Nope".
This is where I started to think these guys are not really interested in saving me money. Their consumption figures are based on 81 days - to get an annual figure requires me to do a bit of arithmetic. I wondered whether they could access my data, saving me the work. But no; They can access every other detail about me but not my energy consumption.
Did I know the tariff rates, I was asked? Not of the top of my head? but you're the supplier don't you! All the details and still I was told I was on the best tariff. "But I was told Eon could save me £200. I was reassured that wasn't the case I was on the best deal.
So I phoned Eon. I gave them my consumption figures , my monthly payment details and yes they could do better. They asked me what tariff I was on with ScottishPower. When I told them they said they had no record of it. But compared with ScottishPower's best deal I'd save £120 a year and I'd pay £77 for duel fuel. But I'm currently paying £98 a month. So based on Eon's figures I be saving £252 a year.
Which got me thinking. I'm stuck on an old rate even though ScottishPower have cheaper rates going. "Fuck".
So I went back to ScottishPower and laid my evidence before them. Yep, you're on an old, redundant rate, and, no, we don't have to tell you if there's a cheaper rate available...but in any case even if we put you on the new lower rate you'd not save anything. I pointed out again that Eon said I'd save money switching. I was told it wasn't true.
So I phoned Eon again, gave all my consumption dertails again. Looked at comparison websites and they confirmed the savings and the price... and I signed up with them.
My question is this. What the fuck is OFGEM (Promoting choice and value) the regulator doing? Regulators are meant to facilitate competitive energy markets. They say the market's competitive 'cause there's loads of players but if the search costs to the consumer are so high then competition is meaningless.
I'll have to revisit my Eon contract a year on. Otherwise, I'll have 50k volts up my arse and I'll enjoy it!