Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Thank you British Gas

Why would anyone change energy provider when what you buy is the same?

The only reason is the tariff and billing. It seems to be that most of the different tariffs expect you to gamble in some way - commit to X years at a fixed price and hope prices don't fall, for example. Some work on budgets that are DD regular amounts and can get out of step with reality. All I want is to pay for what I use at a fair price, no messing about.

Well British Gas keep messing about. They have chased (and probably filed bad credit reports) bills that they had never sent, and done that several times.

Their latest - a bill on my door step today, 17th September 2014, that clearly states "Your payment is due by 27th August".

WTF? Unless they mean 27th August 2015, I am seriously unimpressed. What is the point of sending a bill over a month after the bill date (13th Aug) that is already overdue when it arrives.

This sort of crap really does make me think about switching supplier.

13 comments:

  1. Not all suppliers provide the same thing same.. Kinda...

    I use Co-op Energy for 2 reasons

    1) They gave me a good rate.
    2) They only purchase electricity that comes from renewable sources. (http://www.cooperativeenergy.coop/good-with-energy/our-energy-mix/)

    Now I understand that while that's what they purchase the electricity coming into my home is likely from the large coal burning power station a few miles down the road, it does make me feel better that I'm not actually paying for old trees to be burnt on my behalf.

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    1. "I'm not actually paying for old trees to be burnt on my behalf."

      Yes, you are. The UK economy is almost entirely based on energy obtained from fossil fuels and nuclear, with only about 10% coming from renewable sources. If you are enjoying the same low prices for energy, goods and services as everybody else then you are reaping the benefits of cheap fossil-fuel-based energy production, no matter which electricity company you choose.

      It is pure hypocrisy to complain about the environmental impact of industrialisation while taking full advantage of the massive quality-of-life improvements that it provides. Unless you're living in a cave consuming nothing but wild berries and rainwater you are as much a part of the "problem" as anybody else.

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  2. Ditto. I'm with Ecotricity who only provide renewable-sourced energy, both electricity and gas (from anerobic digestion). Of course, you can't track the individual electrons in the electricity grid, or the individual molecules of methane in the gas pipes, but they ensure that they arrange for the usage of their customers to be injected into the grid from renewable sources.

    By the way, I assume that's not your household electricity bill - that bill is enormous for a household.

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    Replies
    1. Gas and Electric for the house.

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    2. That's about my gas and leccy consumption for almost a year!

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    3. A little bit higher than mine I think, but in the same ballpark; significantly less than my grandfather's all-electric home. (Yes, high time I persuaded him to get something more cost-effective, not to mention a thermostat so I don't collapse from heatstroke while visiting...)

      Personally, I want a smart meter - or at least, a not-entirely-dumb meter. Nothing to do with the realtime graphing nonsense, though, I just want to cut out the hassle of manual readings and feeding them in online.

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    4. Another vote for Ecotricity here. I've been with them a long time. They've been deluged with new customers since the last year's big price hikes but they've managed to maintain their top notch customer service. They literally do answer the phone straight away. Compare that with British Gas, who I had to call after we moved house. Their queue system told me I would be on hold for approximately 25 minutes. Fuck that. I left the phone off the hook, drove to Tesco, did a quick shop, and managed to come back just in time.

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    5. I'm always rather put off by the "green" energy suppliers on a couple of counts:
      1. They never seem to consider nuclear power to be "green" and therefore exclude it, whereas in actual fact its one of the most environmentally friendly ways of producing electricity.
      2. I'm really not convinced that going on a "green" tariff makes a blind bit of difference - it doesn't seem likely that it will have much impact on the generation balance, so the effect is simply that (on paper) you get a higher proportion of the "green" energy and everyone else gets a higher proportion of the "dirty" energy.

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    6. I'm with EDF Energy partly because a very large proportion of their generation is Nuclear and I count it as a practical green source. Practical in that it is feasible to get a large part of the UK's electricity generated using it in only a few years time.

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  3. I just switched away from Npower after about 18 months of non-stop cockups. The one that finally drove me to ditch them was receiving a "final demand" to pay hundreds of pounds within 7 days... The reason? Because they had forgotten to actually charge the direct debit for 6 months, but they hadn't bothered to inform me of the mounting debt.

    Their claim is that this is "my fault" because I should have noticed that they weren't doing their job, and that I also don't qualify for the direct debit discount that I should be due since the bill hadn't been paid by DD (through no fault of my own). I'm left wondering what the point is in direct debit if I have to check that they take the right amount each month - if I've got to go to that effort I may as well just pay them by cheque!

    (FWIW, I've switched to Zog Energy and iSupply Energy and so far have no major problems.) Of course, Npower are still chasing me because I haven't paid my closing bill... and I don't intend to pay them anything until they actually send me a _correct_ bill (they think I owe them about 200 quid, I calculate they owe me 20).

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  4. Having switched from Npower to Spark I've been amazed that Spark can not just recalculate bills quickly, but *while I'm on the phone*. The first time it happened I thought something had gone wrong because the PDF I looked at after the phone call was not the same one that I'd seen before the phone call.

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  5. Not at all relevant but seemed like an easy way to get in touch... Ofcom are seeking input on their priorities for 2015/16 if you hadn't already seen it: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/annual-plan-2015-16-invitation-to-comment/

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  6. Ovo aren't bad - they do a couple of Green options. They did take some convincing recently that there are only 31 days in a month max, but did eventually credit me £5 for my trouble!

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