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-   -   The Minefield of Energy Providers (http://e-group.uk.net/forum/showthread.php?t=48899)

TimP 23rd November 2018 12:19 PM

Re: The Minefield of Energy Providers
 
NN, interesting thread here:

https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com...ight=powershop

Naughty Nigel 23rd November 2018 01:58 PM

Re: The Minefield of Energy Providers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TimP (Post 463600)

Thank you, yes.

That is more or less what I am doing.

The downside with Powershop is that you need to be proactive in buying energy (Power Packs) in advance when the prices are competitive, but that is no different to filling the car at the supermarket or in town rather than on the motorway.

If you do nothing and pay their Baseline tariff you will be paying little or no more than most other providers so there isn't too much to lose. And if all else fails it is easy to leave.

One thing that has become clear to me is that you now have to pay quite a big premium for the comfort of fixing energy prices for the next year or two.

TimP 23rd November 2018 02:05 PM

Re: The Minefield of Energy Providers
 
Have they demanded you fit a smart meter?

Naughty Nigel 23rd November 2018 05:55 PM

Re: The Minefield of Energy Providers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TimP (Post 463611)
Have they demanded you fit a smart meter?

No; and in fact their system does not work with smart meters. If you have a smart meter you have to read it manually and submit the readings online or via the app.

I am actually quite pleased about that as I have no particular wish to have a Smart Meter fitted and I am becoming rather irritated by phone calls, emails and letters on the subject. Hopefully these will now stop.

However, it does occur to me that the present system is open to abuse. We have not had a single visit form a meter reader since leaving the gas Board in 2013. It has occurred to me that if we used enough electricity we could get the electricity meter to lap itself. That should be easy enough with a cannabis farm in the loft, or with our daughter in the shower! :D

Harold Gough 28th November 2018 07:17 PM

Re: The Minefield of Energy Providers
 
With all this talk of switching suppliers it should be pointed out that the smaller ones are going out of business in considerable numbers. What happens to their customers, and to any advance purchase deals, is something to research.

Harold

TimP 28th November 2018 07:25 PM

Re: The Minefield of Energy Providers
 
I understand that money held in credit by the supplier going out of business is protected by Ofgem, but no idea if that affects the system(s?) where you purchase specific ‘packs’ of electricity up front. It wouldn’t surprise me if it was a deliberate loophole on their part to abscond with the money. Where there’s money there’s someone thinking up ideas to grab it.

Naughty Nigel 28th November 2018 08:48 PM

Re: The Minefield of Energy Providers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Harold Gough (Post 464085)
With all this talk of switching suppliers it should be pointed out that the smaller ones are going out of business in considerable numbers. What happens to their customers, and to any advance purchase deals, is something to research.

Harold

This is a valid question, especially given the number of store gift vouchers that are now worthless.

I guess that in the event of an energy company collapsing you would have a certain time to find a new provider, or would have a new provider chosen for you.

If you were in debt with the provider I have no doubt that the Administrator or Receiver would come after any moneys that were owed.

At present we are just over 200 in credit with Powershop, which is only about a month's worth at this time of the year. By contrast we were nearly 400 in credit with First Utility, and are still awaiting a refund even though our final bill was received a week ago. (Apparently it takes longer to process refunds than payments. I cannot think why.)

On balance I don't think there is any greater risk making pre-payments to energy suppliers than having them build up large credits on your account.

I think legally there may also be a distinction between pre-payment for energy (which is a specific product) than gift cards which can be used to pay for almost anything.

If they do abscond with customer's money it is theft, plain and simple.

Jim Ford 29th November 2018 09:17 AM

Re: The Minefield of Energy Providers
 
I find all this business of different energy providers bizarre.

It's all the same 'stuff' coming down the wire - it's not as if they deliver it to you by pulling a big 'knife' switch somewhere. It's just different billing companies collecting different amounts of profit.

Jim

TimP 29th November 2018 10:10 AM

Re: The Minefield of Energy Providers
 
I tend to agree, and readily admit to never having switched. Simply CBA, the potential for issues is too great and these things normally affect us anyway. If my current (see what I did there) supplier forces me to have a smart meter then that is when I’ll switch, just out of principle. Nationalise the utilities, including broadband, set a standard price and have done with it.

Jim Ford 29th November 2018 10:23 AM

Re: The Minefield of Energy Providers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TimP (Post 464098)
Nationalise the utilities, including broadband, set a standard price and have done with it.

Totally agree - public service instead of private profit.

Jim

Naughty Nigel 29th November 2018 10:32 AM

Re: The Minefield of Energy Providers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim Ford (Post 464097)
I find all this business of different energy providers bizarre.

It's all the same 'stuff' coming down the wire - it's not as if they deliver it to you by pulling a big 'knife' switch somewhere. It's just different billing companies collecting different amounts of profit.

Jim

I agree. The only difference is the profit margin that our chosen providers expect to make on the energy that we buy through them.

Even more bizarrely, you can choose pay a premium price for clean, green electricity, but on most days of the year at least some of the electricity that you use will have been generated by 'dirty' coal fired power stations!

Why do we do it this way? Firstly, the old electricity boards and CEGB were claimed to have been very inefficient and wasteful so the whole industry was broken up into smaller, more manageable sections. I think it was also the case that private investment was needed to update ageing infrastructure such as old, inefficient coal fired power stations. I think this was Maggies brainchild but like rail privatisation Tony Blair was happy to take it to a natural conclusion.

Secondly, it was suggested that competition between providers would keep prices down. I think the original idea was that there would be a dozen or so energy providers who would sell us gas and electricity, but now there are hundreds of them; some more reputable than others.

I had a run in with nPower a few years ago when they sent me a final bill, with menaces nearly six years after I had closed my old office! When I queried the bill, which was much higher than it should have been, (650 for a one month period in late summer) they threatened to send debt collectors. I asked them to take me to court but they refused, but continued to make threatening phone calls and send (what looked like) solicitor's letters on an almost daily basis claiming that I had evaded them for five years, which was utter bollox.

I complained to OFGEM who resolved the problem amicably, but I still continued to receive threatening letters and phone calls from debt collectors, in some cases pretending to be solicitors. As a result of this I was called to give evidence to OFGEM, who later fined nPower 4 million if I recall, which I think was the first time a utility company had been fined.

I got to be interviewed about this on the BBC Moneybox programme, and said that in my view they should have been fined much more. A politician also being interviewed on the programme said that 'competition was the answer to the problem', but I pointed out that competition does nothing to prevent total incompetence.

Otto 29th November 2018 11:10 AM

Re: The Minefield of Energy Providers
 
The concept of buying something and then choosing who to pay for it and how much is utterly bizarre. I have better things to do than trawl the internet for who is offering the best price for electricity etc. I have switched three times in the past 16 years, each time getting a lower price and so far I'm still ahead, but I'll probably have to go through the same tedious process at the end of my present contract.


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