Thank you nPower! I have just had my monthly combined electricity and gas charges reduced by almost a quarter.
What is shocking however, is the fact that I had to gather my bills and current meter readings then check the u-switch web site to find out that my own energy provider, nPower, offers a tariff which is almost 25% cheaper than the tariff I was on and that switching to that tariff will save me over £400 per year. Of course it wasn’t in their interests to let me know that I was paying them a lot more than I needed to. It was only when I contacted them, threatened to leave and was put through to their charming “customer retention” branch in Durham did I get the help I needed to reduce my bill.
This is all part of the botched privatisation of the utilities, which put the interests of shareholders above those of energy consumers.
The consumers who suffer most are the poorest members of the community who often rely on pre-payment meters and pay considerably more for their power than better off people who can set up direct debits.
There is also the counter intuitive higher charge for the first units consumed, which replaced standing charges, with additional power costing less. If we had tariffs that made the first units cheapest and put up prices as we consume more energy it would provide a much higher incentive to conserve energy and reduce CO2 emissions.
Former Tory minister David “Two Brains” Willetts, has conceded that the privatisation of water was a “privatisation too far”. Perhaps he should concede that the energy privatisations have been badly handled too.
In Lymm we are suffering unnecessary additional disruption because recently reconstructed roads are to be dug up again by Network Gas, because the utility companies were unable to coordinate their service replacements with the major road works that closed off access to the village centre for over 6 months.
At a more trivial level n-Power still can’t manage to send a single meter reader to read my gas and electricity meters even though both readings appear on the same bill paid by a single direct debit. How is that efficient?
n-Power have also got into trouble for sending a packet of energy efficient light bulbs to every customer at the very last moment before an already discredited scheme for reducing CO2 emissions comes to an end, rather than putting the money into other, more effective, measures for reducing their customers’ bills.
Happy New Year everyone – and see if you can make it even happier by reducing your utility bills.