Politics and Electric Shock Therapy

13 electric shock man


from Richard Lutz

This week’s electioneering at the annual Labour Party conference had a whiff of righteousness about it- but it could hit a common chord with most folks paying the monthly bills. Or at least worrying about them

To freeze power bills for 20 months (if Labour get in) is a winner. I mean, have you met anyone..anyone…who has not had a utility horror story?

The Big Six, which runs 98 percent of our supplies, have been chucking bricks on our heads for years now, Conning us over payments, wilfully obscuring data on bills (show me someone who actually understands a power bill) and refusing to operate a transparent simple-to-use customer service over the phone or ‘net.

Brother, they don’t exist.

Here’s my little story. And I think it reflects the experiences of hundreds of thousands of householders:

A big utility company, which I shall not name but has the word Scottish in it, handled, until recently, two of my accounts.

Account One turned out to be £440 in the black after a viciously cold winter. I asked how I can be that much in credit after a freezing period of time. The anonymous voice shrugged and said the company would obviously throw it into the next financial year so I could begin deep in black.

I demanded the money (my money)  right now and said my good byes.

Account Two is a victim of automatic increases. Though I remain modestly in the black on a small property, four times a year a computer decides to increase my direct debit. So four times a year I have to track down a human being to explain it runs counter to common sense to up my bill when I use less than my direct debit.

The company says, amazingly, it cannot stop a computer increase. I have stayed with this account only because through my scheduled chats with the company to stop the increases, I have kept the increases down to 16% over 5 years.

If I hadn’t, the bill would have exploded now by about 100%.

As an addendum, I cannot access this online account despite 10 phone calls. It defaults to Account One which, you may remember, I have closed.

So, roll on utility bill freezes. We all are victims of the Big Six merry go round. We all pay these greedy companies via indecipherable bills bullied by corporate avarice  fronted by self imposed incompetent customer services used to create a barrier so we cannot talk to those who make decisions

9 thoughts on “Politics and Electric Shock Therapy

  1. Yes and look how the utilities are reacting to Ed Miliband’s modest proposal: threatening all sorts of dire consequences if he gets elected and goes through with it. It’s way past time Governments in general stood up for the people who voted them in against the big avaricious corporations who frequently not only fleece their customers but then do their level best to avoid paying their dues…
    Oh, and what was ‘Call me Dave’s’ solution to the big 6’s abuse of power? Go onto uSwitch and change suppliers.. give me strength! They’re all the same, once they have won your account with some introductory tease, in the blink of an eye their rates go up again to level the supplier you have just foresworn…..

  2. And don’t forget this………

    Energy companies offer price freeze contracts all the time

    Enclosed is the current offer from British Gas

    They do it by buying energy forwards on the futures market.

    Now the La

  3. Now the Labour Party promises a two year freeze from 2015 and suddenly we are told that this will bring the world crashing down on our heads.

  4. Oh please.
    What do you think happens at the end of 20 months?
    Why 20 months? Why not 20 years? 50 years? 2000?
    This is Labour tosh – The socialists that dare not speak its name!
    And in those 20 frozen months, what happens if energy prices crash?
    Will the energy companies be able to keep their frozen fingers on the frozen profits?
    I’ve never heard such a load of baloney from such an inadequate since the days of Blair and Brown.
    If you can’t afford the bills cut back and wrap up. It’s what people used to do.

  5. This puts Cameron on the spot, if he allows the energy companies to raise their prices significantly before the general election, he’ll look really bad. No surprise that the Tories are whinging about this, Cameron spares owners of mansions a tax rise but imposes ones on the sick and vulnerable, opposed the limits on bankers bonuses proposed by the EU, backs the tobacco and drinks industries, refuses to regulate the lobbying industry or the Murdoch Press. I’m no great fan of Milliband, or the Labour party since John Smith died, but he’s doing the right thing here. Like the bankers, the energy companies set the rules so that they will never lose, and then they attempt to hold the country to ransom by claiming the lights will go out.

    And that 20 months can be spent putting a stronger regulatory system in place. Or perhaps this greed-soaked industry could be re-nationalised.

  6. Perhaps if they matched the price freeze with a 20 month freeze on MPs pay and expenses it would garner greater credibility.
    The mistake they, New/Old Labour made was bailing out the banks instead of letting them go bust. Then they could have used the money to build power stations – coal fired, of course – to compete with the likes of Gazprom. Then we could be in hock to the miners once again. Or pay to make every UK home self sufficient in energy – possibly by the use of treadmills.
    Ditch the Green Deal, start pumping CO2 and stop the ludicrous waste of money on wind power turbines that despoil the coast and countryside. That would cut energy biils.
    This is like the fox hunting stupidity that Blair used to blackmail/fool voters into thinking he was a good guy.
    20 months to reshape the energy industry? Yeah, right.

  7. And it would be interesting to know who was dealing in energy shares before the announcement that predictably drove down share prices. Surely no Labourite’s sold prior to the announcement on the off chance that they could buy them back at a lower price? Ooh no.

  8. Whatever the practicalities or otherwise of Ed’s plan he’s certainly put the cat among the pigeons…the utility bullies are very cross and worried about it. Could be the best sign that Labour is onto something with this

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