Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Rising Cost of Energy

Energy bills reach £1,000: A report in today's Daily Express, focusing on British Gas, says:"Customers’ biggest beefs were allegedly inaccurate bills and British Gas’s failure to respond to inquiries" .

I was startled by the massive jump in my own standing order to British Gas, when the winter estimate arrived last week, even though I had taken advantage of their two year price protection scheme. It took me a long time to get through on the phone to their customer service line and when I did get through, the girl couldn't help. Apparently another department does the estimates and I have to wait until the middle of this month for a second letter which will give the details of the last six month's usage and their "Winter" projection, which triggered the rise in the standing order.

Not only is this grossly inefficient, it's worrying too. Energy bills appear to have more than doubled in the last year. The average gas bill is now £510.60 per year, while electricity is £453.24. Many customers are paying more. The painful hikes over thelast twelve months have only compounded earlier misery. Gas prices have almost doubled in three years, while electricity has gone up by around two-thirds.

If the Winter cold snap arrives at the end of this month as predicted, then the most vulnerable elderly people will surely suffer because they won't be able to afford to heat their homes or wait three months for a government heating allowance to appear.

It's even more scandalous when you hear that: "Last month Britain was so awash with gas that traders were forced to pay to get it taken off their hands. "


Anonymous said...

This year British Gas "estimated" part of my bill after a price hike part way through the billing period. I have my gas usage records going back several years and the amount used has remained consistent yet BG managed to over estimate my gas use. Not much, but in their favour. Presumably they have done this to all their customers so have extracted a lot of extra cash surreptitiously. I have tried contacting them through the worse than useless website to no avail. Probably time to switch I think. Oh and don't get me started on our long term gas supply. Thanks to Blair and his cronies obsession with Kyoto we have squandered North Sea gas supplies generating electricity "cleanly" now we are in the position of having to import gas from tin pot regimes like Algeria and Russia years before we should have become dependant.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we are awash with gas since the opening of the new Norwegian pipeline. This has caused gas prices to plummet as you suggest. But guess what? When a spokesman was asked when we will see our bills decrease in line with this lowering of prices, the answer is not for several months. Apparently this is because they buy their gas months ahead, but conveniently this will mean that we will not see lower prices until well after the winter peak has finished. Another large profit for the privatised utilities at the public's expense. Jammy Dodger, Birchington

M Lewis said...

People can help themselves to a certain extent by switching to the company that best suits their needs in terms of price. There are free to use websites on the net that will take your consumptioon figures and point you in the right direction. At least make sure you are getting the best deal !