Saturday, 5 July 2014

Beware of Energy Companies Bearing Gifts

I've started to get a number of calls on my mobile from an unknown number.

I never ignore phone calls, I'm "billy-no-mates" so a call for me is a special occasion, but time after time 01702 308869 didn't answer when I picked the phone up. Intrigued I Googled the number and found a number of comments detailing the same experience.

Why would an organisation with a Southend-on Sea telephone number go to all the trouble of ringing me and then hang up?

I finally got to find out when a friendly voice from Scottish Power spoke to me when I picked up the phone. Apparently, as a former customer they were able to offer me a great deal which would save me money. My ears pricked up...Great deal, saving me money. They were talking my language.

Unfortunately, they'd picked a bad moment, I was talking to a travel agent and asked if they could email me the details and I'd get back to them. 

They said "sorry, we can't do that, can we ring you at a more convenient time"?

I said "No, but thanks for your call" and hung up.

24 hours later they rang again and the operator explained that their system indicated that the previous call was "interrupted" and was it convenient to give me the details of the "great deal" now?

Well, "billy-no-mates" had nothing better to do "Yes" go ahead.

The nice young lady from Scottish Power explained that their Online Fixed Price Energy July 2015 plan would save me money. As my existing plan with Npower has no cancellation fee if I want to change before it ends in September 2016 I had nothing to lose.

She'd predicted a saving, but I wanted the tariff details to enable me to compare actual usage using the existing tariff and theirs.

As you can see below Their figures don't add up in reality.
Over a nine month period using actual usage figures for my electricity and gas the difference is marginal, but i would actually be paying .48p more. 
Perhaps more disturbingly, I would have forfeited my existing fixed price until September 2016 for one which ends in July 2015, that's 15 months earlier. 

Is this really what privatising the energy companies was all about? Two huge companies over a 9 month period are 48p different. Is that competition?

Tariff Details Npower Scottish Power
Electricity kWh £0.1553 £0.1076
Gas kWh £0.0379 £0.0341
Total daily standing charge £0.4515 £0.6714
Annual discount £100.00 £21.00
Sept- Dec 2013 Cost £179.00 £181.48
Jan- Mar 2014 Cost £278.92 £265.05
April Jun 2014 Cost £120.13 £132.00
9 Months energy costs £578.05 £578.53

British Gas have recently been fined over a million pounds for misleading potential customers over the savings they could make.

Based on my experience other suppliers are happy to make claims about their tariffs to encourage customers to swap.

I realise that not all consumers are as sad as I am in recording their weekly energy usage for just this eventuality, but I'd advice all consumers to take telesales operators claims with a very large pinch of salt.

Twitter: (@solaricarus)

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