Monday, 19 September 2016

Discriminatory or what?

 Some weeks ago we had a letter from our Electricity Provider to say that our contract was about to come to an end and that if we wished to renew it they would do so at only a small amhout more.  Foolishly we didn't bother to enquire what 'small amount' meant.

This morning the first bill came, split into two parts - up to 4th August and then 5th August to 13th September.   The true figure emerged - day units had gone up from 13.9 to 21.58 and night units from 7.71 to 11.96.

Now I know that this is entirely our own fault and we should have gone into it thoroughly at the time.   But the fact remains that we didn't.

However, the farmer picked up the phone this morning and spoke to someone about it.   Within  five minutes a new quotation had been secured - 15 something for day units and 9 something for night units.   Just like that - over the telephone.

Now I can't help feeling that this discriminates against people like the elderly who easily get muddled and so don't do anything about it (and yes we fell into this class until a bill actually came).   Really, how dare they just put the price up 'willy-nilly' at the drop of a hat?

24 comments:

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Increasingly I think that this is a tactic that utility and insurance providers use to boost profits. Inflate prices and hope that the punters don't complain - then if they do, simply drop the price. It is a scandal that government has failed to address.

The Broad said...

My husband has just pointed out that it has still gone up by nearly 15% and since inflation is .6% it has gone up 30 times the amount of inflation!

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

You need to get on to a price comparison website to find the cheapest available, then either change supplier or make a phone call to your present supplier and ask if they can match the cheaper price, quite often they will get very close to it. I'm paying 13.3p per kWh (day) and 6.5p per kWh (night), though prices do vary depending on your location. But don't be afraid of changing supplier, it's very simple these days.

Frances said...

We continue to be told that there is no, or low, inflation over here in the States. However, it seems to me that it depends on what you are spending your money on. Some prices have remained pretty stabile, but others are definitely in a steady upward creep.

It definitely doesn't seem right that one would need to bargain with an electric utility company. Even so, I guess it's good that the farmer made that call. Do you all have any other potential power supplier for "next time?"

xo

jinxxxygirl said...

Its a shame Pat... People are paying different amounts of money for the exact same thing....We just ran into that too with our Sirius Radio ... this last year we paid $100 USD for a year of radio and then the bill came this year and it was $300 USD What! so hubby called and after 5 min we again paid the $100 ....but seriously.... how many people would not have called and just paid it..or walk away from the service i guess..so they could be losing business...but enough people must just pay it to make it worth their while... Radio ofcourse is not like electricity...I could do without the radio... i would not want to do without electric :)
Do you have more than one provider of electricity? We do... so we would have a choice...... So glad the Farmer got it figured out.. Go Mr. Farmer!! Hugs! deb

Virginia said...

It's called stealing by stealth .... And it's wicked! Meanwhile the Directors increase their fees, and they have the big investors in their pockets so Joe Blogs Average can do nothing about it.

Derek Faulkner said...

That seems to be the norm for people who have a fixed rate deal coming to an end. Once it does, unless you are alert, you go on to the company's standard rate which can be treble the fixed rate.

Midmarsh John said...

Unfortunately it's the way so much big business makes their profits these days - relying on customer inertia and trust. I don't think we can take any of them on trust any more, if we ever could. My supplier (Cooperative Energy) did at least detail their cheapest alternative when my last contract ran out, which I think they all have to do these days. It still depends on the customer telling them to make the change though.

Terra Hangen said...

The Farmer did so good in getting your rates lowered dramatically. Here in our area of California we don't have a choice, there is one provider of gas and electricity and our bills are remarkably low.

The Weaver of Grass said...

There are some interesting comments to think about here - so thank you for that.

Rachel said...

Everything is made hard work these days.

Terry and Linda said...

We don't get a choice either...they just raise the rates and you get to live with it. Not even calling will help. Also its a monopoly so a person is stuck, unless you get totally off the grid.

Linda

Share my Garden said...

Every year we spend a ridiculous amount of time sorting out house and car insurance and the like, haggling over the prices quoted. We used to be able to renew these contracts without the need to query the price because it continued much the same year on year. But nowadays every new contract seems to be an opportunity for the company to charge more. I've always managed a price drop once I've challenged, but it is a wearisome and annoying business.

George said...

I agree with you, Pat. It's an outrage. Companies will often place unreasonable charges on bills, recognizing that they can always alleviate the pain of complainers, while myriad customers will blindly go on paying more than they need to.

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Here in Ontario, the price of electricity has skyrocketed! It is a bone of contention with many people. The one thing that slays me on our bill is the "delivery charge". Yes, we get charged (a lot) for electricity to come into our home, not just for the amount that we use. I agree that companies take advantage of people who may not read over their bills carefully, or who are confused by terms, etc. -Jenn

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Sad to say - things just keep getting more and more expensive. It is bad though, when they take advantage of people who can't afford these price increases. Glad you got yours lowered. We don't have a choice here in the US - if there is an increase, everyone pays it.

Cro Magnon said...

Have a look at the U Switch web site. I believe you can see instantly which is the cheapest supplier, and change over with the click of a button (if you wish). Worth having a look.

Dawn McHugh said...

I was surprised when we phoned up about ours they said it would be cheaper if we didnt have economy 7 night rate, we switched over to a single rate the day rate was a lot cheaper and we saved a third off the bill.

Heather said...

It's disgraceful isn't it, and seems to happen with all sorts of providers. My son was looking around for house insurance, found a more economical firm and when cancelling his current cover was told: 'We could have matched that for you sir'. He said: 'No thanks' and told them what he thought of their way of operating.

Wilma said...

When we lived in the US (Rochester, Minnesota), there was only one supplier of electricity, and that is probably still true. No dickering over rates, although there were reduced rate programs, especially for the harsh winters, for which the elderly and indigent could apply. There was also an incentive program anyone enroll in that limited the amount of electricity your air conditioner can draw during the heat of midday. That made a big difference on the bill because it actually helped the power company keep their costs down by limiting their "peak" demand.

It is interesting to see how our mindset is changing now that we are on solar. We pay attention to the charge on the batteries and would never dream of using the clothes washer after the sun has set. But other than that, the power we use is free (well "free" in that we don't have to pay anything for it now - we paid plenty upfront to buy and install the system) as long as we don't mistreat the batteries. They are expensive buggers and having their charge drop too low can shorten their lifespan.

Back to your title about discrimination - it is not really discrimination - most companies will take advantage of anyone they can. Think of it as equal opportunity exploitation.

thelma said...

Not sure there is more to say, except everything comes down to money and profits, it seems it is legal to rip us off whatever we pay for, that includes utilities and insurance. The thing that sticks out from all the comments is pick up the phone and question the prices.....

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks everyone - it seems we are all of one mind. I would just add that I am
vey hard of hearing and negotiating anyting on the telephone is a read chore. The farmer is quite happy to leave things as they are!!!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Two stupid spelling mistakes in my comment - anything and real - sorry about that. My excuse is that it is nearly dark outside and I don't see so well in artificial light.

micamart said...

Next time email a selection of suppliers, inviting tenders for your supply, giving your meter number and past consumption, but not your tariff.Sort out the best reductions and write again asking if they have a "better" rate. Remember that sometimes a higher daily charge will get you a lower rate per unit, this may protect you if a hard winter lifts your useage. However cold it gets,it won't make the year longer!