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Old 08-16-2019, 09:30 AM   #1
hazel
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I had good news today: they are reducing my monthly energy payment


For years I used the same energy company, Hudson Greenstar. I used them because they gave me very decent deals. These were fixed-price annual contracts; in those days the standard variable rate (svr) was always much higher. Then the UK government decided that high energy prices had become a scandal (they had!) and that the best way to deal with it was to put a price cap on the svr, which is what most people actually are on.

Promptly, the companies rearranged their prices. Any svr's that were below the new cap were put up to that level, and fixed-price deals (which weren't regulated) were set higher still. When the time came to renew my contract in February, I was amazed at what they were suddenly charging. It was actually more than the new svr! When I asked over the phone why I should pay extra for the privilege of being bound for a year, I was told: "Well, we're binding ourselves too, you know. At least you won't have to worry about the price going up during the year".

So I went to a price comparison site and found a new supplier. The price they charged was more than I had been paying but it was still less than Hudson was now asking.

A week ago, I put in my first meter reading, and was pleasantly surprised today to get an email that they are putting my monthly payment down from £49 to £38 per month. That's about what I was paying before. It seems their initial estimate was based on a typical single person's annual usage and I am not typical.

If they treat me decently I shall stay with them.

Last edited by hazel; 08-16-2019 at 09:31 AM.
 
Old 08-16-2019, 09:41 AM   #2
jsbjsb001
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Nice work Hazel

Where I live I believe the federal government has, or at least was talking about doing a similar thing. To cut a long story short, I changed providers too, then I got a call (which I didn't answer) from AGL (my old power company) offering me a "cheaper" rate (I know that's what they rung me about because I got a text message from them after that, with something to the effect of "we have a cheaper rate to offer you [my real name here]"). But the mob I'm with now guarantee the same rate for at least a couple of years, and more to the point, and from what I understand are a "community power provider" rather than a "for profit" company like AGL. I was with another power company before AGL who ripped me off even more.

The "standard default rate" is a complete rip-off.
 
Old 08-16-2019, 09:47 AM   #3
hazel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsbjsb001 View Post
The "standard default rate" is a complete rip-off.
It always was. The point is that the government's attempt to fix the scandal has just made everything much worse.

By the way, I got a phone call too with an amended offer after the new company contacted the old one. I told them where they could put it.

Last edited by hazel; 08-16-2019 at 09:49 AM.
 
Old 08-16-2019, 10:33 AM   #4
cynwulf
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The "private energy market" is a complete rip off...

Essentially paying middlemen/parasites for the same gas or electric from the same sources.
 
Old 08-16-2019, 10:38 AM   #5
hazel
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I've never understood how it works. I mean, we all use the same gas pipes and electricity cables, so how can anyone tell whether the energy I'm using comes from the company who are taking my money? If someone could explain that, I'd be grateful.
 
Old 08-16-2019, 10:42 AM   #6
jsbjsb001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynwulf View Post
...
Essentially paying middlemen/parasites for the same gas or electric from the same sources.
Yeah, that's what I forgot to say... where I live (and by the sounds of it, where you are, and probably most other places) it's the same power lines, power stations that the power comes from. In the state I live in, ALL of the power companies pay the same "distribution fee" to the same power utility that maintains the "poles and wires" - most of the power lines themselves where I am are above ground, not underground (except for newer areas).
 
Old 08-16-2019, 11:09 AM   #7
cynwulf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazel View Post
I've never understood how it works. I mean, we all use the same gas pipes and electricity cables, so how can anyone tell whether the energy I'm using comes from the company who are taking my money? If someone could explain that, I'd be grateful.
As I said - middlemen and parasites...

They supposedly buy the energy per unit at a wholesale price and sell it on to customers at a retail price, factoring in their own administrative costs, profits, etc... the bit you have to work out, is where you actually benefit and then follow the money to see who really benefits from this farce.

This kind of thing happens because of simple greed. It's enabled of course by the gullible, who see anything state owned/run as akin to "communism" and rush blindly to privatise indescrimately, without considering if the given industry/utility/service can actually function or still serve its intended purpose.

As the privatised railways fiasco in the UK has demonstrated since the 1990s - it doesn't work. In that case, you have rail operating companies, who actually don't own any rolling stock, who charge extortionate fares and exist only to enrich themselves. They charge season ticket holders and extortionate amount while only making a token effort to ensure that commuters actually buy tickets. This is why you can now be on an overcrowded train here, where half the passengers have not paid... the best thing is that the whole disastrous mess, is still propped up by government subsidies paid for by guess who...? So rather than the government just running the railways, they are paying private parasites to do the same and charge extortionate fares to enrich themselves.
 
Old 08-16-2019, 11:21 AM   #8
hazel
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The argument for privatisation was always that competition would drive down prices, like it does in the shops. But I don't see how that could possibly work on what are basically networked services. On the railways, it's usually one company running a group of routes and another company running another group. It's a lot of little monopolies so how can there be competition? And utilities all have a single network that all the companies and all the customers use. I don't think you have to be a socialist to see that railways and utilities are different from shops.
 
Old 08-16-2019, 01:29 PM   #9
jsbjsb001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazel View Post
The argument for privatisation was always that competition would drive down prices, like it does in the shops.
...
That was exactly the same argument here too, guess what? Quite the opposite happened.

Wonder why?

It's simple, it's about making money, not providing a service...
 
Old 08-17-2019, 10:42 AM   #10
DavidMcCann
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazel View Post
I don't think you have to be a socialist to see that railways and utilities are different from shops.
But at least you can compare their performance. For example, I have twice been on a train that broke down. The second occasion was on First Great Western, and when we arrived at Paddington an hour late we were given claim forms: I got half my ticket price back. The earlier occasion had been on British Rail, on that mysterious line that wanders from Norwich to Birmingham. When I arrived, two hours late, I got nothing — not even an apology — since the BR conditions of service offered no guarantees. If I had later been held up on another company, I could have compared their conduct with FGW, but with BR there was nothing to show that things could be done differently.

I also seem to remember that energy prices did fall after privatisation: they've just risen a lot because the source prices keep rising.

One problem with nationalised industries is that, in a country the size of the UK, they are just too big and bureaucratic: nationalised health care works fine in Sweden and Belgium, not so well in Italy and the UK. They also become the playthings of government: the old Metropolitan Water Board never replaced London's leaking pipes because the authorities wouldn't authorise either higher charges or borrowing.
 
Old 08-17-2019, 10:59 AM   #11
hazel
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Originally Posted by DavidMcCann View Post
I also seem to remember that energy prices did fall after privatisation: they've just risen a lot because the source prices keep rising.
Can you explain why retail energy prices always rise when wholesale prices rise but they never go down again when wholesale prices fall?
 
Old 08-17-2019, 11:30 AM   #12
rokytnji
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Out here in the wild west. I got choices like Linux distro selection when it comes to a electric company provider.

Glad I have this as my place is 3 phase plus a motorcycle shop. With Central A/C in hot temps.

https://www.electricchoice.com/tx/power-to-choose/

Link above is just to show what I mean kinda sorta.
My electric bill would blow you away hazel.

They are eyeing balling my property taxes also. Since I added the shop.
 
Old 08-29-2019, 04:45 PM   #13
LenSaitle
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I had good news today they are reducing my monthly energy payment

They should also work well with a Raspberry Pi, which has I2C but no RTC.

But like Martin, I also already have too many projects on the go to want to impose further on Lezs generosity.

Bill.
 
Old 08-29-2019, 07:50 PM   #14
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I suspect that England's issue on power is similar to my mothers issue. Coal.


Back in 1980

My mother used to complain that her bill was too high at $12 a month. Well, Detroit Edison had a huge nuke and some coal plants that was turning out electricity at 2 cents/KWH. I'd tell her that I was paying 38 cents/KWH because I was burning natural gas and using a failed City of Austin Electric program that didn't know how to build a nuke. My bill would be $100 with never using AC and almost no power. Gosh it was hot.

Back to 2019.
I'm still paying 24 cent/KWH and she now has to pay 15 cents/KWH and gets a $140 bill now. My bill is luckily $100/month due to the most energy efficient home in the county. I keep the house at 74 year round.


At one time I considered a wind generator and solar panels but would never get back my $40K.

The book I read at the end said....

It's easier to conserve than it is to produce electricity.

Last edited by jefro; 08-29-2019 at 07:51 PM.
 
Old 08-29-2019, 08:36 PM   #15
enorbet
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It is my understanding that France produces so much cheap electricity from nuclear that they sell it to much of Europe. If the UK hasn't already reduced their wholesale purchase price it does seem they could.
 
  


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