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Old 01-11-2019, 12:24 PM   #1
hazel
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Angry I was just so angry!


I had a run-in today with my energy supplier, a company called Hudson Greenstar.

For those of you in America, this is how the UK energy market worked until recently. Most users are on a Standard Variable Tariff which is often very expensive because it goes up every time wholesale energy prices go up, but never goes down again. Well, that is what you can expect when a public utility becomes a profit-making private company. The government's solution? Blame the customer! People should shop around more.

So to help us do that, comparison websites were created. In order to rank well on these, companies had to offer cheap fixed-price deals lasting a year or more. They paid for this by hiking up the SVT even more. So the poor and the old ended up paying for the the web-savvy middle classes. Eventually this created so much public outrage that telling people to shop around didn't cut it any more. So Theresa May slapped a cap on SVTs.

For some years now, I have been on annual fixed-price tariffs with Greenstar and they have been good value on the whole. The rationale is that you commit yourself to stick with the supplier for a year, and in return you get better rates. It's like having a one-year savings bond compared with an instant-access account; the bond yields higher interest.

My current deal runs out at the end of next month and I expected that, as usual, a similar deal would be offered to me as a replacement. Instead, the cheapest deal is now the SVT and it's way more than I'm currently paying! All the fixed deals are more expensive still.

May's cap has had a perverse effect. Since it only applies to SVTs, all the other tariffs have become more expensive. And when I asked why I should commit myself for a year if I got charged more for doing so, I was told, "We're committing ourselves too. The price is fixed for a year; it's more expensive than the SVT right now but it might be better value later on." Yes and it might not. Why should I gamble on that?

I was so angry that I went to moneysavingexpert.com and switched to a new supplier.
 
Old 01-11-2019, 01:00 PM   #2
DavidMcCann
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There's no perfect solution. You speak of the old nationalised system with apparent nostalgia: I remember how much my bills dropped when it was privatised. Nationalised monopolies don't have to make a profit, but they don't have to be efficient or competent either. Remember how long British Telecom used to take to get you a phone, or how British Rail sold tickets with no refund if the train wasn't available? The cap was a typical populist maneuver, and like all such maneuvers, bound to have unexpected side effects. I'm all in favour of regulation, but it has to be intelligent regulation. The fact is that energy is expensive and bound to get more so: we can't just dig up a bit more coal to meet the demand as we did when you and I were children.
 
Old 01-11-2019, 01:00 PM   #3
rvijay
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Welcome to modern world and present times. Same in many other walks of life globally these days sadly. Cash is good, all love cash, so pretty much anything goes to generate more cash. The small person is just simply squeezed out. However, cash is still good, all love cash.
 
Old 01-11-2019, 01:24 PM   #4
rvijay
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Few folks I knew in the longterm past went off line as they were on very limited income, couldn't deal with rising costs. So they decided not to have phone or net service. Logged in once for the last time, told all their buddies good bye and then logged off forever.

Others sometimes go to a local library or have a friend give them some net time.

Personally if I was in this situation forced to go off line and without phone also, I would just focus more on the few good things still left, puzzles, art and fiction books. Sudoku and crossword puzzles are very affordable, cheap even sometimes. One can get a set of crayons and a sketchbook for real cheap to do some simple art. Fiction books are available in libraries and some even give them out for free. Lastly not to forget the famous clock radio. Better to focus on the positive and few good things. Done well these can even become priceless, shared with others.

stretcher.com has some very nice suggestions on frugal living, simple living
 
Old 01-11-2019, 05:17 PM   #5
rvijay
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Miami International Airport will close an airport terminal early over the next few days, officials say, with more unpaid security officers absent from work as the partial government shutdown drags on.

Reuters: Air traffic controllers' union sues over unpaid work during government shutdown

Reuters: Greek police fire teargas at protesting teachers in Athens



Look at all these headlines just flowing. Some may say I am focusing on negative but the small, simple person is being squeezed everywhere. So it is practical to fasten your seat belts and prepare for a crash. Also, accept and learn to live with things out of our control, try to focus on the little positives that we have and can control. Do good to others as best as possible. The worst case scenario for today for general overall inflation and hardships is Venezuela. This is ground zero.
Seems like if not fully, some parts of society are headed in that direction. We can learn a lot from observing the happenings in Venezuela. Life is short anyways and sooner or later we all have to leave this planet.
 
Old 01-11-2019, 05:40 PM   #6
ChuangTzu
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hazel, that's terrible and thank you for sharing stories like this, it helps to make the world seem "smaller and more neighborly".

I agree with David and would add that deregulation and more competition would help bring the costs down. If your utility scheme was recently privatized then it may take some time for competition to break down the monopoly walls.

PS: Making a proper batch of fish and chips for dinner

Last edited by ChuangTzu; 01-11-2019 at 05:54 PM.
 
Old 01-11-2019, 06:32 PM   #7
rvijay
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Considering the main topic here is about energy, check out peak oil theory and the book collapse by Jared Diamond. These two seem to be good indicators of what lies far ahead for many parts of society. For some it will be sooner than later.
 
Old 01-11-2019, 06:44 PM   #8
ChuangTzu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvijay View Post
Considering the main topic here is about energy, check out peak oil theory and the book collapse by Jared Diamond. These two seem to be good indicators of what lies far ahead for many parts of society. For some it will be sooner than later.
I think that should be continued here: https://www.linuxquestions.org/quest...ge-4175635536/
 
Old 01-11-2019, 06:59 PM   #9
rvijay
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuangTzu View Post
I think that should be continued here: https://www.linuxquestions.org/quest...ge-4175635536/
Climate change is another different topic, am not going into that. Thanks for the suggestion anyways.
 
Old 01-11-2019, 08:27 PM   #10
wpeckham
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I have only found one solution that is significantly cheaper and better, and it depends heavily upon the availability of inexpensive solar panel arrays.
 
Old 01-15-2019, 05:01 PM   #11
rob.rice
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want to get even more pissed off

I had a device that would charge a 22Wh battery over 20 hours with an input of 1Wh

a simple device 1 NC relay 1 diode 1 coil 4 magnets

the big problem with it is it would unsolder the connections so complacently there was clean metal left on one side of the joint
like it had never been soldered in the first place

the point is we don't need to use fossil fuels at all
some free energy devices work

Last edited by rob.rice; 01-15-2019 at 05:09 PM.
 
Old 01-15-2019, 09:44 PM   #12
frankbell
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If you thought your electric company wass bad, remind yourself that it could have been PG&E. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/14/b...alifornia.html
 
Old 01-15-2019, 10:14 PM   #13
jefro
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"public utility becomes a profit-making private company" Well, can't say that I've ever heard of a not for profit utility. Even Monopoly game you have to pay.

"So the poor and the old ended up paying for the the web-savvy middle classes" Well that may have some element of truth. I'd also have to counter that many in the US that are poor have more than a few programs to assist. The old may suffer in all cases.

" annual fixed-price tariffs " I'd have to think that fuel and the ability to deliver energy goes up and down. You can't burn cheap coal anymore and you don't want to fire up a nuclear plant so you are stuck maybe on natural gas or even imported electricity. Best case maybe Spain could supply true solar energy that is really based on green technology.

So far no one has proven to me that you can pay $40,000 to supply your home with so called free electric solar.

Suing PG&E will only cost the consumers in CA. more. California mandated that no more power plants in their state and the cost went up.


My solution to all of this is it's easier to use less energy than it is to make it. Because I am forced into using only one electric cooperative I must pay what they ask. I do get a break once in a while if they happen to get a lot of hydroelectric energy cheap. Because I use so little I pay a lot for the poles and the service meter and really almost nothing for the actual energy. I'd get a break if I burned the electric wires up wasting energy. All in all I end up paying about 17-20 cents a KWH. Not sure what you might pay in England. I suppose there is a ton of taxes embedded into it there like they do in the US. Heck, I pay tax on trash even.
 
Old 01-15-2019, 10:22 PM   #14
frankbell
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Quote:
"public utility becomes a profit-making private company" Well, can't say that I've ever heard of a not for profit utility. Even Monopoly game you have to pay.
Back when I was a young 'un, there was the concept of "regulated public utilities." The idea was that sensible regulation would allow the utility to make a reasonable profit without gouging or shortchanging its customers. The utility got its profits; the customers got proper, reliable service; and the shareholders got reasonable returns.

Then along came the Chicago School.
 
Old 01-16-2019, 01:23 AM   #15
fido_dogstoyevsky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankbell View Post
Back when I was a young 'un, there was the concept of "regulated public utilities."...
And when I was young we had publicly owned (ie government run) utilities, ie exactly this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
...a not for profit utility...
Then they were privatised and quality of service went downhill very quickly because the previously old but maintained plant became old and not maintained plant. Eventually things got back to where they were but it took a long time.
 
  


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