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Switching Utilities provider

Discussion in 'Serious' started by Kronos, 9 Nov 2013.

  1. Kronos

    Kronos Multimodder

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    I am getting a little annoyed by being told how simple the process of switching energy suppliers is as I have had a complete nightmare of an experience. It all began when I received a letter from my current provider (BG} telling me that my current fixed term tariff was coming to an end and did I want to sign up to a fixed term contract until November 2014 or an even longer contract to March 2015. But nowhere on this letter did it tell me what I would be paying via my direct debit. But I could commit myself to either deal, not knowing how much it would cost and if I decided. when I eventually found out that I did not like the new cost and cancel, I would then be obliged to pay 50 quid for the privilege of doing so.

    Information needed to switch provider is total annual kWh which will make it easier to calculate and seemingly and I had never heard of this your gas meter point reference number. So I attempted to contact British Gas customer service but phone calls were not returned emails ignored and it was only after an email to the chief executive that someone eventually contacted me a full 12 days after initial attempt.

    Very nice guy and agreed that the letter was a tad lacking in detail. I asked him how much extra it would cost for the two tariff's. Bearing in mind I am currently paying £44 pound a month the new cost would be, November 2014 would be £55 and March 2016 would be £58, when I pointed out these rises were 25% and 38% respectively he went on to say that although the publicised increase was 8.4% this figure will differ dependent on area, state of pipes, investment in renewing said pipes. I asked if he was having a laugh he then said that my prices increases were based on what I was paying by direct debit last year which was £54, but we have reduced usage and obviously reduced overall cost and my direct debit. When asked to explain why my increase was based on a previous direct debit he resorted to company jargon and gobbledygook.

    Since then I have tried to contact Npower as I have a few questions but they to do not seem to have a functioning customer service department as three requests for call backs, emails to their customer service and chief executive have all gone unanswered.

    And it will take 4 - 6 weeks why?

    Anyone switched and can offer any advice? I saw a report the other day that said only a small percentage switched I am beginning to see why.
     
  2. Beasteh

    Beasteh What's a Dremel?

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    Sounds like you're having fun with British Gas.

    The consumer's association, Which?, has a good guide on finding the relevant info on your bill. There's also a series of FAQs to make the switching process easier. Even if you don't use their service, the advice provided is useful!

    http://www.which.co.uk/switch/energy-advice/understanding-your-energy-bill

    There are other comparison tools (moneysupermarket and Uswitch being popular) which will help you decide. The 6 week wait is unavoidable though.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 17 Jan 2014
  3. Spraduke

    Spraduke Lurker

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    Just used uswitch to move from BG to Co-op. Th only thing i need to do is call up with my meter reading when the switch date happens


    Sent from my HTC One S using Tapatalk
     
  4. yodasarmpit

    yodasarmpit No longer the other Brett.

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    You don't need that info to switch, only for you to make the best informed choice of which tarrif to pick.

    Although it should be visible on your monthly/quarterly bills.
     
  5. RTT

    RTT #parp

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    Quite.

    To the best of my knowledge this is utter rubbish and you probably misunderstood what he was trying to say. You don't get cheaper gas in Area A just because the pipes are in better condition than in Area B where they need replacing.
     
  6. Kronos

    Kronos Multimodder

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    I can assure you that I most certainly did not misunderstand him as we had quite a lengthy conversation about utility infrastructure as being in the building trade for quite a portion of my working life laid many miles of pipe in my time.

    This was why, I suspect, he moved the conversation away from this area and resorted to jargon and baffling figures.
     
  7. Kronos

    Kronos Multimodder

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    Thanks for the link, very useful.
     
  8. Kronos

    Kronos Multimodder

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    Follow up.

    After an admittedly sarcastic email to the chief executive of Npower thanking him for for stopping me switching to his company wit it is very poor customer service.
    I received an email yesterday full of apologies and promises, someone will be contacting me tomorrow to offer me help.

    Watch this space.
     
  9. RTT

    RTT #parp

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    Either way, gas isn't cheaper in Manchester because the pipes are in better condition than they are in Birmingham, for example - so if he said that, he didn't understand himself or was spinning you a yarn
     
  10. skunkmunkey

    skunkmunkey Minimodder

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    pointless changing in the long run, you save pennies for untold stress trying to change. When you finally do the *******s raise the price again. Its a con, just their way of luring you in and tying you down. You think those *special* fixed rates are a really a special offer? Imagine you were to offer someone something to buy, anyone with a little business sense would start higher and then negotiate down on price. All these companies are doing are deciding on the cheapest price they would be happy charging then offering it as a fixed deal. Its all B*****IT
     
  11. Kronos

    Kronos Multimodder

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    Of course he was spinning a yarn but that is what they do. These companies are very aware that only a small percentage of people switch and of course it is in their best interest that people did not, consequently they are perhaps less than honest.
     
  12. Atomic

    Atomic Gerwaff

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    I've never had any stress changing... find a cheaper deal online, fill in the switching form then wait for the email that asks for meter readings and get bills from the new company.

    Never had to speak to my old provider except once for getting some credit refunding from my last bill.
     
  13. hughwi

    hughwi Minimodder

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    I second using one of the switching services, as that way, your current provider does not deal with you directly, so there is no need for them to fob you off. All you need to do is provide your current usage details/estimates, your meter reading 4/5 weeks later, and off you go! (you also often get cashback as well).
     
  14. shah

    shah Minimodder

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    I am not sure where to start but I have also been looking into this for a few weeks. What I don't understand is why I can't get information for all the tariffs provided by these companies (in an excel format - excel junkie). Furthermore why there are a million different tariffs from each provider.... It is quite annoying tbh.
    I know the online comparison/switching sites do a good job but I want to actually see how much more I am paying year on year. If one knows about gas and electricity consumption then do a simple tariff comparison from a few companies plus add in any published increases in prices. What is the price increase within the last 5 years? Maybe doubled?
     
  15. xrain

    xrain Minimodder

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    Wow you guys can actually switch utilities? Where I am at there is only one utility provider for each town/city. So if you don't like the service your welcome to buy your own generator and make the electricity yourself. :lol:

    Though it's not too bad overall since most of the utilities are member owned co-ops. So there generally isn't much price gouging going on, since all the shareholders are also the people buying the electricity.
     
  16. shah

    shah Minimodder

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    Well it is an illusion of having a choice with no real benefit as these are privately owned businesses. And businesses are there to make money not for public service....
     
  17. RTT

    RTT #parp

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    Perhaps you should mention that this is what you were told in your next letter to the managing director :) It's the kind of stuff that ends up with them being called out on Watchdog or similar
     
  18. Atomic

    Atomic Gerwaff

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    The energy companies publish their tariffs online so you could do it manually.

    The comparison sites wouldn't provide raw data as it's their business to gather and compare. They wouldn't get their referral fee if you didn't change via their site either.

    Different tariffs for different situations - single/dual fuel, energy efficiency and number of people in each household change so there are tariffs that take all these into account.

    Prices rises aren't advertised that far in advance so you cannot take them into account when signing up to a variable tariff and trying to guess future prices rises isn't going to be possible as the companies greed energy market price rises aren't uniform.

    The only way to take future rises into account is to get a fixed tariff.

    ----------------------------

    Personally I signed up for a 5 year fixed deal at the start of the year, it was only £20ish /year more expensive than I was paying before.

    Yes, it's a slight gamble fixing long term but I can't see prices going down enough to loose out. If the prices rise by another 14% over the next 4 years I'm quids in, considering they've risen on average 6.6% this year alone I think you'd be mad no to fix long term.
     
    Last edited: 12 Nov 2013
  19. shah

    shah Minimodder

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    Good points Atomic but I strongly believe there should be less tariffs with simplified information available to all.
     
  20. RTT

    RTT #parp

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    Simpler info, yes, but different tariffs suit different people and there's a need for variety there. For example I have no gas only electricity, but I rent so I cannot fix my tariff long-term as I cannot guarantee how long I'll be in the property I'm renting.
     

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