British Gas

So that’s why electricity costs are increasing!

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I have had my run-in’s over the last few years with the utility providers – in particular with British Gas, it’s a long and torrid tale of failures to change my meter on numerous occasions – despite lots of contact and arranging ‘special’ appointments because they had failed me so many times – if you are bored you can read about it here.

Tonight I have come home to find a ‘we missed you’ meter reading card on the matt – not an unusual occurence as all meter readers only appear to work during the day – not unreasonable. This is why we ring or email through our reading to Eon (on their request). They did this recently (a couple of weeks ago) and we responded accordingly. We have also received an updated bill on the strength of our reading!

So how come they can’t update their meter readers schedules (especially as they appear to use electronic devices now to report each reading in real time).?

Well I have a theory – Eon are obviously trying singlehandedly to keep the unemployment figures down by paying for meter reading people they don’t really need. But it’s OK because they are funding it through the increases in their tariff.

Thanks Eon, way to go!

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Should the energy providers be forced to insulate our homes?

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This is an interesting idea that has been suggested by The Independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) in its annual report, they suggest that such a measure would make big inroads into the Governments targets for reducing carbon emissions over the next few years.

Where the heat goes.....

According to their research, in the UK 43% of all lofts, and 42% of houses with cavity walls have yet to be insulated. They are suggesting that energy companies should be given 4 years to get the job done – after all they are making some fairly impressive profits out of us all!

However I cannot see this working in practice – the cost would be passed onto the consumer in some form – probably through the energy tariff, so we would end up paying for it in the end.

Much better in my view is to increase the Government supported schemes that have been run over the last decade for insulating homes of the old and under privileged. Something needs to be done as  in 2010 the number of loft insulations fell by 30% on the previous year – despite one of the coldest winters in recent memory.

On the upside the CCC did find that people were buying less-polluting cars, but the required improvements in environmentally friendly driving had not materialised. Furthermore, delays in building the first carbon capture and storage demonstration plants and boosting use of public transport were damaging efforts to meet the UK’s legally binding carbon targets, the toughest in the world.

Of more concern for the Government is that the CCC report analysed the changes in the UK’s carbon emissions and found that, when the effects of the recent cold winter and the recession were accounted for, the trend was flat and therefore a return to normal levels of activity in the economy would mean the UK would greatly exceed its future carbon targets (a 3% cut every year.)

Time for our supposedly ‘Green Coalition’ to act.

British Gas! Here we go again!

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It appears that I am destined to never receive my new gas meter! I blogged here about the previous attempts to install a new one and the failures at each step. This time we had a two-hour slot – first thing in the morning (8 till 10), so nothing could go wrong?

What do you think? I was ready and waiting and had also arranged to be part of an online training lesson at 10 am for two hours as I would be home where it is quiet (and the gas meter man would have been done by then).

At 9am I got the call – this time from the engineer himself (an improvement on the call centre). He was really sorry but due to the way ‘they’ had planned his route he was likely to be after 10am – was that OK?

Err, no sorry.

An offer to get here for 9.30 followed (which I appreciated and accepted) – but this was followed up 15 minutes later by the news that the engineer was stuck on the M1 still.

We decided between us that it wasn’t going to happen (the engineer was very helpful and apologetic)  – so I await the call from the call centre to rearrange.

I am thinking sometime in 2012?

Customer service – again!

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A favorite hobby-horse again I am afraid!

My gas provider (I am strangely unusual and still use British Gas for gas) informed me last year that my meter needed changing – fair enough, they pay for it, and it must wear out over time. An appointment was made, and as usual no exact time could be given, but they did offer me either morning or afternoon. So not all bad – I went for the morning (I can work at home while I wait).

A rare sight on my street......

All nice and straight forwards then! Well no – on the day I got a call about 3 hours into my 4 hour slot to say the engineer had discovered a problem at his previous job and would not therefore be able to attend my house – I gave him the benefit of the doubt and arranged another morning slot for a few weeks late.

Come the next date – you guessed – engineer can’t attend due to a problem at his last job! Appointment re-arranged – again. I am also beginning to wonder about this engineer!

Scroll forward to this week (April 2011, getting on for 4 months from the first appointment). I am sat at home waiting for an 8 – 12 appointment. I have not received a call to say it is not on so hopefully we are on?

Err…. no. Two hours into my wait (i am working so it’s not a lost morning luckily) I get the call – in truth I get a dropped call which I call back to see who it was, not sure when I would have got the call otherwise?

This time the engineer is off ill. That’s a change then, but hang on, their engineers must be related to superman, that can be the only reason why it took them over 2 hours to call me to say he was off ill – his work load must be enormous! Alternatively they could just be a completely useless organisation who couldn’t organise a …….. well you know where I am going.

So we are booked in again  – for a few weeks time, this time apparently I get a two-hour slot – whoopee!!! – at least I will only have to wait one hour for the phone call on that day?