'Ofgem the regulator is listening; good stuff' blog discussion

This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's blog. Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.


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  • dancingfairydancingfairy Forumite
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    Sounds fab with some really interesting issues raised. I hope that the regulator can implement some of the suggestions as they would be relatively simple to implement but make a big difference to people's experiences.
    Go Martin!
    Making my money go further with MSE :j
    How much can I save in 2012 challenge
    75/1200 :eek:
  • When using switching sites, you get a more accurate estimate if you use KwH rather than £.

    To work out how many KwH you use, you have to keep 12 months of bills, and go back through them and manually add up the number used.

    It should be made compulsory for each bill to include the total number of KwH used over the last 12 months, and this information should be carried across suppliers (so even if you switch, it still tells you how much you've used regardless of supplier).
  • harz99harz99 Forumite
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    In relation to what prices (old/new) you are actually comparing on switching sites, it is time for the Regulator to set fixed dates on which general tariff increases can be made, with the proviso that the new rates must be advertised 28 days in advance.

    This level of transparency would reach everyone and ensure fairness to all.
  • BelnahuaBelnahua Forumite
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    I'm not sure I 100% agree with Martin's statement on prepayment meters being unfair.

    Yes, to those that struggle to pay their bills, should pay the same as those of us on ordinary meters.

    However there are a quite a few people out there who can pay, but refuse to pay their bills.

    One of my relatives comes to mind. He doesn't have trouble paying his bills, but never pays until he's been cut off, or about to be. He regularly has people at his door demanding payment, utility services, down to the local businesses seeking payment!

    So he's been forced on to a pre pay meter; As far as I'm concerned people like that should pay through the nose for their services.

    These people cost the rest of us money by having to employ debt collectors, disconnection agents, extra letters and communications; why should we pay our bills on time, and subsidise the selfish?

    Again, please note, I am not slating those who have trouble paying, just those who are deliberately late in paying their bills.
    A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.
  • magyarmagyar Forumite
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    Can I add what I think would make the biggest difference to most people.

    At the moment you cannot easily compare like with like because all the suppliers have difference tarrifs e.g. standing fee/no standing fee, one price for the first x kWh and and other for the next x kWh etc. Yes, you have price comparison websites but they're only as accurate as the information you provide, and most people get quite confused by kWh etc.

    The regulator should define three tariff structures, 'low', 'medium' and 'high' - and all suppliers should give a price for that tariff. This is similar to the simplification which recently took place in the rail industry.

    In addition, there really should be no reason why different regions price differently.
    Says James, in my opinion, there's nothing in this world
    Beats a '52 Vincent and a red headed girl
  • bunking_offbunking_off Forumite
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    For me the one that Martin missed is ease of switching. In an efficient market, you should be able to switch at will. In the power market, it takes upwards of 6-8 weeks. Why?

    If you switch telecoms provider, it'll be done in days. When Ofcom's recent regulatory changes are implemented, you'll be able to change your mobile provider - and take your number with you - in 2 hours. For telecoms changing provider changes how your calls are routed. For energy, it's the same electrons flowing through the wires, the change is only in billing arrangement. Why should it take 8 weeks to get that sorted?

    Imagine walking into Tescos and being told that yes, their beans are cheaper than Morrissons, but sorry you can't have them until October even if you ask now.

    So, if you're e.g. an EDF or BG customer, you've no choice but to pay the new prices. Even if you switch onto a capped deal with another provider, you're stuck paying the increased prices until the change goes through. In my view Ofgem should get the energy delivery companies to get their act together to shorten the switching process to 8 days (7 days statutory cooling off + 1 day to implement), and if not, make it illegal to increase prices without giving 8 weeks' notice.
    I really must stop loafing and get back to work...
  • magyarmagyar Forumite
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    So, if you're e.g. an EDF or BG customer, you've no choice but to pay the new prices. Even if you switch onto a capped deal with another provider, you're stuck paying the increased prices until the change goes through. In my view Ofgem should get the energy delivery companies to get their act together to shorten the switching process to 8 days (7 days statutory cooling off + 1 day to implement), and if not, make it illegal to increase prices without giving 8 weeks' notice.

    Actually I don't think that's true. I was with npower until March when they put their prices up, then switched to Scottish Power. Even though the switch didn't go through until May, I only paid the previous rate - although you do have to tell your supplier of your intent to switch within 28 days I think.

    Npower did accidentally bill me at the higher price :rolleyes: but they did eventually agree to recalculate it at the original price.
    Says James, in my opinion, there's nothing in this world
    Beats a '52 Vincent and a red headed girl
  • bunking_offbunking_off Forumite
    1.3K Posts
    Interesting....will await my EDF bill to see if it's the case.
    I really must stop loafing and get back to work...
  • JimmyTheWigJimmyTheWig Forumite
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    magyar wrote: »
    At the moment you cannot easily compare like with like because all the suppliers have difference tarrifs e.g. standing fee/no standing fee, one price for the first x kWh and and other for the next x kWh etc.
    Good point. I'd like to take this further.
    I think we should go back to having a standing fee and a single price per unit.

    I know this doesn't sound too good on the face of it, but in reality little would change.

    I lived in a very small flat when British Gas first abolished the standing charge for electric. I was well chuffed as, not using much electricity, I would benefit greatly.
    I was at work all day, often out in the evening and often away at weekends. I didn't cook that often. I hardly ever had the heating on.
    I don't see how anyone, in an occupied property, could have used much less electricity than me.
    But despite this I still paid for all the units in the higher rate and some at the lower rate. The difference in the rates multiplied by the number of units at the higher rate _is_, in effect, a standing charge.

    My point is that everyone is, in effect, paying a standing charge. They just looked good by "scrapping" it.

    By going back to a standing charge (and one price per unit) it would be much simpler to switch.
  • edwinsonedwinson Forumite
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    Martin,
    Very good point on LPG/oil, there appears to be no support from any quarter for people who have to use these as their major sources of energy
    Rises for LPG and oil can make gas electricity price increases pale in comparison, and some people have to live in rural areas for their work.
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