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The great supplier shuffle - Nick [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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The great supplier shuffle [Jun. 3rd, 2003|01:17 pm]
[mood |resigned]
[music |Howlin Wolf-Red Rooster - 1 Howlin Wolf-Red Rooster]

When we moved into a student house back in September, we swapped supplier from Scottish / Southern electric (the real supplier) to London Electric, and apparently saved some money (though it's always hard to tell....). Miles, on of my housemates, was the bill payer

Back in March, Miles moved out. I decided to swap suppliers, picked Amerada (a wholy online operation), and supposedly got a cost saving. London electricity were fairly useless about the change, and it took until May. In the mean time, they kept sending me piles of letters about why I might not want to change. Hello, if you can afford to send me 8 letters about why I don't want to switch, with colour brouchures in them, you're clearly charging me too much....

Just not, someone from Southern electricity knocked on my door. Apparently, the latest round of government deregulation and energy changes that went through last week had a sinister side. While supposedly reducing prices and choice, they actually screwed over other providers.

A little known thing is that the physical supplier charges a standing fee to outsourced billing companies, of the order of 15 quid / quarter, for providing the meter etc. The latest round of changes means they can decided not to charge that to themselves.

So, I've swapped supplier again, back to the people who physically supply me. Again, it's supposed to save me money, as this magic standing charge has gone away. I suspect that over a year, it will do. However, after that, I'm sure it won't. The effect it that myself, and many others (half my street had been visited by the salesman, and most had swapped) are going back to their physical supplier. The other billing companies will fold through lack of customers. Then, the suppliers will pump up the costs, and there won't be anyone cheaper to switch to.

Looks like yet another government deregulation thing has gone to the wall, supposedly offering cheaper prices and more choice, but actually just letting the incumbrents screw over the new players.

Sounds strangely like what you keep hearing about with phone companies, especially with data and broadband. Guess I should've expected it in utilities also, even if I don't follow their pricing as closely.

Oh, and in other news, vodafone sent me a leaflet with my new bill explaining their "perfect fit" price plans. Don't entirely understand the leaflet (doesn't seem to make any difference to line rental when you take your inclusive minutes, which seems broken to me), however what I can see is a 5 quid a month price increase if I move off my current tarrif and onto it's replacement one. Wouldn't get anything new (already on cross network, any time), but the price would go up. Nice....