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News and Comment September 2021

Index: 2019202020212022

30 September (Part 3) - A cold winter lies ahead

Regular readers sometimes send in little anecdotes about the trials and tribulations of life and a recent one struck a chord with me.

I used to use Bulb for my power supplies but they made rather a lot of mistakes on my Aunt’s account last year and then about 12 months ago announced a steep price increase which was the last straw. It was a variable tariff and inevitably it only varied in one direction. I managed to find a fixed term price at more or less the same price as Bulb pre-increase. It expires at the end of October 2021.

My correspondent has been with Bulb all year and maybe longer. In mid-August they advised him that prices were going up again and his Direct Debit would have to be increased by £14·80 a month. Then a few days ago another email advised an increase of £63·91.

That is a big bill. Mine has been £77 with Avro Energy (gas and electricity) for the past 12 months which has built up a £25 credit balance. With the contract due to expire I looked around for the best deal. The lowest recommended by a price comparison site was Avro Energy at £113·50 (fixed) which is a near 50% increase, Bulb £117 (variable), Octopus £138 (fixed) and EON £144 (fixed).

Avro’s website is a bit crap compared to Bulb’s but being the cheapest, a fixed price deal and no exit fees it looked to be the best buy. I signed up to remain with Avro Energy. Three days later they went bust.

Since then Octopus have been in touch to tell me they have taken over, please sit tight and do nothing. They have promised - twice - a lower tariff than is available from any other large supplier and cheaper than their own tariff on offer to new applicants.
We shall see. I hope they realise that I noted down exactly what their tariff was three days before Avro went bust. Will they prove to be another lying utility company?

Octopus looks like being around twice the price of my bill for the past year and I gather at £77 my consumption is on the low side. This will be devastating for families living on the financial edge. Probably a Winter of Discontent lies ahead and we have a Government that seems unable to get anything right. The blind leading the disillusioned. Are they even leading?


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