Friday, 18 October 2013

Change Power Supplier? What if you can't?

A favourite line of UK politicians in particular the Conservative and Liberal Democrat ones is that you can change supplier to save on your energy bills. Due to the UK energy market not being a real market there are many people in my situation who cannot do this without incurring charges of hundreds of pounds.


In reality I can have any power supplier I like as long as it is Scottish Power

I looked into changing energy supplier but discovered I could, but only if I spent a few hundreds of pounds to change my electricity meter, with no guarantee I would actually be able to get cheaper prices from another supplier anyway. 
This is due to the type of electric heating I have i.e. Scottish Power Comfort Plus White Meter where Scottish Power decide how much heating I get, although I can alter the settings additionally in each individual heater. Many people have Scottish Power White Meter (or Economy 7 in other areas) but this is different being operated using a time clock instead of the energy company, and therefore does not incur the same problem when changing supplier.

Thus in reality I can have any power supplier I like as long as it is Scottish Power. I wrote to my MP about this and he told me I was making up my situation and of-course I could change supplier with no resultant charges (although the paperwork I sent to him from the 2 energy suppliers in question said different). My MP at that stage is now Lord Martin of Springburn and sits in the UK House of Lords, so he was well rewarded by being utterly useless at his job as speaker and MP too. I thought naively that Labour was meant to be the political party that tried to help, and also protect the most ill and most vulnerable. How wrong was I?


Changing supplier would not make much difference anyway

In reality though changing supplier will not make much difference anyway. One of the big 6 suppliers puts their prices up and the others will follow shortly afterwards. We have after all got to ensure they get their profits since the electricity and gas industries were privatised by the Conservatives in the 1980s. As usual nothing was done by Labour to change the energy market or indeed re-nationalise these industries when they were in power from 1997. Now the Liberal Democrats are in the UK Government with the Conservatives and have done nothing either. Therefore there is no choice from the UK parties.


Living in a house where the warmest room is 12 degrees C is not pleasant in winter

Living in a house where the warmest room is 12 degrees Celsius is not pleasant in winter. I wear 6 layers on my top half, 3 layers including long johns on the bottom, woolly socks on my feet (sometimes several pairs), gloves with the fingers cut out on my hands, and a woolly hat on my head.

Mr Cameron living in Lah Lah Land as Usual

Mr Cameron suggests we put on a jumper to save money on energy bills. It gets a bit ridiculous when you have to put on 6 and you are still cold.

Charley the cat… was trying to get into the fridge for a heat

I used to have someone’s cat (a ginger tom called Charley) visit who always tried and once succeeded in serving himself from my fridge. Who this cat was owned by I don’t know, but I enjoyed his visits, although it became a standing joke amongst my friends that he was trying to get into the fridge for a heat! 

Now I heat the house to a lesser degree and offer my friends a jumper

I used to heat the house specially for my friends visits to a great extent. Now I do so to a lesser degree and offer them a jumper.


In an energy rich country like Scotland this is obscene for me and others. The only realistic option for future change in this situation is to vote YES in 2014 for full Scottish Independence. Otherwise many of us including me will turn into an icicle soon!