British Gas’s Market Tracker rate sounded like a brilliant deal. The telemarketer made promises that it was guaranteed to be one of the most competitive rates on the market. What they failed to mention was it was competitive against standard rates only - which aren’t actually very competitive at all. If I use an online tariff I can save around £500 a year. I wrote British Gas a polite but slightly snotty email threatening to leave them less than a week after joining. The “bugger off early £60 fee” for not being prepared to be swindled any longer is hardly a deal breaker, so we save £440 pounds a year not £500….let me think carefully about that…..This could be a shorter relationship than a Britney Spears marriage. As you read this I’m currently arranging an energy annulment.
Bless them, for the privilege of paying £500 more than the most competitive rate, British Gas sent a free gadget to help us save energy, which sounds nice of them but somehow surprise, surprise this cost saving device actually helps them make even more money out of us….This is because the device they sent us plugs into the grid (where they get their profit from) and shows you how much energy you are using. Rather cunningly it is not even possible to tell how much it costs to run the device itself because in order to work out how much energy the device is using you have to unplug it, only as soon as you do, the device’s display goes blank (it could mean that 95% of all our current energy costs are down to the device). In addition, despite the claims that it helps you reduce energy use, far from running around the house turning things off, I found myself running around the house turning things on, just to see how much they cost to run. I even rummaged through drawers and cupboards to dig out some old electrical items that have long since been discarded but not yet been dumped, on the basis that one day they might come in useful. Guess what Mrs B? That day has arrived! The electrical items formed part of a huge social experiment to see just how high I could raise the energy use bar. Apologies to anyone in the local area who may have experienced power outages during much of last week, normal service will resume as soon as our finances struggle to recover…I do hope they don’t send these devices to hospitals, you can imagine the scandal as the NHS tries to explain why they went around turning off all the life support systems…
"The energy savings were impressive although we do agree the human cost might be a little unpalatable to some of our patients, especially the ex ones....."
For the record, if you wish to bankrupt yourself the best way is to just keep boiling the kettle. On a cost per second basis it is more expensive than running a high use heroin addict….
Next time you are around someone’s house that you don’t like, just keep switching on their kettle - they will be in debtor’s prison before they can say “What the Dickens is going on?”
The toaster is not far behind the kettle in power consumption – who would have thought having a cup of tea and slice of toast would turn out to be such an expensive option?
The big TV uses hardly any power consumption at all, but that might be because I kept getting distracted with the big picture and so did not actually get around to checking the power read out for it
Dimmer switches – sometimes, but not always, use more power when they are dimmed…. I should know by their very name that they were never going to be that bright but that has to be the most ridiculous result since David took out Goliath….
This little wonder device also let us know that while we were asleep last Friday night we used more energy than a family of five is expected to use for a week….WTF?….
“Mischief - stop boiling that damn kettle”
“McG, step away from the toaster, it’s off limits as is the Microwave….”
“What’s that McG? It wasn’t you guys? You think it was the chairman of British Gas….How would you know? Oh, it takes a fat cat to know a fat cat… fair enough…."
The main culprit for the overnight abuse appears to be our bathroom radiators which are both on electric thermostats, to dry our towels in the summer when the central heating is off. They currently make a sound like a couple of kettles going off, this is apparently called ketteling and I believe is caused by a faulty thermostat. This is an apt name as they not only sound like a kettle they hungrily use power in the same way as well, only don’t expect to get a cup of tea at the end of it….
The array of different rates on offers is simply staggering. I just wish they would be a bit more honest with the names and restrict them to something like the following:
• The ‘This sounds like a great rate but isn’t’ rate
• The ‘Just hand over your house and savings now’ rate
• The ‘daylight robbery’ rate (which can be used in conjunction with the ‘Great night swindle’ rate for extra unsavings)
• The ‘thanks for paying for our chairman’s holiday home’ rate
• The ‘We are not going to stop at the shirt off your back’ rate…
• The ‘Ok we have your grandmother and your left kidney, what do you want to lose next?’ rate
The price comparison sites can be equally confusing. Plugging in the Kilo Watts gives one result but when you use the equivalent cost they come up with totaly different results. All I know is that I shall be enforcing my no cold call rule far more rigorously in the future even if they offer a superior rip-off package with a dozen free gadgets that cost you a small fortune to run.
Our friend Lisa purchased a new SD card for her camera last week. Her old card was full and rather than just down load the pictures (she had lost the lead from the camera to PC) she opted for purchasing a new larger capacity SD card so that she could take loads of pictures at Phil and Christian’s wedding. I had got a phone call from Lisa while we were on the way to the venue (please note the correct venue on the correct day), saying her camera was broken could she borrow Mini Beast. Not a problem other than we would not be arriving until after the ceremony (we were evening guests only). As we drove along I worked out Lisa’s problem, her camera obviously did not take the new High Capacity SD cards and despite taking the camera into her nearest branch of Dixons (that was never going to end well) and requesting a card suitable for the camera they managed to sell her the wrong card. I had instructed her to return the HC card and get her money back……This week I got a phone call from her :-
Lisa :- "Guess what, I’ve got a new camera"
Me :- "So the old camera was broken after all?"
Lisa :- "No………….. but my HC card fits the new camera!"
Me :- "So the numb nuts who sold you the wrong card now gets a camera sale out of his error….I see."
Lisa :- "but it’s much smaller and does exactly the same as my old camera only in 10 Mega pixels, twice as many as the old one."
(I didn’t have the heart to ask her what she thought the Mega pixels would do for her)
Me :- "Lisa, you realise it’s like when they upgrade phones, you get two new functions that you hardly need and they strip out 10 of your favourite ones "
Lisa :- "Did I say it was really small?"
Me :- "Yes, you did. I’m sure it will be fine. You better keep the old one for a while though, because you got some brilliant results out of it and I don’t want you to be disappointed."
Lisa :- "Really, really small"
Mad Blog Tuesday
Not sure what happened on Tuesday but the BlackLOG got more hits on that day then it would normally get in two weeks. None of the new visitors left a message so I have no clue as to what happened. They can’t all have accidently stumbled onto the blog can they….? I don’t suppose they will come back but you never know, I’m just happy for the boost in figures, even if it does turn out to be a one off….
A record of the week
Appropriate music to accompany this week BlackLOG
Power to the people - John Lennon
My Camera Never Lies - Bucks Fizz
I want You Back - K.T.Tunstall
Not much in the way of photo's this week, just been playing around with the macro lens