Thursday, October 05, 2006

The cable guy needs checking

The Cable Guy - several people have written to the press claiming that whatever real effort they have put in to reduce their consumption of electricity, such as reduced air-con usage, moving to a small house, making sure the TV is switched off when no one is watching, etc., etc., they do nothing to the size of the electricity bill at the end of the month.

We all know that the electricity metres are not read at the end of every month. It is common for the electricity company to estimate usage based on past patterns and only adjust the charges when the metres are actually read. But hands up anyone who monitors and makes sure that estimates are corrected at some point in time and you would probably be hard put to get a roomful, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of households consuming electricity.

I am beginning to wonder if the electricity company is having us on, taking advantage of consumers' trust or ignorance or both. Are they neglecting to do their job in ensuring that the numbers are correct at the end of the month? Yes, electricty tariffs change quarter to quarter, but even accounting for such fluctuations, it cannot be that the bill size is the same every month? My bills seem to be climbing every month, but of course that's because of the price of oil. But I have noticed that even on months when I am away on vacation for a week, the bill size never fell significantly. I always rationalise this anomaly by assuming that my bill for that month is an estimated one based on prior months' average usage. Now I am not too sure that I should be doing the rationalizing on behalf of the electricity company.

I think it is high time some audit is done on the electricity companies instead of dissipating resources on the witch hunt that is going on in the charities sector.

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