Energy companies taking advantage?

I am getting the feeling that certain energy companies are trying to take advantge of their customers by bumping up their monthly direct debit payments when there is no need.

Take our house for example. During the current quarter we used less gas than we did the previous quarter. We were in credit with the company yet we received a letter telling us that our monthly direct debit payments would be increasing by approximately 150%. A few calls later and we established that given we were in credit we would not be increasing our payments – and would look at the situation should our current payment programme not cover the amount we were using.

Funnily enough the same company had also written to my wifes Grandparents trying to bump up their monthly payments, in spite of them being £250 in credit. It must be great to have a business when even if you owe your customers money you feel it acceptable to ask for more money for something they haven’t yet used. The more people I speak to, the more I hear the same has happened to them Is this a concerted effort by the energy companies to get people paying money well in advance just in case people’s bills increase? Funny how they aren’t so quick at refunding money when you get in credit by a considerable amount.

I’m wondering when we will see gas prices falling (aren’t they linked to oil prices for some reason). I won’t hold my breath. 


Internet translation in under an hour

I remember when I first worked at the post office in a media relations capacity we were looking to have something translated from Swedish if my memory serves me correctly into English. It took an absolute age. First of all I had to track down various companies who might or might not be able to do the translation. Then I had to get quotes from each company, which included working out exactly how many words needed to be translated. Finally I had to get a timescale as to how long it would take to get the whole thing done. The cost was prohibitive and the timescale even more so. 

How the internet has changed things. Not only can you monitor parliament from anywhere in the world, but if you were looking to get something translated you can literally get it done within the hour from by going to somewhere like

The great thing is that  it can all be done online. All you have to do is upload whatever content you need translated. The task is then sent to a niche language specialist and its literally back with you in a matter of minutes – and under an hour on average. I wonder if it would work for some of John Prescott’s speeches?

Aren't trains wonderful

We have had rain since the dawn of time.

The leaves have always fallen from the trees.

The railway has been around for a good few years too, so why oh why in the year 2008 can’t we find something that means "sorry for the delay which was due to slippery rails" is no longer a valid reason for getting home late.

Moan over.


TV licensing.. what an organisation

There is no TV or equipment that can receive a TV signal in the house we are selling and hasnt been for quite some time.

We receive a letter months ago telling us the address has no licence … (yes we know) so we call and tell them it was trasferred to our new address (happens to be on the same street).

We then continually get letters (quite threatening) telling us that we need a licence at the old address – and will be prosecuted if there is a TV there. So I give them a call and tell them there is no TV.

Yesterday they send us a further letter saying the enforcement division will be paying the property a visit and listing the various penalities that will be imposed if we do not have a licence and have a TV.

Good – please come and look for yourself. While you there you can tell the local council its unfurnished to save them a visit if they happen to feel the need. But perhaps realise that there are people (my wifes Uncle for one) who actually have a house and do not have a TV, and actually they are not criminals and really don’t need threatening letters constantly beng sent.

Oh god not again!!

Afraid it’s true!!


West Mids police on facebook…

Apparently it’s true. Great eh. Though I trust no serving officer is in anyway using their time on this as opposed to solving crimes?

Funnily enough the East Midlands police have an email address to follow up committed crimes – and they seem to struggle to even respond to enquiries. Is this just another case of paying lip service to the latest fad.

Bingo anyone?

I remember at the last General Election going past an old fashioned bingo hall and thinking what a great place to canvass. The clients were, well lets say, ladies of a certain age – all likely to vote I thought.

These days bingo seems to have undergone something of a renaissance. Probably the greatest innovation is that it now seems to take place online. If you are wondering How to Play Bingo then take a look at the Ms Bingo website. Apparently playing bingo online is the new going out!

Who knows. You could even win yourself a pretty substantial prize for such a small outlay.

this is a paid for post

So who will benefit from the economic crisis?

As with all things, when somone is suffering economically someone is generally laughing all the way the bank (or the stash underneath the mattress which may now be the safer bet).

So who has done well out of the economic crisis? Well all those city types who still get their lovely bonuses including the bosses of some our top high street banks haven’t done too bad have they. Then of course anyone who has a pile of cash who likes can pump money into the market just as it bottoms out will do quite nicely thank you.

Of course there may well be the possibility of those first time buyers who if there are any mortgage product still on offer, could finally afford a house that has been out of their reach for so long.

And of course there will be a few rather rich people who may add to their fortune too.

Garden furniture a key economic indicator?

With all the talk of economic gloom and doom I wondered how you were meant to know whether the economy was back on track? Only yesterday I read about how its a buyers market now in most things – new cars, houses, dare I say it stocks and shares.

Maybe you know the economy is back on track when you can get yourself a superb deal on garden furniture. After the summer we have had I suspect there will be plenty of bargains, but its always worthwhile going somewhere where you can Compare Garden Furniture.  A choice between a few nice gardeb chairs to enjoy what’s left of the nice weather or putting my money in banking shares…. I know which will give me mot enjoyment!

The power to move markets

Poor old Robert Peston is really getting it in the beck. Apparently the financial crisis is all down to him. His blog now reads like a crystal ball. What he writes today seems to happen tomorrow.

In spite of his forensic ability to cut to the chase and inform economic illiterates as to what is going on, even Robert Peston surely doesn’t have the power to move markets does he?