What is going on with energy suppliers? According to a number of retailers, their power suppliers appear to be thinking of a figure then doubling it. Hasan Koker took over a small c-store in Chelmsford three years ago and rang up the incumbent supplier, Scottish Power, to say that the store was under new ownership. This would appear to have been counted as a contract by Scottish Power, although Hasan has never signed anything. His bills were always a bit on the high side at £1,500 a quarter.
Then they sent him a bill for £8,349 for four-and-a-half months. When he complained, Scottish Power said that its wholesale prices had gone up. When he said he wanted to cancel supplies they said that as he had not given them 60 days' written notice, his contract had been automatically renewed last July. How was he to know when this 'contract' was due to run out?
He is currently talking to Energy Watch about the problem.
And then there is Powergen. As Trevor Kay, who runs a Premier store in Harrogate, puts it: "My bill has gone from hundreds to thousands and has been adjusted up, adjusted down, and then up again."
He has sent me a record of his 'Life with Powergen' since last April. His first bill for the 300sq ft store
was £1,087 (more than double the price for the same stuff from his previous provider - Scottish Power - whose highest ever quarter for the business had been £494).
He complained and was promised that it would be adjusted next quarter. By October the new bill arrived: £5,610. Many complaints later, next bill: £6,288. Then two adjustments followed - one for
£5,311 and another for £2,452. Powergen told him that its prices
had gone up by 12%.
Trevor has now done his own sums: "If you take my previous highest bill, £494.11, and multiply it by three for the three quarters we have been with Powergen and deduct the £901.62 we have paid and add 12%, then I reckon we actually owe about £758, or about one-third that of the most recent bill."
He, too, has gone to Energy Watch.