Community Action Groups
From Sustainable Wallingford's Dr Sue Roberts:
In 1989, Margaret Thatcher addressed the United Nations:
‘‘...the main threat to our environment is more and more people, and their activities: the land they cultivate ever more intensively - the forests they cut down and burn - the mountain sides they lay bare - the fossil fuels they burn - the rivers and the seas they pollute...Change in future is likely to be more fundamental and more widespread than anything we have known hitherto. Change to the sea around us, change to the atmosphere above, leading in turn to change in the world's climate, which could alter the way we live in the most fundamental way of all.”
Mrs Thatcher is better known, not for her environmental concerns, but for her bold aim, to increase the competitive edge (and hence reduce the costs) of nationally-owned utilitites such as Gas and Electricity by selling them to the public, through shares. We now have six large energy companies selling both gas and electricity, and numerous smaller companies.
What are you paying for fuel?
Fifteen Green Deal Advice sessions have been conducted in Wallingford. The Advisor was struck by how difficult it was to discover exactly what the householder was paying for units of electricity and gas.
Two householders with on-line accounts could not find their tariffs. They had to memorise the scheme-name and look it up in a directory. A third householder phoned his energy company, to discover he was paying an astounding 18p per unit of electricity; he was told he could switch to a different rate of 12p!
Ofgem have clear guidelines for energy companies, who are not allowed to ‘bamboozle’ customers. And yet the tariffs are still non-transparent: 2 years ago, companies were supposed to create 5 identical service-levels which could be compared for price; last year, Mr Cameron stated they would be compelled to give customers ‘the lowest tariff’. In search of this, one Wallingford householders tried to switch provider, asking what was the lowest tariff. They refused to tell her unless she first revealed what she currently paid.
Meanwhile a whole industry has grown up fielding tariffs and attempting to make competition in the industry function in a market-driven fashion. Voluntary groups, government quangos, and numerous private companies operating switching sites, aim to help people through the mire of (over 200) different tariffs.
Not to be caught unawares, keep an eye on whether your utilities are coming to the end of a low-tariff period. The simplest thing is to go back to your supplier and ask to pay less; with the fall-back of switching to another company. It is completely impossible to compare all the available tariffs by hand, so use a switching site. Many customers, especially on doorstep-bamboozlement, switch to a worse tariff.
If you buy your electricity from companies that provide all their electricity from renewables, this effectively reduces your household carbon-emissions. These companies tend to sell at single tariff levels, so although marginally more costly than other companies, they do not indulge in bamboozlement.
|Tue Dec 10 @08:30 - 02:30PM|
Thame Farmers' Market
|Wed Dec 11 @19:00 - 09:00PM|
Grassroots Bicester's Fabulous Christmas Feast
|Thu Dec 12 @11:00 - 03:00PM|
Carterton recycling roadshow
|Sat Dec 14 @11:00 - 01:00PM|
|Sat Dec 14 @12:00 - 04:00PM|
Eco-Creative Days: Winter Greenery and Gifts
|Sun Dec 15 @18:00 - 10:00PM|
|Tue Dec 17 @19:00 - |
Setting up a new Banbury group
|Thu Dec 19 @18:30 - 09:30PM|
|Fri Dec 20 @08:30 - 01:30PM|
Abingdon Farmers' Market
|Sat Dec 21 @11:00 - 12:00PM|