ME and Ophelia

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The more I like animals

Last year, before I switched from EDF Energy to British Gas, my gas and electricity bills totalled £1,500 (£1,000 for gas and £500 for electricity). I have only one gas appliance: a gas fire in the sitting room.

This winter is the coldest I can recall. Rainwater in a bucket that I keep outside for watering plants has been frozen over for weeks on end.

A few days ago, I noticed this tiny news item buried at the bottom of a page of the Sunday Times 11 January 2009:
Gas alert
The National Grid is on the verge of issuing an emergency alert because reserves have fallen to the equivalent of less than a week's supply. Domestic consumers are thought to be safe for now.
Today, I noticed this online news report from Arab Times - Oil price falls towards $38 per barrel as demand weakens - excerpt:
LONDON, 12 Jan 2009 (RTRS): Oil fell more than $2 towards $38 a barrel on Monday, dragged down by growing evidence that recession is reducing global energy consumption.  The decline came as Russia and Ukraine signed a deal to help secure the resumption of Russian gas supplies to Europe, cut off for nearly a week in freezing temperatures. US light crude for February delivery fell more than 6 percent to a low of $38.12, down $2.71, before recovering slightly. By 1420 GMT, the contract was down $2.55 at $38.28. London Brent crude was down $1.77 at $42.65. US jobless data on Friday set the tone for the market. A US government report showed employers slashed jobs by 524,000 in December, driving the national unemployment rate to its highest level in almost 16 years.
No doubt the cost of using my gas fire will be reduced this summer when the weather is warmer. Right now domestic gas prices are probably based on last year when oil exceeded $100 per barrel and was rumoured to reach $200 or more. Daylight robbery are two words that spring to mind here.

Here's another thing. All pensioners in this country receive a £200 winter fuel payment from the government, regardless of whether they are wealthy or poor, working or not, at home all day or not. Woe betide those poor people under the retirement age who don't fit into any government box because they make ends meet from week to week by working hard, being prudent and saving pennies for a rainy day whilst paying taxes here there and everywhere.

Wealthy pensioners ought to donate their £200 to Age Concern. I wonder how many of them would be willing to do so. Not many, I guess. Sadly this year, I have to learn to be less generous and trusting. People take advantage and mistake kindness for weakness. Yoko Ono once said that the more she knew people the more she liked her cat. I've adopted the phrase as my new motto. The more I know about people the more I like animals. Animals are more trusty and better than people.

P.S. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's younger brother Andrew Brown works for one of the main nuclear lobbyists EDF Energy. EDF Energy is one of the worst companies I have ever dealt with. Last November they sent me a statement saying (in tiny print, easily missed) that within seven days they would deduct £600 (my Christmas savings) out of my bank account (even though I had been paying by their gas and electricty bills automatically without fail by direct debit following regular meter readings by their staff in person). Long story short: in the end, I wrote to the Chief Executive of British Gas requesting to change back to British Gas and sent them a pile of EDF's paperwork threatening to enter my home without my consent. Had a threatened postal strike gone ahead during the week that EDF's statement arrived, £600 would have been taken from my account without my permission or knowledge. It was such a traumatic experience dealing with EDF's bombardment of paperwork and their unhelpful customer services that I still shudder at the sight or mention of EDF's name.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 1/13/2009 0 comments Newer›  ‹Older