Energy Bill Saving

Roughly eighteen months ago, my energy supplier of the time (nPower, a company I’m epically happy to be rid of) sold their domestic customer base to eonNext – one of the few energy companies with a worse customer rating than nPower. (So, quite the achievement)

For many reasons I wasn’t happy about this, and used USwitch to move over to Octopus in January 2021. I’ve been really happy with that switch, and haven’t moved since.

At the time, I had a credit balance with eOn, and expected that to go on the final bill. I was expecting that bill to happen within about two months, and pay any excess over the credit at that point.  Except I didn’t hear anything from eonNext at all. I was still able to log in to the customer panel, but nothing else happened. So eventually I shrugged my shoulders and left them to their own devices.

Yesterday (June 2022, fifteen months after switching supplier!) I got a bill from eonNext, telling me what I owed them through to January 2021.

Thankfully, I remembered reading in the Guardian’s Consumer Champions pages about OfGem’s back-billing rules , which basically say that you can’t be billed for energy used more than 12 months ago if you’ve not been billed for it already (or informed by statement of account) .  Within that information page, they also include a link to the Citizen’s Advice form letter for telling energy companies that they’re in the wrong – which is obviously extremely helpful!

So this morning I emailed eonNext back (I was going to phone, but decided it was better to have it all in writing) with my own adaptations of the form letter, and proposing that (as a compromise) they used the money I’d left in the account as a part-payment, and could then sod off for the rest. (I phrased it a bit nicer than that, but that was definitely the implication)   Yes, I could’ve said “And I want that credit back as well”, but well, I haven’t had it for nearly a year and a half, so it doesn’t matter.

This afternoon I got a response from eonNext agreeing with me, wiping out the bill, and sending me a confirmation that my bill is now at zero. (I’ve printed both of those documents out, just in case they prove in future to still be fucking useless)

All told, that bit of knowledge/memory and research, and about half-an-hour’s effort (searching for the correct article, checking things out etc.) has saved me a couple of hundred quid. And that’s got to be a success by anyone’s standards.


Small Victories

Last weekend, I went to the wedding of a friend. That’s nothing particularly news-worthy (hell, nor is the rest of this, but there we go)

Anyway, the dress-code was “smart”, and I’d been considering getting a new suit anyway, but before I ordered anything, I decided to try on my current ones.

I was pleased (and more than a little surprised) to find that the one I’d bought for attending the wedding where I got together with Herself – eighteen years ago!

So yes, interestingly I’ve remained the same size for that length of time. I know I’m a fat sod, but at least I’m a consistently fat sod!


Crunch/Scrape

Today I had my first ‘crash’ involving another vehicle. (I’d only had one other incident before, but that was an icy road in Norfolk, nearly 13 years ago, and it was only me involved) Before anything else, I’m fine – the car’s got a scraped body panel, but it was all fairly low-speed, no air-bags needed, no injuries, nothing.

As it was, I’m almost certain the responsibility wasn’t mine – although the other driver insists it was my fault, so I’m just letting the insurance companies fight it out.  Basically though, I was in the correct lane, the other car was merging in and for some reason expected me to give way. We’ll see what the insurance people say.

It was at a new-ish junction, and the signage isn’t the easiest to understand, but I’ve driven it enough times that I know how it works. (Although the other driver also does it fairly regularly, so should know better! 🙂 )

Using the photo below, I was turning right out of Mike Griffin Way. You can be in either lane (which is fucked up in the first place). If you’re in the left-hand lane then that becomes the direct route; the right-hand lane has another turn-off (the rough equivalent of a hairpin turn) and then merges into the direct route.  It was, in short, designed by a fucking idiot.

The junction – click to Embiggenify

So I was in the left-hand lane having come out of Mike Griffin Way, with the other car in the right-hand lane. And at the merge (top-right of the image) they decided to pull into the left-hand lane. No indication or anything, just pulling in.

Fortunately, I was aware they were there, and as they pulled across I was already braking hard and sounding the horn to let them know I was there. But still, impact. Rather than blocking the road, we went up to the nearest layby, pulled in, did the whole exchange of details, photos and so on, and then got on with life.  I’m happy with how I did everything – making sure they were OK, but also getting names, details, numbers, registration plates etc., and ensuring that they got mine as well. Basically, I didn’t want there to be any chance of miscommunications, or “he just drove off” accusations.

Because there’s been no injury, no road blockage etc., the police haven’t needed to be informed (another thing I also checked with the insurance company, to make sure they were happy with not having a police incident number or anything) and I’m quite happy to not have to involve them..

I don’t yet know what the outcome will be. My car’s OK, it’s got some nice new scratches and a dent, but it’s perfectly driveable, and I don’t know if I’ll even bother getting the scratches repaired. My insurance shouldn’t be affected (even if they decide it was my fault) as I’ve got a protected 10+ year No Claims Bonus, which means I could even have another accident (not that I’m planning to!)  before even beginning to worry on that score.

We’ll see what happens, but all is good so far as I can tell. I wouldn’t recommend it as a way to spend an afternoon – but equally, things could have been *so* much worse in so, so many ways.

 


False Registration

A few weeks ago, I got a weird piece of post – a V5 registration document for a vehicle I’ve never owned, to a name I’d never heard of, but with my address on it.

Having asked around a bit (in case the person was just a cretin who put in the wrong address) it turns out that this is a semi-common scam, registering a vehicle to a different address in order to avoid parking and speeding tickets etc.

As such, some people suggest that it should be registered as SORN (Statutory Off-Road Notification) but that still connects the vehicle to the address, and leaves you open to receiving documents, fines etc.

Instead, I decided to instead return the document to DVLA, along with a cover note explaining that I didn’t know the car and didn’t know the person, and had been at current address long enough to know that the person hadn’t lived there any time in the last decade. I scanned in both documents so I’ve also got a record of it, should it be needed.

Yesterday, I got a response from DVLA, which confirms that what I did is the best thing to do. They’ve removed the connection of my address to the vehicle, although it’s still possible that some fines etc. may come to me – but in that case, to send the issuing authority a copy of the letter received, and confirm that It’s Not Mine.

So, interesting to see how things work. Hopefully I won’t get any further issues with it, but I’m as protected as possible if anything does happen.

 


Lockdown – Two Years On

In many ways it’s hard to believe that it’s already two years ago today that the UK’s first Coronavirus lockdown was announced.

Since then, time feels like it’s done some very strange things – some things feel like only yesterday when it turns out they were three or four years ago, but stuff that was yesterday feels like an eternity has passed.

Here, I’ve been lucky, as I still haven’t caught it – although that’s more by luck than judgement, and probably that’s helped by being single, antisocial, and without children, thus eliminating an awful lot of the potential vectors.  I’ve also been lucky in that it hasn’t affected me in the same ways it’s affected a lot of people – I wasn’t suddenly thrown into a world of working from home, with a lot of my social interactions removed, and nor was I suddenly having to be in close confinement with partners or others.

It’s still not been easy, but it’s been OK. It could have been a lot worse – and obviously for lots of people, it was. And is. And will continue to be.

I don’t know how we’ll handle things in the future. I know that “going back to how things were” is a pipe-dream. We’ll find ways to accommodate life with Coronavirus, and it’ll affect us less (much as it’s already doing) but it’s not going to disappear, and things won’t ever be “how they were”.

Onwards, upwards, whatever.


Refridged

As mentioned in the previous post, I also ended up with a new fridge over the weekend.

On about Wednesday my (then) current fridge started sounding unwell, and running constantly – never a good sign. I messed around with the controls, lowered the chill factor to get it to turn off, that sort of thing.  And while it did turn off, it was then back to running within about ten minutes.  Diagnosis : most likely a fucked thermostat.

Now in fairness, I’ve had this fridge for coming up to 15 years, it’s been through at least two house moves, and had also had the issue of being frozen to sod for a while until I cleaned it out last year (which I suspect didn’t actually do it much good) and it wasn’t expensive in the first place, so it’s not like I’ve not had the value out of it or anything.

As a result, I ordered a new one from AO , which went (fairly) smoothly. The order itself was fine, but then over the next two days I got four silent automatic calls, which are distinctly frowned upon by OfCom . By checking the number online I figured out it was AO who were doing them – their “aftercare” department, apparently, which is really just the old “do you want an extended warranty with that?” scam.  I complained to AO, who’ve now said that they’ll investigate, and who have taken me off their call list.

Thankfully, the delivery itself was fine. The delivery people arrived when they said they would, took away the old one for recycling, left the new one with me, and buggered off. Just how I like it.

And now it’s all plugged in and running smoothly again. Happy day.


Refronted

Over the last couple of years, both of my neighbours in our little terrace/block have updated their front doors to modern composite doors, with better security and so on.  That’s left mine in the middle looking like the easiest target of the three, which is never something I’m entirely happy about.  (The other two properties in the block also have the same older front doors, but mine being between two new ones made it feel like that weakest option)

I’ve always worked with the ethos that you don’t bother making your house the safest/strongest on the street (because that just makes people think you’ve got stuff worth stealing) but you do make it harder to get into than those of your neighbours.  It can be a bit of an “arms race” scenario, and it can be a bit selfish (“I’m OK, others can sod off”) but it’s still not a bad structure to live by.

I talked about this a while back with my landlord, and he agreed that it would be a good idea to upgrade it – particularly as it’ll also be *way* more insulated and energy-efficient (which is a consideration for rented properties now, they need to pass a certain grade of energy efficiency) which makes it A Good Plan.

So – after several mis-fires of companies measuring up, assuring they could do it, and then pulling out –  the new door went in yesterday. It was a fairly big job (most of a day to do) and I’m glad that it turned out to be on a day when the temperature was actually quite reasonable (for February) so it all went OK.

Already the differences are noticeable. It’s a lot quieter (better insulation, no gaps etc.) and noticeably warmer.  Definitely A Good Thing.

Now I just need to get my replacement fridge (that’s a story for a different time) delivered tomorrow and sorted, and hopefully things will then run smoothly for a while again.