Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Trying to find Energy Prices: ScottishPower

The Energy minister tells us to shop around for the best deal.

Now gas is gas is gas – it’s methane, CH4, with a bit of smell added, the choice of supplier will make no difference to what comes down the pipe – all suppliers use the same pipe. So price is the determining factor.

Let’s find ScottishPower’s price per kiloWatt Hour (bit like “the pump price”).

You start at http://www.scottishpower.co.uk/

The Menu offers you “Your Home”, “Gas” which takes you to http://www.scottishpower.co.uk/your-home/energy-products/gas

We offer a single, simple gas-only price online that’s easy to manage – our Online Energy Standard deal.

ScottishPower Standard Product

ScottishPower Standard Product

Nah, It can’t be that easy – even with the caveat “prices may vary throughout the duration of the supply agreement”.  Buck House should sign up for gas at £749.70 per annum! Surely price has to be usage related?

Ah, what does the † signify?

It does not say, but there is a “More Info” button. Click this and it starts to unravel.

ScottishPower Standard Product - detail

ScottishPower Standard Product – detail

Ah, so Buck House will probably pay £1005.65. I might pay only £533.13 – I live alone after all.

But, what does the † signify?

Again, no word, but there is a link View our product notes; so let’s try it.

This takes me to a page:

Standard Domestic Prices – Product Notes

Perhaps I will find prices here – after all they can put the price on a bill so surely they can put it on a website? The first few words look promising – but don’t bother reading the following long quote, you won’t find the price per kWHr. (The paragraph I have coloured blue is the most useful to me.)

These prices for domestic customers are subject to the ScottishPower Gas and Electricity General Terms and Conditions for Domestic Customers dated 1st October 2001, as amended with effect from 10th June 2011. Prices effective from 3rd December 2012.

These prices may vary throughout the duration of the supply agreement. If our prices increase we will give you at least 30 days notice and you will be entitled to cancel the contract.

You can end your agreement(s) by switching supplier at any time without having to pay any cancellation charges. The agreement(s) can also be ended by us by giving you 28 calendar days’ prior notice in writing; or if you move house. If you move house you need to give us at least 2 working days’ prior notice otherwise you will continue to be liable for the supply until either 2 working days after you do provide notice of the move or until a new owner or occupier enters into a contract for the supply. The agreement(s) will continue until ended in one of these ways.

* The Gas & Electricity Offer annual discount for dual fuel customers who pay monthly by Direct Debit or quarterly by cash, cheque or Direct Debit and qualify for the Gas & Electricity Offer discount will receive annual discounts of £5.00 (excl. VAT), £5.25 (incl. VAT) per fuel. These discounts are shown on your bill as daily amounts of 1.369p (excl. VAT), 1.437p (incl. VAT) per fuel.

** The Online Energy Service discount is only available to customers with up to three meters & three registers (ScottishPower and Manweb supply areas), or with a single rate or two rate meter (all other supply areas), and who pay monthly by Direct Debit or quarterly by cash, cheque or Direct Debit. The annual discounts are £5.00 (excl. VAT), £5.25 (incl. VAT) per fuel. These discounts are shown on your bill as daily amounts of 1.369p (excl. VAT), 1.437p (incl. VAT) per fuel.

***Electricity customers who pay their electricity bill quarterly by Direct Debit automatically receive a daily Prompt Payer discount of 4.110p (excl. VAT), 4.316p (incl. VAT).
Gas customers who pay their gas bill quarterly by Direct Debit automatically receive a daily Prompt Payer discount of 4.110p (excl. VAT), 4.316p (incl. VAT). These Prompt Payer discounts are also available to customers who pay quarterly by cash, cheque or postal order if they pay their bills within 14 days of the date of issue shown on the bills. By paying your current bill ‘promptly’ you will see the Prompt Payer discount that you have earned on the next electricity or gas bill that you receive.

Dual Fuel

Low User†

Based on an average ScottishPower Standard Domestic Prices customer with annual mains gas usage of 11,000kWh and annual Standard Rate electricity usage of 2,100kWh, who pays by monthly Direct Debit. Prices effective from 27th February 2012. All figures shown include VAT at the current applicable rate of 5%.

Medium User†

Based on an average ScottishPower Standard Domestic Prices customer with annual mains gas usage of 16,500kWh and annual Standard Rate electricity usage of 3,300kWh, who pays by monthly Direct Debit. Prices effective from 27th February 2012. All figures shown include VAT at the current applicable rate of 5%.

High User†

Based on an average ScottishPower Standard Domestic Prices customer with annual mains gas usage of 23,000kWh and annual Standard Rate electricity usage of 5,100kWh, who pays by monthly Direct Debit. Prices effective from 27th February 2012. All figures shown include VAT at the current applicable rate of 5%.

So it looks like I will get 11,000kWh for my £533.13 – that’s (get the calculator out) 0.04846636363636363636363636363636 per kWhr – just under 5p.

BUT this is the dual fuel price! Further up the quote I see: customers who … qualify for the Gas & Electricity Offer discount will receive annual discounts of £5.00 (excl. VAT), £5.25 (incl. VAT), so I guess I have to add that back – £5 over 11,000 kWhrs is an extra 0.00045454545454545454545454545454545 per kWhr – or a total of 0.04892090909090909090909090909091 per kWhr – still about 5p

I think this is also an online price with another £5.25 (incl. VAT) discount, so I guess I need to add another 0.00045454545454545454545454545454545 per kWhr – or a total of 0.04937545454545454545454545454545 per kWhr – still about 5p. I think.

“Gas customers who pay their gas bill quarterly by Direct Debit automatically receive a daily Prompt Payer discount of 4.110p (excl. VAT), 4.316p (incl. VAT)” I am not sure whether that is built into the above price – but it is of a similar order of magnitude to the other two discounts. But let’s assume I will pay promptly – at least the discount is for prompt payment and not for permitting the company to use direct debit to dip its hand into your bank account. That’s good!

I am still not sure however; it’s been too much of an effort to work out. However at the bottom of the page is another link!

Please refer to the ScottishPower standard domestic prices tariff leaflet for full terms & conditions.

Let’s try it.

ScottishPower Standard Product - Prices Tariff Leaflet

ScottishPower Standard Product – Prices Tariff Leaflet

Oh, B*********!

So as instructed I go to the home page and then look for links “to the information you want”. I should not have been initially distracted by the intrusive menu – I should have scrolled down and I would have found:

ScottishPower HomePage Extract

ScottishPower HomePage Extract

Gas & Electricity prices – Bingo, I’ve found it. Click!

Scroll down the page and I find:

Gas only

We offer a single, simple gas-only price online that’s easy to manage – our Online Energy Standard deal.

View our Gas product

So, let’s click again:

Gas products

We offer a single, simple gas-only price online that’s easy to manage – our Online Energy Standard deal.

ScottishPower Standard Product

ScottishPower Standard Product

We’ve been here before: apparently my gas will cost £749.70 per annum (before/after various discounts that are not entirely clear) BUT NO PRICE PER KILOWATT HOUR!

It’s like me ringing up my petrol station and asking for the price of Diesel.

Fuel Savers Filling Station, how can we be of assistance?

… You want to know our prices?

Well tell me, are you a low medium or high mileage user – then I can advise you of your annual price.

… You want the price per unit!

We don’t give that sort of information.

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