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Deregulation introduction
Analysis of the impact of deregulation
Increased complexity of power bills
Enron tested deregulation ploy in Alberta
Transmission lines will cost us
Utility industry is in shambles
12 years after deregulation in the UK

The utility industry is a shambles

The industry is a shambles.

— Mike Coles, justifiably disgruntled customer of British Gas

2003 02 15

They have had deregulation in the U.K., too.  To put the figures mentioned in the letters shown below into perspective, here are figures for the exchange rates (price of one British Pound in terms of Canadian Dollars):

latest (Feb 14) 2.44651
lowest (Aug 22) 2.36479
highest (Dec 31) 2.54301

The stories shown below are letters written in response to a BBC story "U.K.: Gas and electricity prices hurt" shown at the website of the BBC in about February 2003, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/breakfast/your_comments/ (The link no longer works. A search for an archived file of the web page has not yet produced results.)

GAS [and Electricity] BILLS

Power Gen did the same to us. We thought we were paying monthly for gas and electricity combined. Turns out they haven't billed us for electricity for 18 months

Mike Ross


I changed from hydro electric to Scottish Gas, being GAURANTEED I would pay less per month. 10 months later I was hit with a bill for over 300! I have had to pay this back monthly, at DOUBLE the monthly rate than I had been paying with hydro electric. All this happened when I was unemployed. the extra cost put me on the bread-line.

Kenneth Burnett


I have been paying my British gas bill by direct debit for at least 12 years. I recently received a bill for 2171.41 from another company. On contacting them they told me that indeed I owed this amount and that births gas was no longer my supplier! I was told that since 1994 I had been supplied by 5 different suppliers? (how come?) I have never asked to be changed from British gas they are still taking my money!

Leon Bancroft


I run my own small business, this week I have received my first electricity bill from British Gas in more than two years. It is over 8,500. I could not invoice a customer and expect to get paid for a service provided over two years ago!

Jon Beavan


My difficulty with British Gas was leaving them to go to a new electricity supplier. Over 8 months I tried in excess of 20 times to get them to release info to my new supplier, succeeding finally only when I got Energywatch involved. Regrettably I suspect the new supplier is no better. It has taken me 7 months to get a bill from them. The industry is a shambles.

Mike Cole


It's not just British Gas. I have been waiting 14 months so far for an electricity bill from nPower. I've been phoning monthly and sending e-mail so I have a record. They keep promising action and do nothing.

Mark Morley


I have never had a gas bill from British gas for 10 years until recently when I received a bill for 3000. I am on 76 a week Income Support. I have contacted Energywatch I am wondering whether to take them to court on the 6 year rule.

Barry Shauler, London

Well, the industry is a shambles in Alberta, too.

With respect to collecting for energy consumption for which consumers have not been billed for many years, keep in mind that the utility companies making the collections were paid long ago and all along for such consumption.  Such consumption is classified as unidentified energy.  The costs for that unidentified and unbilled energy are spread over the whole consumer base and were collected within a few months from the time the charges should have been billed.   Collecting for charges for which no bills had previously been issued is double-dipping raised to a fine art.

As of June 2003, there was a list of about 22,000 Alberta consumers (8,000 of them in the Epcor/Aquila service area that never received a bill for their electrical power consumption during the previous two-and-a-half years. —WHS

Posted 2003 06 14