Classicamiga Forum Retro Edition
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Thread: Money pinching B******s
Buleste 09:17 3rd June 2010
I know times are hard for businesses but I've just received an email from British Gas asking us to send them our meter readings so that they don't send us an estimated bill. The penny pinching bastards are obviously trying to get customers to do the meter reading so that they don't have to pay someone to do it. I wouldn't mind but they already overcharge us on direct debits so that our account is ridiculously in credit. Next thing you know they'll be wanting to stick some form of capture system on our butts to catch the gas and charge us for the privilege!!!
Harrison 10:24 3rd June 2010
Are you sure you didn't miss the meter reading? They do that when no one is home, and ask you to read the meter and send them the readings instead.
Stephen Coates 10:28 3rd June 2010
We get our gas and electricity from E.ON. When we first moved in, they estimated the gas reading, but came and read the electricity reading. (Both meters are outside, so they could have read both).

The only problem with that was, because we replaced the previous owners 25 year old central heating system with a brand new one, we used much less gas, so had to keep amending the figures. They get it more or less right now.

So do they end up charging you too much on the Direct Debit? I don't really know how that would work because I pay the gas and electricity bill by either cash or cheque at the bank.
Harrison 11:16 3rd June 2010
If they over charge the direct debits then your account is in credit and they end up owing you money. With the provider of both utilities being the same it can be possible to ask them to shift credit from one side to pay any difference from the other.

And there is also the issue of less gas used in the summer, so bills will be smaller in the summer, but any credit left on the account might help for the larger winter bills.
Buleste 12:57 3rd June 2010
No ones been around to read the meter and that's what pisses me off. If they had been round then they would've been able to read the electricity meter as it's outside and usually they leave a note. However the email from British Gas asked for both. Lazy penyy pinching git's.

@Steve With direct debit they quote you a figure on how much to pay each month supposedly based on you past usage levels. In summer you always end up in credit which you usually put towards the winter bills. However this year our gas and electricity usage was lower than previous years so the account is hugely in credit. Because of this they've reduced the monthly payments by a whole 10.00 whilst still leaving all that money to earn them interest which they are not using to pay people to read meters.
Stephen Coates 13:24 3rd June 2010
So you just pay them a fixed amount of money at fixed intervals? I'd have thought it would be best to have them just take the amount that you owe them.

I certainly wouldn't pay them more than I owe.
Teho 14:11 3rd June 2010
Reading it yourself is a problem? This has been the standard practise here in Norway for as long as I can remember! Ages ago it used to be a small slip they sent you which you wrote the amount on and posted in, postage pre-paid. Then a service came where you could just phone it in, keyeing in the amount to some automated service. But for the past ten years or so, I can't be overestimating it by much, I've just been able to log on to my account at their website and enter it there. I get an e-mail reminder every now and then with a direct link in it. Takes only a minute. I am really surprised to learn this isn't the standard practise everywhere, having a guy come round to check sounds like a really archaic and backwards method to me.

Edit: This is for electricity mind, we don't have gas here at all.
Stephen Coates 15:16 3rd June 2010
It seems quite normal to haver your meter read for you. If the meter is inside and you are not in, they usually leave you a card which you can then stick in your window for someone to read. Or that's what they used to do.

When they estimated our gas usage, we just telephoned them and told them the correct number.
Harrison 21:31 3rd June 2010
We can enter the readings via websites too. However, the companies still like to send someone around to check it for themselves as customers could be entering any old numbers and using more than they are paying for.
Teho 13:09 4th June 2010
Oh, it's all good then. Sounded a little stuck in the stone age to me for a minute there.

Of course there are systems in place that alerts the company to consumers entering odd values, and that gets followed up on. But I think the average guy is pretty honest about it. I don't hear about people who enter false numbers at least. I hear about people who rig up lines that go round the meter, but that's different right?
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