Utility companies again

A chap knocked on the door the other day asking to read by meter for British Gas - I declined as I was working upstairs and had lots of heavy stuff in front of the cupboard with the meter in which I’d have struggled to move quickly.

Months ago I had a ‘reminder’ from British Gas having never received a bill. I used to get email reminders/bills but looking back these stopped after November. I was unable to access my online account as it did not recognise my email address. Spent ages in Feb trying to talk to someone, eventually got through and was told it was a ‘back end’ issue they could not fix but would escalate to someone who could - never happened.

Tried again today as they needed a reading, 30 minutes on the phone only to be told the email address is correct on the account, they were unable to update to a different email and avised me to use ‘chat’ on the website - automated ‘Cosmo’ connected me to an agent who promptly disappeared. Next attempt more successful, managed to chat to someone who started with the usual clear your cache, try a differnt device, so explained this should have been fixed months ago. They are trying to escalate but it may take a few days.

What a poor company they seem to be.

Next SSE, a call the other day when working to arrange a Smart meter - ‘no thanks I replied not interested, plus I’m working right now’. ‘Can I call you back?’, ‘No thanks’. ‘I can call you at a convenient time…’, ‘No, I don’t want a smart meter, they are not compuslory’.

Today an unsolicited text from SSE asking for a meter reading, I normally ignore these texts as they go to unknown senders. Gave in, went to the website link, added the meter reading - ERROR, this account cannot be found.

Next tried the SSE phone meterline - tried twice, but no, ‘this account cannot be found’. Transferred to somewhere overseas. ‘You are calling to give me a meter reading?’, ‘Yes I am’, ‘You can do it online if you want to…’, ‘Can’t I simply give you the meter reading?’, ‘oh, ok if you like’.

She took the meter reading, then it was ‘We are installing smart meters, when can I book you in?’, ‘No thank you, I told you the other day I don’t want one…’.

At this point was told by Mrs AC I sounded rather shirty. Time to put these bills in her name maybe.

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Rant over.

So any recommendations for good companies with decent support structures who actually listen?

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AC, sorry to hear your experience, but I’m not sure this has much to do with streaming. I’ll move it into the Padded Cell, which is probably more appropriate.


Oops, thought I was actually in the Padded Cell already.

It’s clealry affected my concentration!

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I’ve been happy with Shell Energy for several years, but to be honest until now I have only called Customer service once to sort out my Mother In Laws account after she died, and they were brilliant, but then the people that deal with these issues always are.

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I use a bulk-purchase broker called Ichoosr. Basically you register, tell them your provider, tariff and consumption and then periodically they aggregate all those who have registered, have an auction and come back to you with a no obligation quote. If you accept it they then progress the transfer.

I’ve used them for several years now having first come across them in the local freebie paper when it was being backed by the council. I’ve never had any problems and over the years the process has got quicker and simpler. I’m currently with SO Energy and waiting on the results of the next auction. Usually the offer is competitive with the cheapest offer from the better established providers. Companies like SO and First (bought out by Shell now I think) often don’t have the problematic legacy systems of the likes of BG, Scottish Power, SSE. A couple of years ago they came back with an offer from EON who were my current provider but which was cheaper than their best offer to me as an individual. There was no bar to my transfer.

Like all these things, most accounts tick along trouble free but if something goes wrong then it’s an ordeal to sort it out. I used to work in support for a water company and most people’s account history could be listed on one screen. Then you would get one where there was 3 screens worth in the last couple of weeks.

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Not heard of them before. Thanks for posting that.

I’m utterly useless at switching utilities/mobile companies etc, as many are, same for banks.

Trying to remmber the name of a company who compare tariffs on your behalf and automatically switch you.

Was considering Bulb a while back but prices not longer seem so favourable.

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That’s correct, First Utility who sold mostly Coal generated energy, is now Shell Energy which is green.

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Ovo and Octopus for me over last few years. Piece of proverbial and no issues.


Still waiting for the money SSE owe me, switched from them owing to the appalling waiting times .

Now with Scottish Power who also want install a Smart Meter , every time I follow the link it says ‘‘address not found’’ . Anyway they then send me a letter with a phone number, a Scottish voice answers , telling me they have put the wrong phone number .

Oh yarbles, methinks

I used You Switch, you need details of last bill

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There’s a few of these switch companies aren’t there, there’s another that manages things automatically when they find better tariffs. It was in the news some weeks ago I think (maybe floated).

I’m quite happy with Bulb. If anyone wants to switch if I recommend you we both get some cash.

We have Bulb too. Very easy to use, with virtually everything done via their app. Our smart meter initially conked out but is now rebooted and working ok. All their electricity is from renewable sources, rather than fossil fuels with a certificate that says it’s green when it isn’t.

I recall you mentioning Bulb before HH, when I looked before prices weren vrey favourable vs SSE but I hesitated, now prices are not as good for me unfortunately.

Too many subscriptions or utility contracts I need to tweak for better value to be honest, too many external distractions in recent years.

I’m happy to pay a bit more to get energy from renewable sources. They are certainly easy to use and the app is very good.


A good point, I’m happy to pay more in other areas such as my ISP for better service.

I would recommend getting a smart meter, saves you having to log on to give readings or either letting someone in the house or going out in the rain to read your meter. The whole process for both meters took 20 mins.


Fully agree. The remote meter you get is also useful for the 1st week to see how much energy you are using. I found it particularly useful to see what the usage is at night when house is at rest, i.e. just things like fridge/freezer/Naim/etc plugged in. In my case it vary from 220-350Watts.

After about a week, you get fed up with the meter.

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Just switching to Out Fox the Market. My daughter has been happy with them for two years. Good prices, the don’t give perks for referrals, don’t use the likes of uSwitch, one tariff for everyone, no fixed term contracts.


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