Tuesday, 20 September 2011
I rarely talk about politics but a piece on the radio this morning filled me with dismay. The energy secretary plans to make it easier for people to switch power supplies.
This can only mean even more idiots phoning up. We have already made several attempts to register with the system that is supposed to stop cold calling. As far as I can tell this has made no difference at all.
"You get your electricity from ... (Insert the name of one of the big six here)."
Repeat of the question with caller gradually changing tone of voice to “Oh no, I'm dealing with an idiot” mode.
Eventually I say that we use a company called Good Energy, a supplier of 100% green energy. If you've ever been to North Cornwall, they run those massive windmills near Delabole. By now, if these tariff switching cold callers had any sense, they would be getting off the line. They ought to have realized that they are dealing with a customer who has gone to the trouble of getting their electricity from a company that they have never heard of who run windmills. Warning bells ought to be ringing.
Sadly, they always press on with their pre-rehearsed chat about prices. By now they ought to have tumbled to the notion that I have the Internet skills to be able to compare prices, after all I have managed to find and contract with a company with a rather singular profile. A few clicks of a mouse could get them to Good Energy's web site and they'd be much wiser. They ought to realize that I don't care about the price; I care more about the environment.
Then it gets worse, they start offering me a better price if I have my gas and electricity from the same supplier.
'Oh great I say, how long will it take?'
'Just a few days.'
'Good heavens, that fast to lay two miles of pipeline.'
Once again, I hear the doubt creeping into their voice as they fall into the next trap. We don't have gas because the pipeline doesn't come within two miles of us. You would think it would be simple to mark out those post codes where there are no gas pipes and tell the call centres to lay off. Sadly, they are not that intelligent, or their bosses aren't.
I wonder if the energy secretary even knows that there is no gas in some parts of the UK. We don't have mains sewers either, but at least the water company gives us a discount for that and we run our own treatment plant. Before you start feeling sorry for me in my splendid rural isolation, I should say that we do have piped water; good broadband, and we can get pizza delivered.
I don't really mind the energy secretary trying to keep prices down, but could he do something to make the call centres less stupid; and while he's at it perhaps point out that old farmhouses built before 1850 don't tend to have cavity walls either. That sort of data must be available from planning offices; so another bunch of cold callers could phoning up and offering to foam fill the cavity walls that we don’t have.
For me the big benefit of ditching all these telephone salespeople would be that I could get on with some proper writing instead of bending my mind to imagining scripts in which I am so rude to them that they never call again.