How Yorkshire Got An Electric Shock

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Indy Lifestyle Online
COMPARING PRICES among different electricity suppliers is going to be a nightmare process - as figures from the the Office of Electricity Regulation (Offer) illustrate.

The rate that you pay will depend on factors such as the time of day when you use most power, the method that you use for payment and how promptly you pay your bills. It is this final factor which Yorkshire Electricity claims has confused the regulator.

In figures released earlier this week, Offer says that customers in the Motherwell area paying by quarterly credit would save pounds 3 a year on their bills if they switched to Eastern Energy. But, according to Offer, the same customers would pay pounds 10 a year more if they switched to Yorkshire Electricity instead.

Yorkshire Electricity claims that this is unfair, saying the Eastern figure includes a prompt payment discount while its own does not. The true prompt-payment difference between the two companies, Yorkshire says, is not pounds 13 but just pounds 5. "It's pretty confusing and it makes us look bad," says a Yorkshire spokesman.

Offer's Ian Bickley says the organisation has to rely on information provided by electricity suppliers when preparing its own tables and that he is satisfied its tables are as accurate as it is possible to make them. Yorkshire Electricity's objection does not affect The Independent's table, which shows direct debit payments rather than quarterly credit ones.

It does raise one very pertinent question, however; if Offer and the country's leading electricity suppliers cannot produce an agreed like- for-like comparison between two rival companies' prices, how on earth is the poor bloody customer supposed to manage it?