An Energy Supply Company is by definition a Public Utility Company (PUC) and must be seen differently from a private business such as a food supermarket like TESCO, SAINSBURY'S, ASDA etc. The most noteworthy and typical strategy of all the big PUCs is that in order to further artificially boost their profits in a cunningly ambiguous manner they follow most improper, irregular, immoral, unethical, deceptive and illegal private procedures of their own making, which have no real validity or acceptability as procedures. The RULES that they have made with the sole intention to exploit the consumer public are freely being used, but as such those so-called RULES are fundamentally void and ILLEGAL. By using such rules the PUCs are continuously exploiting the most vulnerable, weaker working class consumer up and down the country without distinction.
The high earners are also in it but they can afford to pay their bills so they don't care. But it is hurting the OAPs and other moderate earners with limited resources. Every Gas & Electricity consumer in the country knows they are paying the high energy bills through their noses, is an experienced reality. This game is being played by the energy supplier companies by Unilateral Switching of a consumer's tariff rate contract after its end from a lower tariff to an extremely higher tariff, with unduly high standing charges etc to rob the energy consumer and this is done WITHOUT the customer's AGREEMENT or consent.
As a result of this un-agreed Tariff Switching by the Energy Supplier, it artificially and unlawfully increasing the bill by some £956.16 or so over a short period. This happens to every Gas & Elec consumer after the first agreed tariff comes to an end over some 12/18 months. Whether the OAPs Pensioners and others understand it or not, but it is happening every day and the weaker and the most vulnerable groups who have worked hard all their lives and have paid full taxes are badly suffering from its burden. They need justice and a fair play. Not only this the Energy Supply companies are also able to collect the increased billing sums by direct debit from the customers' bank account as the customer was already paying on direct debit terms when the account commenced. The customer is required by the company to pay by Direct Debit at the start of account.
Each tariff contract for Gas & Electricity supply through an energy supplier company is a legal contract over a period of time say 12/18 months or so. After this period, if a person, an OAP etc who do not understand the tactics that will be followed by the Energy Supplier, the customer will be automatically taken for a ride and placed on a very high tariff without his agreement. If there is not enough money in his bank, he will be billed and threatened with legal action and ultimately taken to court for non-payment of his bills? The weaker and vulnerable groups are being hurt and need your help and support to get justice. This protest should be seen as a General Public Interest Petition, not for an individual but for every Gas & Elec user in the nation will benefit if the proper rules are followed by the PUCs.
After the end of each tariff contract, the Energy Supplier (some 8-9 big companies) has no legal authority to Arbitrarily switch a customer's tariff rates contract from a lower one to an expensive one by using their own authority and then abusing the direct debit mandate and collecting the so increased rates directly from a customer's bank account. It is an abuse of authority and it is illegal because it is being done without the customer's permission or agreement and thus more and improperly increased money is being withdrawn from a customer's account. It hurts the customer when his bank account is overdrawn in such a fashion for which he was never prepared.
It is estimated that there are about 15 million people such as OAPs, others in Plumbing, Building Work, Painting, Carpentry, etc who do not have either enough knowledge, resources or time to solve such problems. They protest to the energy suppliers and get stereotype responses but no solution or refunds of the money overcharged to their account. This petition must be seen in the General Public Interests. What is happening is quite clearly contrary to the Fundamental Principles of Natural Justice, absolutely undemocratic and an open exploitation of energy consumers in a fashion which is clearly a breach of Consumer Rights as well as Fundamental Human Rights by the big corporate bodies. It is mainly hurting the weak and vulnerable working class people. They are suffering, protesting yet continue to be openly exploited under the pretext of procedures, which are actually invalid on an industrywide basis.
Just to cite an example of a real case, I can reproduce a few lines from the actual response which I received from my Energy Supplier:
"I CAN CONFIRM THAT IF THE CRYSTAL RATES WERE STILL IN EFFECT UP UNTIL YOUR LATEST BILL THE CHARGES ................TO THIS BILL WOULD BE £1327.97, WHEREAS WITH THE CHANGING RATES DURING THIS PERIOD EQUATE TO £2284.13 - A DIFFERENCE OF £956.16".
It is important to note that the energy supplier has accepted in writing (as shown above) that by changing or switching the Tariff Rates to a higher Tariff during that period the bill has been increased by £956.16. It is also important to note that the said change/switching of tariff rates was done quite arbitrarily and without my permission, agreement or consent in any way. It is an open exploitation and I am not alone facing this problem, there are many others such as OAPs, etc as shown above.
THE SOLUTION: The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) should make Explicit Rules for all Energy Suppliers directing that:
"ENERGY SUPPLIERS CANNOT ARBITRARILY CHANGE THE TARIFF RATES OF ENERGY SUPPLY CONTRACT OF ANY CUSTOMER WITHOUT HIS/ HER WRITTEN AGREEMENT ON EACH OCCASION. IF AN ENERGY RATE CONTRACT HAS COME TO AN END AFTER A PERIOD OF TIME, THE CUSTOMER CAN SIGN A NEW RATE CONTRACT AT AN AGREED PRICE THE SAME COMPANY OR LEAVE AND GO TO ANOTHER COMPANY IF HE GETS A BETTER RATE THAT SUITS HIM". THERE SHOULD BE NO EXIT CHARGES IF A CUSTOMER WANTS TO LEAVE A COMPANY FOR WHATEVER REASONS.
As the above proposals will benefit a substantial number of people as explained above, the above new Rules in an official format should be introduced as soon as possible after a proper evaluation of my proposals. The Rules should be backdated to at least 5 years from now. Energy suppliers must refund any sums of money collected from the energy consumers in such an illegal fashion. Finally, this is a General Public Interest Petition and requests your support. I will fully cooperate with the Department of BEIS when the inquiry proceeds.
8 Grasmere Avenue, LONDON SW19 3DX