Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Climate Folly

On the one hand we have the global warming alarmists who tell us we are heading for disaster due to carbon emissions. On the other hand we have the climate sceptics who tell us that Man's impact on the climate is relatively minor and that carbon taxation is just another excuse to raise more money and that it will ham the economy.

There are some good and bad points made by both sides and as a result confusion reigns for many. What is certain, however, is that if we do nothing about the fossil fuels we are burning then we are heading for disaster.

The trouble is that we are burning vital and finite natural resources. We will run out of these - or at least get to the point where it costs more in energy to extract these fuels than we get in energy using them.

At the moment we are like the man who fell off the top of the Empire State Building who was heard to say as he passed the fifth floor "Well I've fallen 97 stories and I'm all right so far!"

We have to stop using these resources other than as chemical feedstock. We must put all our effort into developing renewable energy resources and we have to start doing it now! OK we can devote some resources to nuclear energy but the horrendous problems we are passing on to future generations means that we should concentrate on developing nuclear fusion not nuclear fission.

I hear much of people saying "We'll stop burning oil and natural gas in our cars and use electricity instead." Duh! Where do these people think most of our electricity comes from?

So there is a case for cutting carbon emissions and 'going green' is a good idea. Just don't let yourself be fooled by many of the green claims such as 'Save oil by using paper or reusable bags instead of plastic ones' (See the great plastic bag con) and buy white recycled paper (See Don't print this). As to government vehicle scrappage schemes - they are an environmental disaster for a car less than 15 years old.

Friday, April 16, 2010

NPower Still Doesn't Listen!

You could read my previous blogs NPower doesn't listen and Maybe NPower does listen but let me save you a little time and summarise the story so far:
  1. I move to a new address in April 2008 and buy my electricity from Npower, the previous occupant's supplier. I pay my bill by direct debit straight from my bank.
  2. June 2008 I get a bill for a Mr & Mrs D Maylor from NPower. I take it round to my neighbours thinking it might have been delivered wrongly. No-one has ever heard of the Maylors so I return the bill to NPower marked 'Not known at this address'
  3. A week later the bill comes back to me and is returned again.
  4. The 'red bill' arrives for Mr Maylor and this time I phone NPower and explain they are sending the bills to the wrong address. 'I don't understand it' the guy says. 'We've been sending bills to Mr Maylor at that address for the last eight years and they have always been paid!' He assures me NPower will sort it out.
  5. Two months later NPower send disconnection notices to my house - two of them - despite the fact that my bill is being paid every month. They tell me that if I'm not in they will break in, disconnect me for a bill I don't owe and then lock me out of my own house making me travel 60 miles to collect keys. Again I phone them and am assured 'everything will be sorted out.'
  6. Two months later NPower send me a reply to a letter Mr Maylor had written expressing concern that he wasn't being sent bills. I get a letter about my own account telling me I was paying too much and reducing my monthly payments to £42. I phone them and tell them they are wrong and ask them to set the monthly payment to £65. They don't.
  7. Five months later NPower send another bill this time for £1,476.86 threatening legal action if it wasn't paid. This time I write to NPower's retail CEO, Kevin Miles.
  8. A week later NPower send out a meter reader to check the number of my meter. 'At last!' I think, 'They are finally going to get this sorted out.' The next day they send another one.
  9. NPower continue to send Mr Maylor's bills to my address.
  10. August 2009. After getting more letters threatening court action I change electricity suppliers to EDF. I write to customer services telling them exactly why I'm changing suppliers.
  11. NPower tell me that there's a £600 balance owing on my account.
  12. September 2009. NPower customer services contact me and apologise for their errors. They offer me £100 compensation for the repeated failure to sort out why they were sending letters to my address for Mr Maylor and repeated threats to cut off my supply. They offer a further £100 as compensation for ignoring my letters regarding the amount I should pay them each month. They assure me I will NEVER get another bill for Mr Maylor at my address.
So today, on 16th April 2010, I get another letter addressed to Mr & Mrs Maylor / Occupier. Here it is:

So yet again NPower are sending me bills for someone I don't know for an account I don't owe and are threatening to break into my house and disconnect me or fit a prepayment meter. And they don't even supply my electricity!

Back in August I told them I no longer intended to answer their letters, return Mr Maylor's bills or telephone them about their mistakes. The question is should I do that and allow them to embarrass themselves in court or should I telephone them yet again and seek another £100 compensation?

Although I would love to have the day in court I think I'll phone them :)

Update 11 April 2011
Well I haven't heard from NPower for almost a year and I was beginning to think it was all over. Today however, a guy rang my doorbell.

"Mr. Maylor?" he said as I spotted the NPower logo on his sweatshirt.

Update 12 July 2011
Npower woke me up this morning at 8:30am with a meter reader. Funny thing was he couldn't seem to find the meter he wanted - mine had the wrong number.

The most informative politics survey ever!

I just came across an astonishing survey about the UK election campaign. Apparently some genius at the Daily Star decided to ask women aged 20 - 30 which of the three party leaders they would prefer to kiss. Predictably just 3% chose Gordon Brown (left) 14.9% said they would choose to kiss David Cameron (right) and 16.9% chose Nick Clegg (centre).

Now doing a little math that adds up to just 34.8% meaning 65.2% would choose NOT to kiss any of them. Considering that each of them has about as much sex appeal as a home made bar of soap I'm not surprised. It did however make me curious so I did my own survey and offered an alternative choice.

You've guessed it 60% chose to kiss the donkey!

Girl & donkey image by Délirante Bestiole & used under the creative commons licence.

Postscript A Year Later
Remarkably the Daily Star came up with a formula for determining the eventual outcome. Together David and Nick proved much more popular than poor Gordon and as a result formed a coalition government.

I gave some thought to putting up a donkey candidate who would undoubtedly have been a clear winner but in the end decided that I would probably be wasting my money on the basis that parliament has enough donkeys there already.

Is our new parliament any better? Not a jot, still the same old braying. Of course there is a logical solution to the country's woes