Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Gas Up Again!

Gas prices have been in the news for the last few months. Wholesale gas prices have risen sharply, as a result of them being unfairly pegged to the price of oil, and by underhand practices on the part of European and Russian operators. We are at the end of a very long supply pipeline that stretches all the way to Uzebekistan, with each nation taking their cut as the gas passes through. As a result, our domestic suppliers have almost all been forced to put up their prices accordingly.

Some companies have devised cunning schemes to mask the true price of their gas from the consumers, and British Gas and Powergen have come up with "price freezing" tarrifs, that are solely intended to extract extra cash up front from the gullible.

Utilities that are offerng both gas and electric have realised that they can make far more profit by selling the electricity rather than the gas alone - and so you will see the dual fuel tarrifs that put the profit bias on the electricity in order to offset the loss that they are making on the gas.

If you are still paying your bills quarterly, then you are paying a hefty premium for the priviledge - definitely time to switch to monthly direct debit and spread the cost over the whole year.

So in a nutshell, all domestic energy prices going up, and you are lucky to have got to April without being further stung by the massive price hikes that they have planned for later in the year. You ain't seen nothing yet!

I check the Energy Helpline site, http://www.energyhelpline.com/mhl/news.aspx?tiid=131&p=1 to see how domestic energy prices are rising.

Last week, Scottish and Southern announced a 9% to 16% rise on their domestic tariffs, with effect from 1st May.

This will take my annual bills up from £714, to £796, almost a 12% rise, or £82 per year.

With the £82 that Southern want to charge me, I could go out and buy 200 litres of new vegetable oil from Tescos and with the Lister generator set, use this to supplement by gas and electricity bills next winter.

200 litres of veg oil will provide 450 units of electricity, enough for 6 weeks consumption - worth £36 (at 8p/KWh) and 1200kWh of heat worth £36 (at 3p kWh)

So as you can see, the gap between homebrew heat and power, and paying the robbing utilities is starting to close rapidly.