It seems that linking the Leader of the Peterborough City Council Cllr Marco Cereste with anything that has 'energy' or 'saving money' in the title is a bellweather for a damp squib, empty pockets, Freemans duff solar panel schemes, or a good old fashioned "brown out."
In an amusing but bad tempered interview on Paul Staintons BBC Cambs Bigger Breakfast this morning Monday April 8th (its already a hit on the BBC i-player). Cllr Cereste was clearly on the back foot, and blustered his way through, making some seemingly outrageous claims in the process. Probably just doesn't like Mondays? Who knows?
We should add that in view of Twitter response, Paul Stainton was not at all the bad-tempered party, but just professionally asking cogent questions, we all want answered. Listen for yourself click on the BBC i-player link above). He did however suggest 'pensioners' should be drafted in as roadside litterpickers, having misread the word for 'prisoners' in a listeners e-mail suggestion. Susie Roberts is still recovering having 'repeatedly corpsed' and earned herself a place on the next Christmas Blooper tape. Stainton is now to be regarded for at least a week as the 'Zimmermeister'
The Peterborough City Council heavily promoted (and paid for website design [by Speed], puffs in Yawn Peterborough) in aid of a Ready to Switch Energy reverse auction, run not by the PCC but by Ichooser, an outfit mainly based in Amsterdam, with a small office in Maddox Street, Soho London, but claiming that it was a council run scheme. The leaflet stated "Do it through the council's dedicated energy cost reduction scheme, save up to £200 on energy bills." No mention of the old windmills of Amsterdam, or of the onerous terms and conditions Peterborough residents would be expected to agree and sign.
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To actually physically read the terms and conditions required downloading PDF documents. The PBOROTrib has extracted the most telling part for you:
Definitions and Interpretations used in these General ConditionsReferences to "we" or "us" means iChoosr Ltd., a private limited liability company established at 1st Floor, 16 Maddox Street, London, W1S 1PH, Companies House number 8241539.or this little energy saving lightbulb moment:
If you are in any doubt as to the suitability, adequacy or appropriateness of any product or service referred to on this Site, we suggest that you seek independent professional advice before you enter into a direct contract with an energy supplier.In total, just 1,787 Peterborough households signed up hoping to save on their gas and electricity bills. Across the entire scheme, which was run in tandem with 12 other councils, there were exactly 21,000 people who registered. An auction with energy providers took place on Tuesday 29 January where the Ready to Switch? scheme was combined with a similar scheme being run by 13 councils in Greater Manchester with over 56,000 households seeking savings on their energy bills.
A total of three energy suppliers won contracts, Scottish Power (currently being investigated for doorstep selling by OFGEM) was one of them :
Scottish Power will be offering to supply all dual fuel (electricity and gas) customers. Those paying an online monthly direct debit will save on average £149 a year, paper billing customers will see an average yearly saving of £78 and for prepayment dual fuel customers they will save an average of £54Meanwhile the Reuters news agency reported:
Utility SSE has been fined 10.5 million pounds for mis-selling, the largest fine the regulator has ever imposed on an energy supplier.
Ofgem said on Wednesday it had found failures relating to telephone, in-store and doorstep sales at SSE "at every stage of the process", including at management level.
"The level of fine reflects the seriousness and duration of breaches, the likely substantial harm that they have caused and the likely gain to SSE," it added.
The fine is a sign that the government and regulator are taking more aggressive action against energy companies that are found to have misled customers, adding to already high retail energy prices.
Ofgem said SSE - which provides gas, electricity, phone and broadband for households - had made misleading and inaccurate statements to customers in order to make a sale.
Examples it gave included telling customers they would save money but switching them to a more expensive contract and telling them competitor price increases were higher than they actually were.
Newly appointed Energy Minister Michael Fallon said that he had "rarely seen a worse case of consumers being misled so badly."
Although SSE's management had not wilfully breached licence conditions, Ofgem said that the board paid insufficient attention to compliance and it was not a high priority for it.
"SSE is deeply regretful that breaches occurred and apologises unreservedly to any customers who have been affected by sales activity which ran counter to the values and culture of the company," SSE said.
It said it had already taken action to remedy the issues raised, including stopping doorstep selling, bringing telesales in-house, and training and restructuring.
SSE has already been fined 1.25 million pounds for doorstep mis-selling by the courts. It has earmarked 5 million pounds to reimburse customers who felt they have been misled.
It has paid out around 400,000 pounds of this so far.
Energy Minister Fallon, who replaced John Hayes last week, said that the government's planned Energy Bill would give Ofgem the teeth it needed in future to get compensation to those directly affected.
"We're using new legislation to require suppliers to simplify their tariffs and get rid of historic poor deals," he said.
End-user lobby group Consumer Focus warned that SSE was not the only energy company that had broken rules.
"This is not a case of one bad apple or one rogue sales team. Other companies have also broken direct selling," Consumer Focus said in a statement.
"While the situation has got better...the recent history casts a long shadow and Ofgem are right to take this scale of action," the group added. The regulator has also launched investigations into selling practices by SSE, EDF, RWE's npower and Ibedrola's Scottish Power in 2010, and by E.ON in 2012. Last year, EDF paid out 4.5 million pounds to help vulnerable consumers after Ofgem found it had breached some licence conditions in its sales and marketing. The investigations into npower and Scottish Power are ongoing.But back to the binding contractual Terms and Conditions:
Definitions and Interpretations used in these General Conditions
References to "we" or "us" means iChoosr Ltd., a private limited liability company established at 1st Floor, 16 Maddox Street, [Soho], London, W1S 1PH, Companies House number 8241539.
You should always check the suitability, adequacy and appropriateness of the product or service that is of interest to you and it is your sole decision whether to obtain or refrain from obtaining any product or service. If you are in any doubt as to the suitability, adequacy or appropriateness of any product or service referred to on this Site, we suggest that you seek independent professional advice before you enter into a direct contract with an energy supplier.But for those still seeking a realistic deal on their energy prices Martin Lewis, the money saving expert has put together a helpful package which can be found on http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/cheapenergyclub Tell us how you get on .....
POLICE 101, Emergency 999, Crimestoppers 0800 555 111, PBOROtrib NEWSDESK 01733 345581, E&OE
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