There’s an interesting poll on Slashdot that asks what people are paying for their electricity per kWh(kilo-watt hour). There seems to be a wide latitude of energy prices across North America and that contrasts starkly with the sort of cartel-a-like prices we seem to pay in the UK though it’s not an entirely accurate picture as many in North America are charged generation, transmission and distribution prices in addition to the given per kWh price (I assume that’s similar to the standing charge that many UK energy providers employ).
I was interested to see how common lower priced first tier pricing for the first x number of kWhs is rather than the insane reverse situation that occurs in the UK where the first x number of kWhs are often charged at a higher rate thus low consumption is penalised because that majority of a low energy use bill would be charged at the first tier higher rate. In the UK some are literally charged a premium for their frugality or energy efficiency.
Also common in North America it seems is being charged a higher rate in the winter compared to the summer which hasn’t been used as yet in the UK.
Again more common in North America is house rental where the energy bills are included as part of the rent and in some cases even an agreed fixed monthly charge for business users. The former situation is not unknown in the UK but is quite rare. The latter situation re a businesses fixed energy fee I have to say I’ve never come across in the UK.
The only way I can see that UK electricity users can ensure lowest rates for their usage is to consume the majority of their electricity during the cheaper economy 7 night rate (assuming you have that tariff) which basically means living or working more in the night hours. Great if you don’t mind living in the night hours or can automate your heating, cooking, washing etc to occur during these off peak periods.
The Slashdot poll perhaps highlights the lack of competition in the UK energy market and probably too the degree to which we are not self sufficient in its generation.
Will this ever change?