Friday, 7 August 2009

Utilities, Expenses & Scams

This morning a young lady Community Police Officer called on me to discuss safety issues, so I invited her in, having first established she was genuine. Several matters came up and I mentioned my recent interview with ITN regarding British Gas Prices.

She told me that her Grandmother had been very upset over British Gas prices including termination fees. I had never heard of penalties being applied for termination with them. So it seems that if you wish to change your supplier, you should be aware of unforeseen charges.

I rang British Gas and although the advice was a bit more reassuring, there is indeed a cancellation fee for certain tariffs.

These are:- Fixed price Tariff: £70 for gas
................. ...... ......... £30 for electricity.

Price Protection Tariff : these vary between £30 - £45

These are for year 2010 since there is only the December quarter left for 2009 and there is no cancellation fee.

Track and save Tariff for 2010: the cancellation fee is £30 each for Gas or electricity


We are being advised by the Police and other agencies to be very careful before letting anyone in. It is NOT GOOD ENOUGH that they flash an identity tag or badge at you since they could manufacture or get these anywhere.

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO IS TO TELEPHONE YOUR GAS OR ELECTRICITY SUPPLIER and arrange a security word which is specific to you and which you can easily remember. Any caller from the utility concerned must then be able to tell you that word before you let him in.

The utility companies are very helpful in this respect and will happily make this arrangement for you.


At present in the London Borough of Havering we have a scam going on. One of our members happened to be with an elderly friend when there was a knock on the door and these two chaps said they were from the Water Board and practically pushed their way in. It was fortunate that my friend was in the house as she was able to challenge their claim that they were from the Water Board. She told them her son was a builder and had done plumbing and there was no way the Board would check in the way in which they were behaving. One tried to keep her talking while the other tried to get upstairs. It didn't work and they soon cleared off. There was coincidently some building work going on further up the road and it seemed they were trying to use that fact in order to convince the householder of their genuineness. One wonders what would have happened if my friend had not been there. As it was they must have been shocked and dismayed to find the proposed victim had company. I was told that one was Irish and the other had a middle European accent.

So friends be warned.

By the way the nice young lady Community Policeman wanted to take details from me which in the normal way I would have been quite happy to divulge but on my asking, she confirmed my details would go on a computer. Well, no way. Once on a computer it is very hard for you to get them taken off. So do ask what will happen to any information provided. It is quite likely all of us have our details on computers already but I see no reason for us to submit our private information to anyone, even if they are a Community Police Officers.

Be warned.