British Gas prove their electricity is cheapest, don't explain how
We're probably the only folk in the country who bother to click on ad banners. After all, gems like SugarDaddyForMe don't find themselves, now do they? So when we saw a banner from British Gas proclaiming CHEAPER ELECTRICITY PRICES ACROSS BRITAIN, the thought of saving our hard earn pennies was too much to resist.
What you'll find is a map of our fair isle to click on; highlighting each brings up a very simple bar graph, which proves that British Gas is, on average, the cheapest supplier of electricity no matter where you live:
It's a powerful message, especially since it's all too obvious with a single click of the mouse. By comparison to the British Gas prices, the competitors are absurdly expensive, and never once cheaper. There's some small print provided for the comparisons:
*Bills based on average annual single rate consumption of 3,300 kWh, paying by Monthly Direct Debit, including VAT. Standard prices as at 7th May 2009
So what happens if you plugging the same consumption figure into calculators for other suppliers? Not surprisingly, the results are as different as chalk and cheese, as unrelated as Chichester and Copenhagen:
According to nPower, they can provide the same amount of electricity to a Norwich postcode for £67 less than the figure British Gas says they can. Meanwhile over at Scottish Power:
An instant quote from their website gives an estimated cost of £405, £10 than the claim by British Gas.
While it's possible there's been a seismic shift in tariffs in the past four weeks, we're not aware of any. So there are two points to this, both concerning the presentation of the information. British Gas provide a simplistic and visual way of demonstrating a price difference. Beyond the annual consumption and some basic housekeeping, there's no other detail that might make a significant difference, such as which tariffs were compared.
Also the prices quoted by British Gas are averages - that means you can easily see the average price of electricity in your region, but that the actual cost to you might miss that number by a country mile. The ease with which the information is displayed leads you to believe that in all circumstances, wherever you live, British Gas is cheaper, and that might be so. Yet some basic comparisons, as deliberately quick and simple to emulate the process by which British Gas displays the information, suggests somebody's figures are wide off the mark.
The point, which is already etched into the bark of common sense (along with "never punch a bear in the mouth" and "illicit affairs are always best roughly five seconds before climax") is that if you want to know what you can save on your fuel bill, don't ask the suppliers. There are plenty of comparison sites that'll do the maths for you.