Thursday, 22 November 2012

# 123 The Price Of Energy

We all complain about the price of utilities getting out of hand. And just today I've had a letter from Virgin telling me my monthly bill is going up next year by £2.34 a month. That they didn't give me any indication as to why when I'm pretty sure my service quality hasn't improved makes me wonder just a little bit what it's for.

So I did a study and looked at my bills for this time last year. I'm always complaining about household expenses going up but what was I actually paying this time last year and do I have the right to moan about it?

Well yes and no. Surprisingly, the one bill which has gone down is my gas and electricity which I get from British Gas. Over all this has gone down by £15 a month over 12 months. Ironically it's the one bill I seem to have control over. If the gas is too expensive the heating thermostat goes down or sometimes gets turned off altogether. And I always have the opportunity to change my tariff which has helped a lot.

Virgin has gone up almost £4 and water the same but the Council Tax hasn't changed. These are all bills I don't have any control over since Virgin is our only supplier as is our water company - Anglian Water.

Over all, my utility bills have gone down £8 over the year which is a welcome surprise. It's not a huge amount, but I wasn't expecting it.

Food bills may be a different issue. I was trying to stick to my pre summer student budget but I've checked my bills and I'm definitely spending a lot more. A non regular income really cramps your social life and I've opted for entertaining at home and working lunches to keep me from going stir crazy. Some things have definitely gone up but it pays to shop around and avoid branded products. Anything that goes up in value that I can't justify simply doesn't get bought. That and a fairly limited diet keeps costs reined in although at what long term sacrifice I'm not sure.

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