Saturday, May 17, 2014

The active citizen

Thames Water 

It's all too easy to step back from the people we live amongst and to take what big organisations do to us
They arrive at a different figure to me.
without engaging.
When I get a letter from the utilities I tend to give it little more than a cursory glance but I did notice when Thames Water wrote telling me that they'd be revising my payment plan - okay I thought fairly routine.
Looking at it more closely I saw that the payments would double - this didn't seem right so I emailed asking why the big change?

The first reply was to the effect that with the current plan I'd underpaid last year (by about £2 per month) and stating what they based the new payment plan on - I pointed out that I thought this was too high if the increase was 4.1% and that I was a metered customer they have subsequently come back with a new plan but this is still at 50% higher than 2013/14  payments still excessive - I hope that they are able to provide a more realistic monthly plan.

To be fair to Thames Water they have responded to my questions quite promptly but they have not explained how their figures were arrived at or indicated that thwey might have made a mistake with thewir estimate.

I realise from talking with other people that Thames Water are doing similar things to other users, they are a monopoly and I am not sure their behaviour is as it should be. Please do keep an eye on your bills and if something does not look right query it, people living alone without meters should see if lower tariffs apply.

Local and EU elections

Democracy as we experience it is not perfect but at times of an election you might get answers from those standing to be MP, Councillor or MEP.

In London as well as the EU vote we are selecting councillors and here at our home in Ealing we have had visits and paper leaflets on policies and plans from the various parties.

My fear is that the only real proposal from those standing is to hold down costs - I think that the council
We're not all Tories
needs to be more ambitious (The current Council is Labour controlled).

I have taken the opportunity to ask the Conservatives, Lib-Dems and Labour about two local issues, they are:

Do they /how would they support OPEN Ealing (a local arts organisation) ?
Why does Ealing not have a Citizens's Advice Bureau? (unlike most London Boroughs Ealing does not seem to support the CAB).

I am happy to say I have so far at least had interest from the Conservatives, I  hope for responses from the other parties and might also ask UKIP and The Green Party.

When I get answers form others I will let you know what they say.

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