Author Topic: Utilities  (Read 745 times)

Utilities
« on: April 11, 2019, 01:21:17 pm »
So, which utilities does everybody rate? We are starting from scratch so need everything. Gas, electric, phone, internet.

Thank you!
Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Utilities
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2019, 01:30:05 pm »
https://robinhoodenergy.co.uk/ For electricity and gas.
https://www.aa.net.uk/ For intertubes.
https://www.sipgate.co.uk/ For 'landline' phone.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Utilities
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2019, 01:46:07 pm »
I'd second Robin Hood for 'leccy and gas.
Interwebs I'd say Plusnet, (A&A are better, but likely more spendy like-for like, and Plusnet are good enough) and we have landline phone with them too.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Utilities
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2019, 02:29:20 pm »
Interwebs I'd say Plusnet, (A&A are better, but likely more spendy like-for like, and Plusnet are good enough) and we have landline phone with them too.

Yes, you get what you pay for.  Zen or Plusnet are probably a safe bet.  Avoid the likes of BT retail, TalkTalk, $ky, unless you expect nothing to ever go wrong.

If cable is available, Virgin Media is probably the winning option.

Chances are that you'll get the best deal on phone as part of a bundle, assuming you actually use it for phone calls.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Utilities
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2019, 02:34:23 pm »
I have been too lazy to change anything. I grouch about my suppliers but still have unmetered water, which I want to retain for fear of incontinence.
BT - Phone & Broadband.
Eon (from Eastern Electricity) Power
British Gas
Affinity Water (was Three Valleys)

I think gas is the only utility that has not failed during my stay here. The others have gone down more than once.

I still have paper electricity bills in case I need proof of address. The rest are paperless.

Re: Utilities
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2019, 02:43:04 pm »
Robin Hood has become more expensive this year for our gas and electricity, so I looked elsewhere. Green energy were the cheapest, but is not as environmentally friendly as their name implies. I went with Bulb, which is anew started company with no contracts or moving fees. Most companies bump prices up after the contracts endsin the hope you don’t renegotiate. Bulb use mostly renewable resources and are reasonable priced, but you do pay in advance.
If it ain't broke, fix it 'til it is...

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Utilities
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2019, 02:45:09 pm »
BT for phone and broadband – might have to investigate the options now I'm paying the bill, that said, it's just works is completely stable, so it might be worth sucking it up. That said paying for a landline narks me, as it's effectively never used other than to deliver the FttC connection. I suppose it's an unavoidable expense.

British Gas for gas and electricity. A bit shit and fairly expensive, but figuring out alternatives gave me a headache, and I don't want bullshit like monthly direct debits. That and the nest of suppliers and tariffs which I suspect are mostly indecipherable and they'll probably change a month later. Just tell me what it costs for a unit and send me the fucking bill. Having been with other providers like EDF in the past, there seems to be a universality to their shitness. The best way to save money will always be to turn stuff off than chase tariffs.

!nataS pihsroW

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Utilities
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2019, 02:45:44 pm »
I don't think you get to choose your water/sewage supplier, do you?
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Utilities
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2019, 02:54:33 pm »
That said paying for a landline narks me, as it's effectively never used other than to deliver the FttC connection. I suppose it's an unavoidable expense.

We pay A&A for a DSL-only copper line with no telephone service (if you plug a phone into it, you just get a recorded message warning our-favourite-telco engineers not to steal the pair).  It works out marginally cheaper than BT Retail's basic tariff, and has the advantage that in the event of a line fault Shaun-the-Slayer is on the case with no scope for any buck-passing.

Yes, it's stupid, but A&A's approach of passing on the wholesale costs of their products rather than wrapping things up in bundles and minimum contracts means you know where you stand.


Quote
Just tell me what it costs for a unit and send me the fucking bill. Having been with other providers like EDF in the past, there seems to be a universality to their shitness.

Robin Hood seem to have a charming incompetence to their shitness, rather than the deliberate malicious shitness of other suppliers (I'm glaring at you, nPower).

Anyway, I'm happy to pay slightly more than the cheapest deal for 100% renewable electricity, and for the profit to be benefiting council tenants in Nottingham rather than shareholders.


Quote
The best way to save money will always be to turn stuff off than chase tariffs.

Agree.  (And things like not being on Economy 7 when you shouldn't be.)  You can tweak around the edges trading off customer service and whose bank account the money sits in and such, but there never seems to be much in it long-term, unless you're deliberately left on some older more expensive tariff.

As ever, the best way to save money on utilities is to be rich enough to  a) pay a sensible rate (via a bill, rather than a prepayment meter)  and  b) not have to use as much of them (insulation, efficient appliances, solar power, etc).
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Edd

Re: Utilities
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2019, 02:58:47 pm »
Robin Hood has become more expensive this year for our gas and electricity, so I looked elsewhere. Green energy were the cheapest, but is not as environmentally friendly as their name implies. I went with Bulb, which is anew started company with no contracts or moving fees. Most companies bump prices up after the contracts endsin the hope you don’t renegotiate. Bulb use mostly renewable resources and are reasonable priced, but you do pay in advance.

I'm with Bulb for gas and elec as well, quite like them, needed to call them when British Gas (44% pay rise for what???) were giving me problems with moving my account and Blub sorted it out. Moneysavingexpert have a £65 cashback option with Bulb at the moment, so worth checking that out (if you fancy getting £50 cashback you could always use this link, bulb.co.uk/refer/edward7001 then I get £50 as well  ;D ).

Thor

  • Super-sonnicus idioticus
Re: Utilities
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2019, 03:16:46 pm »

Yes, you get what you pay for.  Zen or Plusnet are probably a safe bet.  Avoid the likes of BT retail, TalkTalk, $ky, unless you expect nothing to ever go wrong.

If cable is available, Virgin Media is probably the winning option.

Chances are that you'll get the best deal on phone as part of a bundle, assuming you actually use it for phone calls.

- I think with DSL broadband, a lot depends on the line between you and the cabinet, which may not change between one supplier and the next.  I have a Vodafone fibre service, about which many customers seem to complain bitterly, but I just checked and my current PPP session uptime is 208 days.  That's about 7 months without a single disconnection. Virgin, OTOH, seems to collapse in my area, on a regular basis, judging by Facebook whinging.
- Zog for gas.  Good value and no exit fees. 
- Yorkshire Electricity

It was a day like any other in Ireland, only it wasn't raining

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Utilities
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2019, 03:28:07 pm »

Yes, you get what you pay for.  Zen or Plusnet are probably a safe bet.  Avoid the likes of BT retail, TalkTalk, $ky, unless you expect nothing to ever go wrong.

If cable is available, Virgin Media is probably the winning option.

Chances are that you'll get the best deal on phone as part of a bundle, assuming you actually use it for phone calls.

- I think with DSL broadband, a lot depends on the line between you and the cabinet, which may not change between one supplier and the next.

Yes, unless it's a marginal fault, where a supplier that's inclined to actually fix it is invaluable.  All the competence and customer service in the world can't change the laws of physics.

Obviously a lot of broadband faults are with the customer's equipment:  Crappy internal wiring, faulty modem/routers, local interference, etc.  Or WiFi, which has nothing to do with the internet connection.  A non-technical user can hedge against some of this by including this equipment as part of the contract, but whether that actually helps depends on the customer service being half decent.


Cable seems to suffer from more street-scale local issues than DSL (it wouldn't be my first choice in a studenty area, for example, as it's liable to be oversubscribed).  Combined with the geographic hodgepodge of networks that Virgin inherited, means you can't generalise nationally.  Of course, in some areas the BT last-mile infrastructure is a bit of a mess (long, lines, aluminium wiring, etc), and in others it's excellent.  Much like getting bikes on trains, you need advanced trainspotter-level knowledge to make a properly informed decision.   :-\
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Utilities
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2019, 03:47:50 pm »
Whatever can be said about BT, ours has probably been down for less than a few minutes in the previous 5 years and never needs a reboot. It's ironically far more reliable than the internet in the office. That said, the cabinet is about twenty-five metres away, so that last bit of copper is probably fifty metres (as it goes to the top of the hill, up the telegraph pole and then back down to us).
!nataS pihsroW

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Utilities
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2019, 04:16:25 pm »
Whatever can be said about BT, ours has probably been down for less than a few minutes in the previous 5 years and never needs a reboot. It's ironically far more reliable than the internet in the office. That said, the cabinet is about twenty-five metres away, so that last bit of copper is probably fifty metres (as it goes to the top of the hill, up the telegraph pole and then back down to us).

My uptime's looking pretty decent, and because I'm using A&A I don't have to guess.  Some downtime due to fettling at this end (having the power off, shutting things down physically move or clean equipment, deliberately re-configuring the router to test things I'm working on etc), but the majority of it is scheduled maintenance in the middle of the night, which all ISPs are going to have (both at their end, and their wholesale providers').

(click to show/hide)

You occasionally get problems with the wider internet that don't affect uptime.  Every now and then something seems to go wrong at LINX and I lose connectivity to Virgin customers, for example, and there was a comedy couple of minutes a while ago where the entire IPv4 internet seemed to stop working but my Youtube stream was unaffected.  I think that was DDOS related.

Anyway, uptime's just one of many measurements.  It's probably a more useful one for the average user than peak download, which is what the marketroids cling to, because bigger numbers more betterer.  Gamers and VOIP users will care more about latency, for example, and for many people working from home upstream throughput is more important.

The point, in as much as there is one, is that internet connections are inherently more complex than who prints your gas bill, and you do generally get what you pay for.  I'd add that The Devil's Radio is often the weakest link, and never the ISP's fault.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Utilities
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2019, 04:29:06 pm »
I used to have a FRITZbox modem, that was quite good for stats like uptime if your ISP doesn't have it (tho when I've had issues with Plusnet they generally are pretty good at sharing the data they have.)
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Utilities
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2019, 04:45:44 pm »
Our electricity and gas are supplied by Ecotricity. The reason for this is Ecotricity supplying the Electric Highway and generally making the right sort of green noises.

I think we have two ISPs but the main on is Virgin. Dez was telling me yesterday that for a £25 fee we can upgrade to an even faster connection (technicalities are beyond/of no interest to me). The second connection is as an insurance policy because he needs a reliable connection given that he works from home.

Essex Water Co/Anglian Water are responsible for water coming in and sewage going out.

We have 3 landlines: 2 are Virgin, one is BT (see above).

We have 4 mobile phone accounts (Phyllis, Janet, Dez & me), all Virgin.

Council tax paid to Southend Borough Council.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

CrinklyLion

  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: Utilities
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2019, 10:41:09 pm »
I'd recommend going via Quidco for the cashback :)

I got my broadband and phone provided for something like a fiver a month one year, between various cashback and reward schemes.  If you aren't already a quidco member I, or doubtless any number of forumites, can provide a referral link that will lead to a 20 quid bonus to split and I've had cashback payments of between 40 and 120 quid for various utilities over the years.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Utilities
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2019, 12:19:58 am »
AS it happens, I have a Quidco account, on Peli's advice. I never remember to use it when buying stuff though.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.