Today proved that sometimes it is worth sitting through the endless telephone menus and sincere (ha) “Your call is valuable to us ” messages.

I had received an 0800 number for TV licences from

[info]scatz a couple of weeks ago and yesterday the notification of a new licence due. I have been paying my licence by direct debit for some years now, but the opportunity to get some cash back on the transaction from my credit card issuer is not to be missed.
The only down side is it will take two calls – one today to cancel the direct debit and one tomorrow to make the payment “after the system has refreshed and recognises a payment is now due”. Well it’s a good job it’s an 0800 number, then .

Flushed with success I decided to attack Powergen. It’s worth sticking with direct debit here , as there is a 3% discount on charges if you do, but there’s no need to be overpaying. My latest statement was, as usual , an estimate, so I read the meter myself, rang up and asked for a recalculation.

The statement changed from: I owe them £79, to: they owe me £45, which means the monthly payment, which almost doubled after the charges hike, is now down from £76 per month to £52.
They were also advised that I’ve had cavity-wall insulation and expect my electricity use to continue to be lower than in previous years. They claim to have made a note to that effect on my account.

From now on they’ll get an actual reading everytime they send a statement. I’m getting fed up of being ripped off by a utility that will only read meters annually.