ELECTRICKERY

 

How can Slovenia's electricity suppliers find a way to charge a fixed amount when they could be charging an amount dependent upon the actual usage patterns of individual customers?

Fixed amounts are nearly always good news for suppliers and bad news for customers, as anyone who has made a five second phone call on British Telecom and paid the 5p minimum charge will know.

I became suspicious when my subscription to something called Golden Hour was cancelled by Energija Plus (EP) after only four months.

Golden Hour is a thing where you pay EP 0.20 a month and your unit rates are decreased by various percentages, up to 50%, for two or three hours on three (various) days of the week. The hours are announced weekly so you can't take advantage with time switches and suchlike.

My 15-minute meter hadn't worked for two of those four months, said EP. Since this was the second time in a row their scheme to save me money had not worked, they were just cancelling me. There was "major interference at the PLC" they said. Without explaining what any of those things might mean.

Billing company EP do not say data processing is the problem, preferring to appear to heap the blame on the customer for "his" meter - actually the property of Elektro Maribor, that other electricity company which shares an address with EP but is nothing to do with it, oh no.

With a recently-legislated bloat of overcomplicatedness about to descend upon the hapless Slovenian electricity consumer, owning a functioning 15-minute meter has suddenly acquired some important implications for how the customer's bill is calculated.

What, mathematically speaking, is a 15-minute meter actually? What does it mean? This matters because from June 2024 your charges will depend upon whether you have one.

"Agreed power means the predetermined billing power of the user of the system. It will be based on past electricity consumption habits and will be determined individually for each measuring point, but only where 15-minute measurements are enabled. For measuring points without 15-minute measurements the billing power is a percentage of the connection power, which is specified in the Act."
https://www.elektro-ljubljana.si/novi-tarifni-sistem

Since the meter cannot be both 15-minute capable (January, February) and incapable (March, April) either:

The meter or data transfer system is broken or unreliable

Or

The suppliers have discovered they will make more money in the future calculation of bills by applying a billing power as a percentage of the connection power specified in the Act.

Consequently it became very important to classify as many 15-minute meters as non-15-minute meters as possible, before the customers' real behaviour is measured for the new billing power - which will take place during June, July and August 2024.

And this has been revealed by my subscription to and hasty deletion from the Zlata Ura scheme which, of itself, has saved me the princely sum of 1.59 during the two months of a four month subscription in which - EP claims - it successfully transmitted enough data.

But not saving these savings in the future is not the point.

De-subscription means the supplier has provided itself with a fat-bottomed sort of excuse for qualifying me as a non-15-minute meter owner, when the device's successful performance clearly showed in January and February it was behaving like a 15-minute meter.

And it is all thanks to its own scheme - the Golden Hour - that the bells are ringing on this fishy bureaucratic scam in progress.

Those who never subscribed to Golden Hour will never know they had a 15-minute meter when, in summer 2024, their electricity bill tells them that they haven't.

Useful journalists, lawyers, policemen, electricity customers and energy experts should ask, how can it be that the meter is capable of being a 15-minute meter for the purpose of the Golden Hour scheme in some months, but not others, unless there is some fault or unreliability with the meter, or processing of the data it emits?

How, the typically incurious Slovenian victim might ask, can one physically identify a 15-minute meter, without asking the supplier? (I asked but didn't get an answer).

How often should your meter be inspected, tested, or replaced, and has it been?

How many Zlata Ura subscribers have been de-subscribed in the months leading up to the great Slovenian electricity tariff upheaval?

Is it really credible that the meter could send the data required to calculate the bill, but not this other data - showing in which hours it was used?

How can it work some times but not others?

Isn't it rather convenient how the recipient of the data could receive the data that is to their benefit, but not the data that isn't?

How can it be calculated if a decision on agreed power is "based on the Act" is more expensive than the alternative?

If it is more expensive, how is EP's interpretation of events an accident and not a deliberate fraud by the supplier to increase revenue on a dishonest quasi-legal basis?  

Please note I do not speak Slovene or like Ptuj's Town Smell, so I cannot possibly be right about the electricity supplier wangling a way to charge more, in contradiction of the known facts.