Skiving customers through incompetency
I got my latest electricity bill today: -$125,42
Normally finding out you paid for your electricity some months ago would be a good thing, but there is something just a little suss about this one.
You see, this is the third time they've significantly over-charged me. Becuase the bill is monthly, and the reading quarterly, the company does a projection of the previous bills to fill the gaps. Shouldn't be too hard, adjust a little for summer/winter changes - we don't have air-conditioning so we use a lot more in winter - and after three months you tack a dollar or two in either direction.
But for some reason their formula is consistently way off, so I am consistently over-charged for two months, then paying nothing for a third. Which would be fine, cash flow issues aside, except in the process they are fiddling the numbers in their favour.
Because, when I get over-charged, I pay at the bad-person, not-very-energy-efficient rate of $0.1674 per kWh. But when I get refunded, they do it at the good-person, not-using-much-energy base rate of $0.1567 per kWh.
812 kWh x (0.1674-0.1567) = $8.69.
Okay, it's only $9. And it is hardly worth complaining about a measly $9 twice a year (or blogging about for that matter). But if they do that to several hundred thousand customers that starts to add up, notwithstanding the fact that it might represent as much as a third of the yearly profit margin for a retail electricity company.
There is something objectionable about a company producing a model of electricity use so badly wrought that every 6th electricity bill is free into a handy profit. Not that they're the only group of people to turn poor models into a handy profit of late. Seems profiting off bad models is some sort of trend.
30th March, 2009 14:45:11
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Martin`s place at the bottom
In a lovely testimonial to the batting exploits of Chris Martin, Old Batsman noted the high percentage of total runs Martin's highest score took up. Somewhat curious, I thought I'd have a look at it.
The biggest problem, obviously, is that it gets progressively harder to make your highest score dominated your total runs scored, and any straight query returns nothing but one test wonders who scored all their runs in their only knock. Martin, in that sense isn't close.
As a more realistic measure, we can multiply the percentage by the number of innings, to rate longevity higher. This is equivalent, however, to dividing the high score by the average (ignoring not outs). Martin hasn't played his career out yet, but even so, he loses out on percentage and on the index to the undisputed king of innings out of the blue: Jason Gillespie.
This index however, is a little too biased towards longevity, and doesn't really capture the essence of Martin's great inability to score runs. To do this, I tried an alternative index, that calculates the square of innings played, divided by career runs. Some very good batsmen can rate well on this list too, by dint of extended careers, but the top of it represents the true greats of dismal batsmanship.
One shouldn't actually read anything into this list, because the number is mostly meaningless. But the size of Martin's lead over acknowledged bunnies in Chandrasekhar and Walsh is impressive.
19th March, 2009 22:02:15
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