When I went to answer the door today there was a man in a G4S uniform standing there. The first thought that came into my mind was “what have I done wrong?” and I had a vision of being carted off to a private prison. It turned out he was only there to read my electricity meter but that used to be done by Siemens so why the change? I quickly realised that it must have been to do with the fact that I recently changed my electricity supplier.
When I bought my house in 1994 I signed up for electricity with Eastern Electricity and gas with British Gas. Eastern Electricity later became TXU Energi then Powergen and finally E.ON and at some point I started getting gas from them too so I would only have a single company to deal with and could take advantage of a “dual fuel discount”. About ten years ago I got involved with a group called Campaign against Climate Change and since then I have often thought about changing to a more ethical supplier but I only got around to it in June this year when after doing some research I decided to switch to Good Energy for both gas and electricity.
Having chosen Good Energy as an ethical supplier it was a shock to find that they were using G4S to do their meter reading. I won’t go into all the problems I have with G4S but a major one is their complicity in Israel’s human rights abuses. My immediate reaction was to write to Good Energy to express my displeasure but first I did a bit of research and quickly came across a post on UK Indymedia titled Good Energy ditches G4S over ethical concerns which linked to this statement on the Good Energy website. The statement, dated 1 August 2012, announces that they will be switching to Lowri Beck for meter reading services and that the decision was based on a number of criteria, including “feedback from our customers”. The changeover is expected to be complete by March 2013 but customers who want their account switched at the earliest opportunity are invited to phone the customer care team, which I did. After explaining why I didn’t want G4S turning up at my house the woman I spoke to asked whether the meter reader was intimidating and I said no, but his uniform was. She put a note on my account that I wanted to switch as soon as possible and I thanked her for her help.