CAPITALISM ISN’T WORKING – CHAPTER III
What are we paying these people for?
The npower Saga (see previous posts on facebook) seems to be drawing to a close. At least I’ve now received “Your amended final energy” (which I guess is the same as the final bill I asked for!).
This shows an outstanding balance of £6.72. I’m assured this has been written off due to the length of time it’s taken to sort out (currently 301 days and still counting). But that begs the question of why they sent me a cheque for £5.62 recently, which, as with the previous two payments, was not accompanied by any sort of explanation.
One week ago I had an e-mail from my “main point of contact” in the Executive Complaints Team informing me that I will receive a goodwill payment “in 10-14 working days”.
The book is now open on whether this will happen as promised, or not!
Meanwhile, this morning we had a visit from someone who wanted to read our gas meter on behalf of British Gas. We explained that we don’t get our gas from British Gas. The man checked his machine and confirmed that he had the right address and correct Meter Reference No – and that we get our gas from Ecotricity.
So we asked why did he want to read our meter. He double-checked his machine, and realised that he shouldn’t be reading our meter before 5 November.
So we persisted with our query as to why he wanted to read our meter when we do not now, and have not in the past, had our gas from British Gas. He responded that he was just following instructions, and went away promising to return on Bonfire Night!
But the best part of my day was the letter from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the oldest and proudest Government Department.
I’m coming up to the age at which I would have retired had the government not abolished retirement. Anyway, I’m lucky enough to still qualify for State Pension, so I’ve been getting lots of letters from the Pension Service to explain what’s going to happen.
Those nice people at HMRC have now written to me to explain one of the implications of having a private pension as well as State Pension.
Apparently there’s something called the ‘Contracted-out Deduction’ (COD), which relates to people who have been part of an employer’s pension scheme in the past.
Despite working as a Benefits Adviser for the Refugee Council for some years, I’d never heard of this, so naturally I read on with great interest.
Did you know that part of your private pension includes an amount of COD; “broadly speaking, the amount of Additional Pension you would have received from the State if you had not been contracted out.”
Well that sounds like good news. So how much do I get? Read on!
In April 1997 “changes were made to the law that mean COD amounts are no longer taken into account when calculating State Additional Pension.”
So, because I “became a member of an employer’s or private pension scheme after April 1997” (pause for effect).
“Your total weekly COD has been calculated as £0.00.”
Brilliant. So some body (or probably computer) at HMRC has spent his or her precious time working out that I’m not entitled to something that I’m not entitled to.
Bear in mind, that this is also something that I’ve never heard of, and so would never have considered querying anyway.
Don’t laugh. Your taxes are paying for this gold standard service (I no longer pay tax!).