Monday, March 13, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 13.3.17

Changing Spain?: When I first came here, I was astonished at how accommodating restaurants were towards last-minute changes in reservations. Say from 4 to 10 or 20 to 5. Or even towards cancellations. Recognising that Spaniards idolise spontaneity, the restaurants went along with this capriciousness, regardless of the impact on income and profitability. But last week I read that some of them are now demanding a deposit when a reservation is made. But this will be small compensation, of course, if you provide a dinner for 100 Romanians who all piss off after the dessert.

Here in Spain, everyone who disagrees with you is 'a fascist', regardless of where they are on the political spectrum. The Turkish government has gone further. Anyone who upsets them is not only a fascist but also 'a Nazi'. Especially the horrible Dutch. Mr Erdogan seems to have been taking lessons from Mr Trump.

Overall, Spain's 'digital performance' is good but, as we know, broadband prices are the second highest in Europe. See here. What it is to have friends in government.

I noted the other day that the PP government is impervious to demands for a parliamentary commission into corruption, even when these come from its electoral partner. But, of course, the main opposition party - the left-of-centre PSOE - is equally uninterested in such a development. After all, Spain's most corrupt region - Andalucia - has been under their control since the end of Francoism in 1978. So, almost 40 years. And their track record in central government is equally blemished.

Which reminds me . . . How many relics of Franco has the (very)-right-of-centre PP party removed in the last 5 years? Yes, exactly. Not one.

An angry article in yesterday's Voz de Galicia reminded us what we all know – that the electricity companies here are all engaged in deceiving us. There's a Google machine translation at the end of this post for those who can't read it here in Spanish.

The Spanish government last year reduced the level at which cash can be used for commercial transactions but then – having stupidly done this just before Xmas – rapidly backtracked when there was widespread protest. Don Quijones here looks at this trend in a wider context.

A chap on the TV this morning opined that craft and style in advertising are now superb. Whereas creativity is at an all-time low. I fancy these slogans provide some evidence that he's right:-
Feed their curiosity. For cat food.
Born in the jungle, raised in the city: For a 4x4 vehicle

Finally . . . This dog won both the Gun Dog section and the Best in Show award at Cruft's last week:-

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It's said to be a gun dog. Which is odd, because this is what I thought a gun dog of this breed looked like:-

The only thing dafter than the dogs at Crufts is, of course, the names they give the poor mutts. The runner-up for the Best of Show prize was a miniature poodle – that's a dog? - which goes under the name of Frankie Minarets Best Kept Secret. The winner, by the way was Afterglow Miami Ink. You couldn't make it up. Oh, they did.

The article from the Voz de Galicia

The electric companies treat us like fools

We analyse the deceptions to which the electrical companies submit to us without any scruples

Fools. That is what we are. We come to this conclusion when we analyse the deceptions that the unscrupulous power companies submit to us. Consider the latest move: Competition [the relevant government department] has sanctioned Endesa, Gas Natural Fenosa, Iberdrola and Viesgo for deceiving customers and cutting them off without their permission. 

How can it be? Imagine that a rep of one of these companies - or another one that works for them - comes to your house and explains that there'll be reductions on your bill if this or that amount and that you will pay less. That gentleman who sits in front of you is a rep and so,when someone does not want it he coaxes you until you sign what he wants, which almost always coincides with what will hurt you. 

The electric market is a hoax. Beginning with the assertion that prices in the free market are lower than those regulated. 

You have to be clear:-
1. Large electric companies are electricity generators, distributors and marketers. They create companies for each area in which they operate. So they are everything. The market is cooked and also eaten.
2. There are two types of market: regulated and free. The first one is cheaper. Why? In both, the energy is bought at the daily auction. In the first there is a margin stipulated by the Government, while in the free market each company establishes its own and the types of contract. No company will offer the customer a lower price than the regulated market. They have no interest in selling oranges for four euros, when the regulated price is five.
3. There are 26 million households that could be in the regulated market for having a contracted amount of less than or equal to 10 kilowatts. However, there are only 12 million. And the rest? In the free market, to which they could move after a pernicious phone call.
4. What rights do consumers have in the free market? None. And in the regulated? Access to the social bond, that in case of non-payment the cut off of supply is not immediate and one avoids the court in the case of disagreements with the company.
5. What is the social bond and who is entitled to it? It is a tariff with a discount set by the Government of 25% on the total price of the bill in the regulated market. It benefits consumers with contracted power in their first home of less than three kilowatts, pensioners with 60 or more years and receive a minimum pension, large families, families that have all members unemployed and those who have a social rate before 1 July 2009.
6. Do you know how many consumers have a social bond?: 2.4 million. Do you know how many of these correspond to families with all their members unemployed? 74,000. Do you know how many families there are with all their members unemployed? 1.3 million. Can you tell me where the difference is between the 1.3 million and the 74,000? They are in the free market, where they arrived, logically, after being deceived. 

One last warning: in the regulated maket, there is a fixed price option. Don'tt take it. It is more expensive.


Eamon said...

The article about the electricity companies is quite interesting. Last Friday a young lady representing Fenosa rang my door bell. After identifying herself she asked why I was not taking the opportunity of a discount on my bill. I said I had no idea what she was talking about and she asked me for my latest bill. Looking at the bill she said I used under 3 kilowatts of power so I should go to the office and claim my discount. I will do that shortly and report what happens. So has Fenosa been told to get the message out to their customers I wonder?

Colin Davies said...

Are you sure this isn't to trick you from leaving the regulated market to go into the unregulated market, for which you will pay tthe price later?

Eamon said...

Colin - probably, just like the guy who came to convince me Endesa was part of Fenosa and I could get cheaper electricity. He said a new office was opened in La Coruña which would save money instead of the billing from Barcelona. He left me all kinds of bunk so I sent a letter to Endesa and they came back with an apology saying it was a mistake.

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