Letters: beware of profits when you are offered a fixed-term energy contract

VARIOUS expert observers of the ongoing energy crisis have urged consumers to enter into fixed-term agreements with suppliers in order to weather price spikes.

I am a long term customer of Scottish Power and have a good financial standing with the company.

Last week I had the chance to speak with a real human being from the utility to inquire about my rate from January 2023. His response was to offer me their “best deal” contract. It made me catch my breath because for a fleeting moment I thought I had dialed the number wrong and had been directed not to Scottish Power but to Comedy Central.

At the moment my monthly gas and electricity bill comes to a monthly bill of £176.00. The “best deal” offer is equivalent to a monthly fee of £859.49. Annualized, this totals £10,313.85. This figure is stratospherically higher than the expected price cap on April 23 of around £4,500.

The rationale for this hike is that it provides insurance against future price spikes, providing comfort and predictability. However, this fallacious reasoning looks like a cure worse than the disease. To a cynic, this “insurance” looks like a price hike…if it looks like a price hike, smells like a price hike, and empties your wallet like a price hike…it almost certainly is a price hike. And, speaking of the wallet, perhaps the CEOs of our energy oligopoly would be well advised to consider high-cost personal accident insurance. A drop in their booming wallets could require emergency medical attention despite the empty ambulance service.

Based on my experience, I urge all consumers to check out potential energy offerings from a jaundice eye…preferably while lying down with a tall glass of something alcoholic.

(Professor) Doug Pitt, Newton Mearns.

THE DISGRACE OF DUNBLANE CATHEDRAL

As a long time and proud resident of Dunblane, I am increasingly appalled by the appearance of our most treasured tourist attraction, the Cathedral. My concerns are twofold.

First, the clock only ran sporadically for about two and a half years. I understand that the repair is now in the hands of a specialist but all attempts have so far failed, although it should be noted that the mechanism is over a century old.

Secondly, and above all, for the past two years, the cemetery has been cluttered with unsightly fences following the discovery of some 150 tombstones (more than half of the total) deemed “unstable”. The fence was presumably erected to mitigate the risk of a recurrence of the accident at a Glasgow cemetery in 2015 in which a young boy was killed by a falling headstone.

However, it is my understanding that no headstones have been secured, mainly due to the lack of dialogue with the owners of the burial sites.

These issues are the responsibility of Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and I have been verbally assured that action is being taken to remedy these issues in a timely manner.

But the passage of time and the virtual absence of progress suggest otherwise. The written correspondence with HES reinforces my belief and the minutes of the Dunblane Community Council meeting suggest that they share my frustrations.

In April this year, The Sunday Times selected Dunblane as one of the best places to live in Scotland. I am also aware of a local initiative to boost tourism in our historic town.

However, Dunblane’s reputation as a place to live and visit is surely tarnished by the perceived inaction of HES. The clock is a permanent embarrassment and the fencing a constant horror. While I accept that Covid has hampered progress and remedies are difficult, I am not convinced that HES is doing its best to restore our cathedral to its former glory.

HES might want to prove me wrong – preferably with deeds, not words.

David Mercer, Dunblane.

• DONALD Macleod’s article on the Kelvingrove bandstand (“Magical summer nights at the Bandstand”, The Herald, August 12) did not mention the vital role played by the Friends of Kelvingrove Park in saving the bandstand of the wrecking ball. After many years of neglect, the Friends of Kelvingrove Park, led by its secretary, Ed Gillett, launched a campaign to save the bandstand, raising enough funds, in 2001, to commission a feasibility study for its renovation. The campaign eventually resulted in the bandstand being restored by the Glasgow Building Preservation Trust.

Deedee Cuddihy, Glasgow.

BIRDS OF A FEATHER

NOT eager to sing, but I know my birds. Today’s picture (The Herald, August 15) is a rather splendid shot of a jackdaw, not a crow.

Gordon Hardie, Aberdeen.

SHOOT FOR THE MOON

ROBIN Dow’s first words, “Experts, as you call them” (Letters, August 15), suggest a certain cynicism about these people. I wince reading any expert predictions.

Arthur Summerfield, Postmaster General to President Eisenhower, predicted in 1959 that before man reached the Moon, mail would be delivered within hours from New York to Australia by guided missiles. “We’re on the threshold of rocket mail,” Summerfield said.

I wonder where can my special delivery from Amazon be?

David Miller, Milgavie.

WELL, DO YOU CREDIT IT?

WE attended the Scottish Opera production of Candide in Edington Street on Saturday evening. It was all and more as Keith Bruce’s review aptly describes (“A joyful theatrical creation not to be missed”, The Herald, August 13).

What caught my attention in this review was her surprise at Cunégonde’s partner, Susan Bollock, described in the cast list as “The Old Lady.”

I showed up to the show expecting to see a woman around my age. I was not deceived. Her matriarchal role was deftly assumed with elegant dresses and sequential boleros, while slipping into high-heeled shoes.

The blunt description so overtly simple reminded me of the story of a well-known Hollywood actress. After landing a modest speaking role in a major blockbuster, she eagerly waited for the premiere to see the credits. To her horror, she was described as “a fat woman on the market scene”. She protested to her fellow actor who simply replied, “Welcome to showbiz, Honey.”

Jane Cowan, Glasgow.

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