The Money Shot - live music and sewers

Image of Wembley arena
We'd hate to see the energy consumption figures for those lights. Image: Tim Sheerman-Cross
"Some smaller suppliers don’t have to to meet certain licence conditions like the paying of green levies - this can help them to offer more competitive tariffs," Jeremy Cryer, Gocompare.com
  • | by Kristian Dando

“HELLO WEMBLEY!”

It’s one of the most evocative greetings in all of rock and roll, uttered by ‘Wired for Sound’ hellraiser Cliff Richard to sold-out audiences a record-breaking 63 times.

But it might soon be a thing of the past, now that big-six member SSE has taken up the £15m, 10-year naming rights of ‘iconic’ north London enormo-dome Wembley Arena. “GOOD EVENING SSE ARENA!” doesn’t have quite the same ring about it.

If you’ve been attending pop concerts over the past 15 years or so, you can’t have failed to see the creeping commodification of live music. At this rate, it wouldn’t even be a huge surprise to see a well-known price comparison site sponsoring a forthcoming tour by, oh, we don’t know, Shakatak or someone.

But while railing against the commercialisation of gigs is a bit like King Cnut trying to hold back a tidal wave of enormous magnitude, the whole episode illustrates what the smaller energy companies are up against in the marketing stakes.

While the big six won’t think twice about dropping a cool couple of mil' on the naming rights to a stadium, or the FA Cup, or getting the rights to a Blur song to use on an expensive TV ad campaign, it’s not exactly an option for the plethora of smaller suppliers, even if they can sometimes offer a better deal than the big boys (depending on your usage and circumstances). It's just a shame that the consumer often doesn't know about it.

In fact, new research from Gocompare.com this week found that relative minnows in the market such as Ovo, First Utility and Extra Energy can offer cheaper tariffs than the big boys. Don’t believe us? Just look at this research.

Jeremy Cryer, energy expert at Gocompare.com, mused: “Consumers are becoming aware that small suppliers work to the same rules as the big providers, and are often competitive on price and customer service.

"It’s also worth noting that, below a threshold of 250,000 customers, suppliers don’t have to to meet certain licence conditions like the paying of green levies.

"This can help them to offer more competitive tariffs,” he added, as he slipped into his favourite, weathered Saxon tour t-shirt.

“However, there’s no single tariff from any supplier, large or small, that's best for everyone, so it’s important that people compare tariffs from as many providers as possible to find the one that is best for them.”

Anyway, the Money Shot is now thoroughly looking forward to trying to ‘lose itself’ at a pop concert, while being mentally haunted by images of a quarterly energy bill landing on its welcome mat. Rock on, Tommy!

Short change – money news in brief

While we’re on the subject of energy, it transpires that complaints to the energy ombudsman have risen by 224% during the first quarter of this year.

Banks must update their ‘aged’ IT systems, reckons the head of the Prudential Regulation Authority, Andrew Bailey.

The Office of National Statistics reported a further heating up of the housing market, with prices rising across the country.

New culture secretary Sajid Javid has provoked the ridicule of anyone who goes to sports events and concerts regularly by suggesting that secondary ticket touts who flog bulk-bought tickets for events at exorbitant prices are “classic entrepreneurs” who fulfil a “gap in the market” and should be free from regulation.

Virgin Media has cut off an elderly couple’s broadband and TV after they refused to pay a £900 bill for ‘blue movies’ which someone had or hadn’t watched.

WE’VE BUILT A TAX CALCULATOR

You can use it to easily work out your taxable earnings and compare them to notable ‘slebs like Leo DiCaprio, Simon Cowell and the Queen. Fancy that!

On Covered mag this week

Easter - it’s extreme, finds Emily Bater.

Is it time to think about your current account? Perhaps, says Kristian Dando.

Abbie Laughton-Coles counted the cost of getting seven-a-day.

Bonking bad? It turns out that telly box-sets are getting in the way of passion.

Are these the best roads in the world? Phil Huff certainly thinks so.

And finally

We haven’t spoken about flood for, oooh, a couple of weeks now. But what with Russell Crowe’s Noah stinking out multiplexes across the land, it seems prudent to get them back on the agenda.

Alas, this week we’re going a little less biblical in scale. South West Water has revealed some of the hair-raising items that they’ve found causing floods from blockages down drains, including false teeth, bikes, dead sheep and even a sex toy.

“When it comes to clearing blockages, we’ve come to expect the unexpected,” revealed a South West Water spokesman. "When we’re looking for the cause, it could be anything, and it’s surprising what you do find. The sex toy found actually caused a major internal flood.”

Speaking of drains, Shropshire residents were left cautiously peering down their toilets after Amazonian piranhas were found lurking in the sewers this week. Crikey!

Join us next week for another THRILLING instalment of THE MONEY SHOT.