Electric 'avin' you on

Offering last year's lockdown as the excuse - sorry, reason - the powers that be here in Spain, have increased the cost of electricity by four million per cent or something, effective from this month. It's quite difficult to know where to start with all of this, but let's give it a go.

First, I say 'powers that be' because it's become perfectly clear that nobody is prepared to take any responsibility for the price hike. I'm not sure what the Spanish for 'It wasn't me, guv' is, but politicians and electricity companies alike seem to be finding just the right words and phrases to blame events on each other, or, even better, the 'fixed market value' as if that were some kind of external malevolent force obliging them to indulge in nefarious practices against their will. Meanwhile, the vast majority of those protesting their innocence with a dismissive shrug, appear to be quite happy living high on the hog, emerging occasionally from behind a king prawn to shake their heads in disbelief that all of this should be happening, before ordering another bottle of Valduero Lantigua and returning to the bosom of their chums, all of whom are wearing equally tasteless suits.

Next, in a masterly example of obfuscation, the rocketing price rise has been fudged and confused by a kind of traffic light tariff system which varies costs according to the time of day of consumption. Alan Turing would have been hard pressed to understand it in any depth, so most ordinary folk have just gleaned the gist which is that the cheapest rate available is from midnight until eight in the morning. Good news for DJs, I suppose.

A couple of summers ago, down at the pub, we received an electricity bill equivalent to the GDP of a small municipality and, despite presenting ample and compelling evidence that there had clearly been a mistake, the company concerned wouldn't budge an inch, leaving taking them to court as our only remaining option. Having far more interesting and productive things to be doing - like pootling about and humming a merry tune - I decided not to pursue it. Just as they planned, I'm afraid.

Similarly, the whole nation could now be up in arms about the 'current' (sorry about that) price hike, but those in charge would, of course, just brazen it out until everyone realised they were wasting too many precious hours in a long, and probably futile, struggle.

Thus, nobody is up in arms, but they are up at two o'clock in the morning putting the washing machine on.