Premium Bonds – The Reply

National Savings and Investments reply (very promptly I must add - kudos for that) to my questions about waste:

"I understand your frustration at receiving your prizes in separate envelopes, and also your comments on saving the environment. Unfortunately as the prizes are drawn electronically by ERNIE, he does not recognise holders numbers and does not have the facility to merge all prizes won by individual customers.

As we send out 1.8 million separate prizes it would be virtually impossible to check if a customer has won more than once in every single prize draw that takes place. There is no manual intervention in the despatch of the prizes as they are all despatched from our computer centre."

  1. I'm not entirely convinced ERNIE is a man. Bit picky here but I've always wanted to find an excuse to use the word "anthropomorphism". Now I have. If he's a man, he must be a very busy one.
  2. The second paragraph sort of suggests they think I'm expecting them to do this by hand. 1.8 million isn't really that big a number in this day and age. Is it? How about something like:
SELECT [Holders].[Name], sum([WinningBonds].[WinAmount]) AS [Winnings] 
     [Bonds] ON [Holders].[HolderId] = [Bonds].[HolderId] INNER JOIN 
     [WinningBonds] ON [Bonds].[BondNumber] = [WinningBonds].[BondNumber]
GROUP BY [Holders].[Name]
ORDER BY [Winnings]

I'm not sure I'll get very far by going back and suggesting that though... Oh well, I did try, sort of.

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Comments (5)
  1. Ian Moulster says:

    Good job Mike 🙂

    I have previously asked them whether they could pay winnings straight into a nominated bank account which would solve the entire issue imo. They said they agree and are actively working on this.

    They didn’t give a target date for completion though…

  2. Joe says:

    Send this reply back to them. The clue is in their remark about their "computer centre". I understand that that computers are kinda good for this sort of thing.

    Seriously, if they have a computer centre that can’t do this sort of thing they should get get a new one. If anyone who works in I.T. gave this sort of answer they would be laughed out of their job.

    I wish banks would group together all their letters, statements, marketing rubbish, into just one letter. Then it would be so much easier to ignore.

  3. Tim Long says:

    Two things:

    1. How are you guys winning enough to make this an issue? I’ve only won once ever in 40 years! Mind you, I think I’ve only got about 50p worth of bonds 😉

    2. Maybe if you wrote it in LINQ…?


  4. MikeO [MSFT] says:

    Ian – while that would be a very environmentally sound way to do it, it also takes the fun out of it! I like getting a cheque with my name on it when I win :-). Mike

    Joe – I do think NS&I are a bit behind here. I get no paper statements from my bank / building society anymore. Everything is done online. The only issue I have with that is record keeping for the taxman as they don’t retain your statements for very long.

    Tim – I have more that 50p worth :-). Returns aren’t great and, IIRC (don’t quote me on this) I think they’ve been reduced quite significantly over the years. And I just stumbled on this:

    "National Savings & Investments, who will announce the rate change tomorrow, said that increasing administrative costs, including the cost of posting out the winners cheques, and an increase in its tax obligations to the Exchequer, meant the change was necessary." from

    Arghh – "the cost of posting out the winners cheques". That’s from 2006 and they still haven’t done anything about it. That in itself is enough to make me withdraw my funds and put them somewhere more sensible….

  5. marty metter says:

    Does anyone know the exact date of the preium bond prize draw???

    I think it varies however i have never got a straight answer thanks

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