To cry when British Gas tell me my bill for one week of £82 is normal.

(106 Posts)
insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 19:31:03

I have just rung BG and been told that this is normal. I have a pay as you go meter inherited with house , there is no debt. I have called them because we have put this in in one week and it is almost gone.I never go into emergency credit.
My house is fairly large but we have a new CH system new doubleglazing and are fully insulated. I set the thermostat at 18c so if it drops below it kicks in . We have to have it on all the time as there are young children in the house during the day so I daren't turn it down any lower.
We went away last year so I can't trust the estimate that predicts us using £255 a year on our bill either.We were away for 6 months from December until July. We are on standard tarrif. This will mean if we continue to use our ch like this the months bill will be almost £250!!! We have no other gas appliances other than the CH. Is this really normal use as the advisor tells me? I feel like crying as I simply cant afford it and don't want the baby to be cold.
If IABU then would someone please tell me how I can reduce this cost. Is it better to turn it down/off at times (i was told better to leave it on constantly). We have an electric fire but thought is was too expensive to put on as the main source of heat, now i'm not so sure.

FannyFifer Fri 18-Jan-13 19:33:36

You need to get rid of the pay as you go meter as they are so so expensive.
My gas is around £100 a month.

gordyslovesheep Fri 18-Jan-13 19:34:11

no that sound high sad

can you keep a record of how much you use and work out the charge per unit - that would be a good starting point

CloudsAndTrees Fri 18-Jan-13 19:34:30

It's not normal.

My heating is set to 25 degrees, is on all the time, and sometimes higher than that, our bills are nowhere near that much.

I'd call them again to make sure you weren't just speaking to someone completely incompetent.

moomoomar Fri 18-Jan-13 19:35:49

It's not normal. We have a pay as you o one aswell, our heating is always on and we put about £20 a week on in winter.

turkeyboots Fri 18-Jan-13 19:37:43

Getting rid of a pre pay meter is hard. The gas company are really reluctant to replace them and only offered us a replacement after 6m if we paid a £500 deposit! We moved out instead.

insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 19:37:49

They told me there is no charge for the meter, and we are on the standard tariff. sad

turkeyboots Fri 18-Jan-13 19:40:20

The pre pay tarrif is not the same as the non-pre pay. It's hugely more expesnsive. It is really shit.

gordyslovesheep Fri 18-Jan-13 19:41:33

you aren't - you are on the standard meter tariff - which is massive compared to a DD one

Mintyy Fri 18-Jan-13 19:42:20

How big is your house? I live in a large Victorian terraced house on three floors. Large rooms, high ceilings, very little loft insulation. We pay £75 pcm for gas and have a gas hob too. Obviously we pay this year round (as its a direct debit).

Are you in a rental property?

ErikNorseman Fri 18-Jan-13 19:42:49

I'm pretty sure it isn't more efficient to leave heating on 24/7. And you need to get normal meters installed.

It is not cheaper to keep it on all the time, that is a myth. Mine is off between 10 and 5 during the day unless it gets really cold. Thermostat set to 19 degrees and on 6-10am and 5-10pm, off overnight.

ninjanurse Fri 18-Jan-13 19:44:18

I live in a bog standard 3 bed end terrace with double glazing, gas CH and hob and I have been putting £50 every 2 weeks in our meter. Last winter £50 would last me at least 3 weeks, so I know prices have gone up. I only have the heating on couple of hours morning and couple of hours evening though as we are mainly out in the day.

manticlimactic Fri 18-Jan-13 19:44:57

Have you checked the insulation in your house? The draught coming in/heat going out of your windows?

I'm on a meter and went through £30 the other week but it was on constantly apart from over night and I've got crap windows and gaps under an outer door (awaiting HA sorting it out)

MummytoMog Fri 18-Jan-13 19:45:09

It's not normal, but it is easily done. You need to turn it down, or turn it off at times. Can you turn off radiators in some rooms? We don't hear our attic rooms as much as the rest of the house. As for baby, three layers at all times, sleeveless vest, long sleeved sleep suit, cardigan and socks under that as well if it's really cold. Reflective panels go behind radiators, check your loft insulation, make us you draw your curtains the minute it gets dark, check they're thick enough. Check you don't have draughts from the doors etc. you say you're fully insulated, but most loft insulation is far too thin, and an extra layer of space blanket on top will make all the difference.

chickensarmpit Fri 18-Jan-13 19:47:37

I put £100 in my prepaid meter this week and I have £10 left. I'm with bg and I only have electric in my house.

marjproops Fri 18-Jan-13 19:49:01

That sounds bad. I got a statement and Im nearly £200 in debit?????

i pay by DD.

I'm NEVER in debit. and weve been freezing till theres icicles hanging off our noses till I put the heating on (shut doors/double glazing/etc etc) and now with the snow its freezing and Ive had to put it on a bit longer.

flippin energy places putting prices up.

We have a small end of terrace (lots if external walls, so quite cold) and are on a pre pay metre. We use between £40 and £50 a month, for heating, hot water and cooking. Yours sounds mental! Tbf though, I am quite tight with the heating. Poor DS looks looks like the mitchelin man in all his layers - jumper, cardi and joggers on top of his babygro today!

Peka Fri 18-Jan-13 19:50:02

Argh! I hate energy companies! They were awful to me when I switched from prepay to monthly bill, were really rude and suspicious over the phone. It's because they make so much bloody money off you! I think people on prepayment meters get treated like shit and told them so. Switch as soon as you can and if they give you any trouble get in touch with Consumer Focus and/or Which? who will give them a flaming:

blueraincoat Fri 18-Jan-13 19:52:38

My 6 month gas and electric bill came in yesterday at a grand total of £511. £82 for one week is beyond ridiculous!

MikeLitoris Fri 18-Jan-13 19:53:41

Did they check the settings on your meter?

I would be hugely suprised if that was genuinely usage.

Prepayment meters are more expensive when you are with bgas but not massivelyso.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 18-Jan-13 19:54:55

It does sound very high for a normal sized house on a prepayment meter.

Most of my budgeting clients tend to put on £20 per week.

sydlexic Fri 18-Jan-13 19:56:19

It is very cold at the moment these will be the worse months of the year.

blueraincoat Fri 18-Jan-13 19:56:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

blueraincoat Fri 18-Jan-13 19:56:41

Oopppsss! Wrong thread!!

It does sound a bit much but then how big is the house? One of my bosses with a 4 story, 7 bed house (quite modern) spends about £800-£1000 per winter (3 months) on gas (and his heating isn't on constant - I have to keep my coat on!).

At the other end of the scale, I have a 2 bed terraced house (quite modern) and my bills are £60pcm for gas AND elec so £180-ish for the winter months.

SoWhatIfImWorkingClass Fri 18-Jan-13 19:58:15

Lmfao!!! Oh bluerain that made me chuckle! :D

InNeedOfBrandy Fri 18-Jan-13 20:00:16

I have storage heaters andni don't use that much!

I have pre payment meter with bg with both electric and gas on one and I spend £30 pw in this weather and extra fiver with having bedroom heaters on and towel rail on a lot. Not normal unless you have your hot water settings set funny? Have you got a combi or emersion (sp) hot water tank?

CaptChaos Fri 18-Jan-13 20:04:06

It might be an idea to get them out to check the meter. The gas is a fair bit more expensive through a pre-pay, but shouldn't be this much more. They are shockingly reluctant to change them for normal ones though, but, if you can pay by DD, then I would get them to change it.

Dawndonna Fri 18-Jan-13 20:07:26

Sounds extremely unreasonalbe. I have a four bedroomed, four reception room house. I pay that per month, for both gas and electric.

ShoeJunkie Fri 18-Jan-13 20:15:13

We inherited an electric pre-payment meter with our house and I made sure we got rid of it pretty quickly as it seemed to eat money!
Also DD is waaay more convenient as there are very few shops which would top up our key. Def try and switch to DD OP.

YourHandInMyHand Fri 18-Jan-13 20:26:09

Those saying get rid of the prepay meter, I have one and the maximum it has ever eaten in a week is £30, and that was during a cold snap in a house with no double glazing! This week has been very cold here oop north and with double glazing and insulation I've spent £20.

Is it possible someone has tapped into your supply?? Is there definitely no debt on it, perhaps from a previous occupier?

When it's bitterly cold I have the heating on all the time but if it's not too bad I just have it on as needed.

insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 20:26:22

It is a 3 bedroom end terrace 4 rooms downstairs. I know our rooms are large (victorian high ceilings) but even so. I was asking everyone I know today and nobody uses this much.

Not sure on boiler type we get instant hot water it has digital display+controls but uses just gas for fuel as far as I know. Am getting it serviced next week so will ask.

Thanks for all the advice, will try and implement and see if it makes a difference. I am going to ask for dd payments instead. Can I do this without being charged a fee? Also can I switch to another company? Am just really frightened because if I get quarterly bills I wouldn't be able to find that sort of money in one go just for gas (not electric as well) it would be £750 at this rate!

Locketjuice Fri 18-Jan-13 20:28:36

I'm all electric, have SHITTY storage heaters which are ridiculously expensive downstairs and electric radiators upstairs I go through around £50 a week minimum... That's a two bed maisonette Aswell so we have the heat from next doors and down stairs... Still freezing and expensive!

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 18-Jan-13 20:30:20

Our gas bill is more than that but that's because we have a gas aga which will be going soon as its just soooo expensive to run.

But your bill sounds very high indeed for just heating.

ShoeJunkie Fri 18-Jan-13 20:31:10

We are with EDF and they changed our meter for free.

Peka Fri 18-Jan-13 20:31:19

insprognito they usually don't let you switch for 3 months after you swap meters... I think I did have to pay but not £500! Maybe £50? It was a while ago though. Basically you need to cover the labour to switch meters, which takes about 20 mins.

MikeLitoris Fri 18-Jan-13 20:34:38

Ring them and ask to change meters.

It may involve a credit check and a fee.

I dont understand why people think suppliers dont want to change meters. It is much better for suppliers for customers to have dd. Thats why they offer discounts etc. PP meters are expensive to maintain and cost the supplier more than billing meters.

I work for one of the big 6 and have worked in the prepayment dept. I can assure you ppm customers are not looked down on by any member of staff I have ever worked with.

I really suggest you check the meter settings, I can talk you through if needed.

insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 20:35:13

He said there is no debt and meter doesn't show any. How could I check if someone has tapped supply? Some new houses were built next to us a few years back so it's possible maybe. I feel sick and don't know what to do when the man on the phone keeps telling me iabu as everyone uses this much when its this cold hmm

EuroShagmore Fri 18-Jan-13 20:35:24

It's loads. We have a modern 3 bed semi. It's one story so a huge roof area for heat to escape from, and has high ceilings. We have our thermostat set to 21 and pay 64 pcm. We've just had our meter read and it was spot on (although they are putting it up to 77 pcm, presumably because tariffs are going up?). It was only £2 out compared to the DD payments.

LadyBeagleEyes Fri 18-Jan-13 20:36:24

I've a meter, I'm all electric and it's averaging £40 a week at the moment.
It's just a 2 bed with double glazing and excellent insulation, but it's so bloody cold at the moment that the CH is on and I have an electric fire as well.

Bunbaker Fri 18-Jan-13 20:40:22

That's more than we pay in a month for a largish 4 bedroom house. We pay by direct debit and our gas bill is calculated by estimating a year's worth of bills and splitting it into 12. Prepay meters are a ridiculously expensive way to pay for gas and electricity.

slhilly Fri 18-Jan-13 20:40:33
CecilyP Fri 18-Jan-13 20:44:09

It seems awfully high. I pay £60 per month on a smallish 3 bed house, 25 year old boiler and insulation, and no double glazing. Again just for heating and hot water. Obviously the cost will be more for the coldest part of the year, but your costs just sound wrong.

MikeLitoris Fri 18-Jan-13 20:45:31

Did he tell you there was no debt or did he ask you to check your actual meter yourself?

That is awful. My rented flat is about £30 a MONTH. Admittedly its a one bed but still ! How do people do it ?

PukeCatcher Fri 18-Jan-13 20:47:51

In my first house there was a British Gas prepay meter left from the previous owner. I remember sobbing after a week because the bloody thing had eaten £70 and we hadn't even properly moved in.

We changed providers, got the meter taken out and due to the amount of bailiff letters and red bills we got for the previous owner, I'm 99% sure we were paying off his arrears.

Definitely get a new meter, I'll bet you're paying for somebody else's gas.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Fri 18-Jan-13 20:51:05

Hmm my last month was 150 quid, detached but small house, no insulation but double glazing. And obv it is off at night. If it was on 24 hours at 20 degrees I reckon it could be that much yes. Turn it off when you go to bed and set it to come back on at 6 or whenever.

We have a small oil filled rad in dds room when it gets too cold at night on very low.

Meglet Fri 18-Jan-13 20:51:15

That's a lot. I have a small 3 bed terrace and often have the heating on 24/7 in the winter, usually about 23 degrees as I can't stand any chills. I pay about £75 a month for mine.

zumbaholic Fri 18-Jan-13 20:56:39

Also OP, you can ask for a card, most suppliers will send you a card which you can then use to pay say £10 a week and by the time your bill is sent out you will of most likely already paid it or only have a tiny amount to pay. So no different to charging a key excempt you have to be deciplined to make regular payments on the card, otherwise you still end up with a big bill! hth

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 18-Jan-13 20:58:01

At the moment as far as I'm aware if you stick to prepayment meters utilita is the cheapest.

They switch over for free and fit smart meters for free.

Loislane78 Fri 18-Jan-13 20:59:45

You should contact Ofgem if you think something questionable is going on with the metre. Sounds v v high to me and agree to going direct debit which will be cheaper and help budget more over the year.

insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 21:13:47

Mike he said there's no debt and I checked through screens too (there's a lot of them)! I am on standard tarrif which he said is right too?

Even if I turn it off at night maybe saving a third I'll be paying loads more than everyone else on here! Some of your monthly combined bills are almost the same as my gas only has cost for this 1 week. Oh and I'm in NW where there is no snow yet!
Going to call back tomorrow after checking shillys link.

Bunbaker Fri 18-Jan-13 21:19:03

Unless it is several degrees below zero I wouldn't have thought you would need the heating on at night.

insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 21:20:36

lois will do that tomorrow first thing after ringing BG back, thanks. And thankyou to everyone else for showing me IANBU.

insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 21:24:56

bunbaker we used to turn it off at night but were told to try leaving it on to see if it was cheaper. It isn't but even turning it off we're still paying way more than we should.

Itsnotahoover Fri 18-Jan-13 21:26:17

I pay £30 a week all year round by DD for gas and electric. My house is an old mill, completely open plan with no double glazing, half an inch gap round the wooden front door, and 25ft ceilings upstairs where all the heat disappears to, so not the mst economical house to run! On that basis, I would say your bill is very high!

lubeybooby Fri 18-Jan-13 21:28:12

I have a pre pay meter with no debt, a very drafty huge old victorian place and the heating on constantly - no thermostat but I would guess the boiler setting I have it on when really cold works out to be about room temp.. so 20c ish.

Costs me no more than £40 in a week.

Something is wrong somewhere.

MikeLitoris Fri 18-Jan-13 21:28:44

If you checked yourself then it probably isnt an issue with your meter as such.

What is your usage normally like?

Could it be a gas leak? (Not trying to be alarmist)

I have a gas ppm. This week I have put £20 on and have some left. Thats for 2 adults 3 dc in a big draughty victorian terrace. 4 bed 3 storey.

It really isnt likely to be correct. I would demand a meter accuracy test tbh.

insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 21:56:26

How do I demand it Mike? I've only just properly started monitoring it due to budgeting differently with new job. We topped up £20 yesterday dinner time have had it on 18c and there's £7.00 left now. It gave us the full £20 no emergency credit used etc.

PigletJohn Fri 18-Jan-13 22:07:29

You must get rid of that prepayment meter.

Does your meter show the number of cubic metres used? If so, please note it down on your calendar and let us know how many cy metres per day you are using.

This week is unusually cold. In cold weather my house gets through 7 or 8 metres a day, which is about 80kWh. It is fairly modern and well-insulated.

A cu metre costs me about 40p (calculated as 11kWh per metre, and 3.6p per kWh, plus VAT, minus direct debit discount). I expect you are being charged substantially more. So I am currently using about £3.20 per day which is about the highest part of the year.

A large Edwardian house I used to live in used 150kWh per day in winter.

I don't know how big your house is, or how old, or how well insulated, or how hot for how long. This would be relevant to what amount of gas you use, which we will only know from the actual meter readings.

insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 22:11:19

I will go check now bbs.

specialsubject Fri 18-Jan-13 22:15:28

that is simply wrong. OP, you need to ask British Gas how much each unit costs on your current tariff, and don't get off the phone until they tell you. (this is the only figure that matters and it is so hard to get the energy companies to tell you) You also need this figure for your electricity.

If the unit cost sounds vaguely reasonable, start monitoring daily use.

Then you can compare units vs costs and see what is going on. You can also see how much gas you use and see if that is reasonable.

also - where is the the thermostat?

MikeLitoris Fri 18-Jan-13 22:18:55

Well first off you need to call them back, ask to speak to a manager. Calmly explain your concerns. Tell them you want a meter accuracy test. If they dont agree ask for your call to be escalated further. Do this until you get the job booked. Refuse to hang up.

It is important to know how much you use normally. How does this last weeks usage compare to say a month ago?

Yes it is cold this week but if you are using the gch in the same way as normal that shouldn't affect your usage.

PigletJohn Fri 18-Jan-13 22:21:11

I gather you have a Victorian, 3-bed, end of terrace, is that right?

So the walls will be solid, no scope for cavity insulation. Have you got ten inches of insulation in the loft?

Are the doors draughtproofed?

Have you got thermostatic radiator valves, and do you turn off the bedroom radiators during the day?

Do you use a tumble-drier?

You should set the night-time stat to 15C, then it will only come on if the house gets that cold (which it might do in this weather). Normally it is better to use the timer to turn the CH off half an hour before you go to bed, and back on half an hour before you get up.

BTW, people, even babies, did not evolve to live in centrally heated houses, and will not die if you turn it down to 18C and put on a vest (sorry)

insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 22:26:30

Meter index 04602.077m3 is that it?

House 3bed end terrace. It was built 1910 had dg and new ch system fitted about 3 years ago. It is large but not huge, loft insulated not sure about walls though. I have temp set at 18c on 24/7 at moment. It turns on if it dips below 18 and then goes off to maintain if that makes sense.

We have only used hot water to wash up last few days (shower is electric). I've just turned all but 2 radiators down to low as all were on full.

ihearsounds Fri 18-Jan-13 22:26:53

Change suppliers.
Not all companies charge more for their prepay customers. Some charge the me as their cash customers. It was a deal they did a few years back with energy watch (or similarly named).
That is an insane amount to pay, bg are unwilling to do anything be proactive and change. Do you get quartly statements? even on prepay you shpuld get these. Use the usage from them to use as a comparison.
If you want to stay with bg ask them about their social tariff. becuase you are paying more than 10% of your income on heating and it is making you fuel poor.

insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 22:29:36

X posted no Tumble Dryer or gas fires,cookers etc.

I live in a 4 bed new build and I put £15 a week on my gas meter. Over the summer I built up a huge credit on the meter. This week I have used the full £15. But know with the credit I had I can use my gas as I need. But yours seems way too high.

Fakebook Fri 18-Jan-13 22:30:33

My gas bill goes up and down every 6 months. I was paying £85 a month since last June, but BG phoned me the other day and told me my bill had gone upto £125 a month because we've been using it a lot. I'm about £300 in debit too, so it all needs to be paid off until we get around to summer again and I'll go back into credit.

MerryCouthyMows Fri 18-Jan-13 22:35:20

I'm fucking glad I'm not on a has meter!

My gas is just £7 a week, paid by payment card in the Post Office. I pay around an extra £10 a week when it is REALLY cold like this and I need my hearing on more.

I only put my heating on when we are still cold whilst wearing jumpers and fluffy socks.

I don't leave it on all day though - I put it on for an hour or two, then turn it off until it gets so cold that jumpers aren't cutting it anymore.

If you are keeping your house warm enough that you can walk around in a t-shirt in January, then that is one reason why you are spending more than you need to. You SHOULD be wearing a jumper in January - even indoors!

insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 22:35:41

I asked for social tarif 2 years ago. They said they had too many people on it now and didn't have to let anymore on!

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Fri 18-Jan-13 22:35:44

I have a pre-pay meter.

I have put £20 this past week (which is £10 more than I normally would) have had heating on low during the day and usually push it up to 25 when DD is home from school.

I have a hot bath every night, plus washing dishes.

I am a mid terrace, new heating system and new double glazing.

I think British Gas are taking the piss.

Not that it helps you right now, but shop around and move to another provider.

Pre-pay meters are more expensive, but for me it works out more cost effective as I can control how much I am spending and am more likely to turn the heating down if necessary (also is just me and DD in house, so bigger family would probalby not be as cost effective)

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Fri 18-Jan-13 22:40:24

Also agree, extra layers are the way forward. Gas is expensive, regardless of which tariff/payment option you have.

Few tips (sorry if they are obvious..)

Keep curtains closed to exclude draft.

Draft exluders on exterior doors.

Interior doors closed, so each room retains the heat.

I have a thick (very naice) curtain hanging over my front door - keeps the draft out there.

You can get metal sheets to put behind radiators that ensure the heat is bounced back into the room and not soaked up by the wall - or you can get a big piece of cardboard and wrap it in tin foil, shiny side up, and put that behind radiator (as the previous tenants of this house had done).

Baby will be fine in a low heated house, with layers on, hat, blankets etc - central heating is a new thing remember (oh god I have turned into my nan!)

PigletJohn Fri 18-Jan-13 22:41:01

if it is Victorian it will not have cavity walls, hence no cavity wall insulation. Three external sides will lose quite a lot of heat. You do not mention a conservatory, which would lose tons of heat.

the reason I asked about a tumbledrier is that some people like to drape wet washing around the house and over radiators. As well as making the house damp, this means the heatring is on, but the energy is going to evaporate water, not to make the house warm.

Make a note of that meter reading, check it again in 24 hours, and then at least weekly. Keep the figures, and how much money you put in, in a notebook as you may need them in the case of a dispute. Do you happen to know the meter reading when you moved in, and told the gas company you were the new occupiers?

I would not be at all surprised if you meter had been set to recover debt by charging you extra, but that will soon become apparent.

You need to look up the prices on your tariff, but you probably have (in round terms) a standing charge of about 25p a day, even if you use no gas, and about 4.5p per kWh, which is about 50p per cubic metre. Your current meter reading is at 4602 cubic metres (the numbers after the decimal point are tenths/hundreds/thousands of a cubic metre)

MerryCouthyMows Fri 18-Jan-13 22:43:38

The other thing is - keep your curtains drawn to keep the heat in. And make sure your curtains are heavy, fully lined ones, especially in winter.

Doors closed through the house, draught excluders where needed.

Fleecy blankets whilst sitting on the sofa.

Fleecy pyjamas and fleecy dressing gowns.

Reflectors behind radiators.

Fluffy socks. Poundland ones are particularly warm.

Fluffy slippers - the boot style ones.

Don't bother to heat the hallway, and only turn on the one in the bathroom for a short time before your baths.

I only heat bedrooms for an hour or two in the evenings. We all have fleece blankets under our duvets.

Swap to a 13 tog or above duvet in winter, and use lots of layers of blankets on a baby too young for a proper duvet. Woollen first, then fleece on top.

Put tights under trousers on babies and toddlers - even boys - it just looks like socks under trousers, and it's a warm extra layer for their legs.

insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 22:47:05

We ARE wearing t shirts, jumpers socks and shoes! We only started to leave it on all day this last week as were told it may be more cost effective than turning on and off.
It is way too high either way though. I'll be spending tomorrow following every suggestion on here. I only earn slightly over minumum wage and less than half of what I did when I moved here. So not so much fuel poor,more fuel bankrupt.

MerryCouthyMows Fri 18-Jan-13 22:56:55

Try Southern Electric. I know it's for Gas, but my Gas bill has more than halved from £15 with BG to £7 with Southern Electric.

And they give you a payment card that you can pay in a Post Office with.

I haven't even got a duel fuel discount because I have a key meter for my electric - so it could end up even cheaper than that if you get the meter taken out. They seemed the most receptive to taking out my electric meter too, but I decided to keep it until April this year, for budgeting purposes.

MerryCouthyMows Fri 18-Jan-13 22:57:54

Also try Utility Warehouse, they do a really good deal if you include broadband and home phone in the package.

apostropheuse Fri 18-Jan-13 22:58:30

That's ridiculously expensive.

I live in a three bedroom terraced house with gas central heating which is on twenty-four hours a day. I have an eight ring gas hob.

Fair enough, the house is insulated and double glazed and I have an A rated condensing combi boiler, but I only pay £73 per MONTH -I pay monthly direct debit though.

There's something not right there.

MerryCouthyMows Fri 18-Jan-13 23:00:17

And my £7 a week IS accurate - I've been paying that since the gas prices went up, was paying £6.25 before.

I've been with Southern Electric for 18 months now (two winters), was with Utility Warehouse before that, but UW refused to take out my electric key meter. SE will, whenever I am ready.

toomuch2young Fri 18-Jan-13 23:02:08

I live on a 3 bed mid terrace with pre pay meters and no thermostat or timers - heating is on or it's off! I have it on from 6.30-8.30am then 6-10 pm. House stays quite warm in between and gas is currently using about £40 per week. But in summer I use no gas so use that time to top the meters up to get some on in readiness for winter.
Electric use remains around £25 pw all year.
Yours sounds an awful lot.

PigletJohn Fri 18-Jan-13 23:05:12

try to concentrate on the meter reading not the payment.

For example I pay £50 per month. Of that I use £100 per month of gas plus standing charge in the winter, and £7 per month plus standing charge in summer.

Many suppliers, especially doorstep salesmen, calculate an "estimated" monthly payment to lure you in, which is lower than your real usage will cost, then have to increase the monthly payment after you've underpaid for a while and built up a debt.

fedupdownhere Fri 18-Jan-13 23:27:27

I have a 4 bed house and prepay meters I use approx £20 per week on gas at the moment and heating is on from 6.30am-11.30pm and thermostate set at 21 mostly, built up a good amount on meter to help with the winter months but havent used any so far

insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 23:45:53

Gosh you're all brilliant. I have no conservatory or original meter reading. Do dry washing on maiden next to radiator but none in last few days.
Will defo implement the foil behind radiators and possibly get our porch a naice curtaingrin
So tomorrow I phone BG (ignoring the cb next week unless it's an emergency message). Find out my cost per unit. Record reading to find out how much I've used in last 24hrs. Then work out cost by multiplying cubic meters used by cost per unit. Is that right ? Where do the kilowatts come in thenconfused?

insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 23:51:03

Oh Pigletjohn our thermostat is portable but mainly lives in hallway which is next to sump radiator, the only one we can't turn off at wall. I just took it upstairs to baby's room and it went up from 18c to 22c though so maybe needs to be kept in warmer area.

ddubsgirl Fri 18-Jan-13 23:52:30

I'm with utillia would never go back to bg I have 3 bed house with 6 people and use less than £10 week gas £86 is not normal!

That sounds incredibly high. We have a meter, with debt, and we pay around £5 a day. Admittedly that is with only one heater one, but still....I'd be querying that. Do they have a team that can help you cut your costs? Eon do.

Dawndonna Fri 18-Jan-13 23:58:10

Forgot to say earlier. Two experiences of BG.
1) 812 bill for summer quarter. It had been a good summer. Took me 2 years to sort it. It was their dodgy meter. Being a bitch I put it on standing order instead of direct debit so they couldn't increase the amount being taken.

2) One of the best days of my life. So funny. British Gas took my friend to court for non payment of bill. Again, the saga had gone on for 18 months. When the judge asked her why she hadn't paid, she pointed out that the village that she lived in had never had gas. She'd been there 20 years and if he wanted to check the house he was more than welcome to do so. He did. He was lovely, and bloody funny at the summing up. BG looked like complete idiots, oh hang on, they were.

We pay about £80 per month but we do only have ours on for about 8 hours a day.

insprognito Sat 19-Jan-13 00:11:31

Dawndonna that's shocking. I had to get rid of my car last year due to our high gas costs. Its costing as much as our food bill but only now thanks to m.n do I realise how bad it is. At least I now know how to try resolving it.
Am going to bed now thankyou everyone will update tomorrow. If I get this sorted it will make a huge difference to our standard of living.

LineRunner Sat 19-Jan-13 00:23:33

That's madness, OP. It's not normal; it's wrong. Complain, challenge and complain, basically.

PigletJohn Sat 19-Jan-13 00:30:00


You are charged per Kilowatt Hour (a unit of energy) hopefully at about 4.5p

However the gas meter measures cubic metres (volume of gas)

A cubic metre of gas contains about 11kWh of energy.

So (at my estimated prices) 1 unit (cubic metre) on the gas meter would cost (1x11x4.5p) = 49.5p
Plus 25p per day standing charge.

But you need to find out the tariff you are on to find out the actual price per kWh and the daily standing charge amount.

(Electricity meters are graduated in kWh, so the meter reading is multiplied by the price per kWh (about 12p for electricity) to calculate the cost. You should record your elkectricity meter readsings too, at least monthly)

(some very old gas meters measure in units of a hundred cubic feet, which is a different calculation)

YourHandInMyHand Sat 19-Jan-13 10:23:14

OP go onto a price comparison website or two and check out if BG is competitive against the other providers. You can easily swap to prepayment tariff with another supplier.

You might also find it helpful as it shows how much each company charge per unit of energy used, if they have a charge simply for having the prepay meter (some do, some don't), would probably be interesting to see how much it varies.

Mine is Southern Electric too. I swapped over very easily both times I've moved into a house with a prepay meter and had no problems with them.

chipsahoy Sat 19-Jan-13 10:32:57

Try and move suppliers.

BG are terrible, I've used them twice, never ever again. They lied, they said we hadn't paid bills that we had. I moved to Scottish Power and my bill has halved.

No way should you be paying £80 a week to heat your 3 bed home, it's hardly a mansion.

Ridiculous amount, robbing energy suppliers grrr

MikeLitoris Sat 19-Jan-13 10:34:06

piglet gas is normally charged at two rates. The first block of usage is x amount the anything over that is charged at a second rate.

Op you need to check exactly what you are being charged with bgas.

stressedHEmum Sat 19-Jan-13 10:52:22

I have a prepayment meter with Scottish Gas. I live in a tiny, wee mid-terrace with 3 bedrooms and 2 rooms down stairs. we have recently fitted central heating, double glazing and tons of loft insulation. I have the heating on all day at 19 and overnight at 14. (We are in all day and I have ME and can't cope with cold at all.)

At the moment my gas is costing £10 a day for heating and hot water. So I can well believe that £82 per week is an accurate amount. Sorry OP.

PigletJohn Sat 19-Jan-13 10:55:45

the standing charge is very common. Two-rates are not used when there is a standing charge.

Looking at the British Gas prepayment tariff, I only see a standing charge plus single unit price.

Wow that's shocking OP! Just to give you a comparison, some friends of ours live in a massive six bed Victorian terrace with converted basement. They leave every light in the place blazing constantly, tumble dry at least three loads of washing a day and have their heating on full blast 24/7, (the house is like an oven, every room has the radiator turned up to max!). Their energy bill is £280 a month for combined gas and electric, (still shocking, but not considering the amount of energy they must waste!). BG are notorious for mistakes like this, don't let them get away with it!! Good luck!

OHforDUCKScake Sat 19-Jan-13 14:26:37

To see if someone is tapping into your supply could you not make a note of the meter reading, turn off your heating for four hours, then note it again to see if its gone up?

Sorry if someones already suggested it.

insprognito Sat 19-Jan-13 23:53:18

Thanks ohduck am away for evening but will be doing that as soon as I've calculated our normal consumption cost.

It does sound like you are keeping your house very warm at night - agree with those saying turn it down at nighttime.

insprognito Sun 20-Jan-13 01:12:24

Ok just got in a little tipsy. Meter has used 12.3cubic meters. Found a bill we are paying 8.5p per unit. So 12x11x8.5 = £11.22 in 26 hrs! At 18c! It seems to be correct no standing charge but would pay 4.5p after the first 2680kkw. Will need to do some comparisons tomorrow with a clear head.

PigletJohn Sun 20-Jan-13 01:30:55

have a look at your tariff (you may have to go online) and work out how many initial kWh you will be charged per day. The tariff may quote initial units per month or per year, so just divide them by the number of days.

Also see if you would be better off paying 25p per day standing charge plus 4.5p for all kWh.

2680kWh (if that's what you meant) doesn't seem to make sense.

When you say "units" it is extremely important to make sure you mean kWh.

Also find out what you have to do to get off a prepayment meter.

Remember not to compare your daily usage for one cold day with what other people say they pay per month. They are talking an average cost over the year including summer when no heating is used which is entirely different.

cumfy Sun 20-Jan-13 01:43:16

£82 would be around 1500-1600kWh of gas.

That would be equivalent to using 9kW 24/7 for a week.

To keep a small room @ 20C in 0C temperatures can easily be 1kW, a larger room 2kW. So 3 large rooms and 3 small could account for 9kW.

So it is entirely plausible to use this much, if you have on constantly.
I don't think there is (necessarily) a problem with the meter.

The advice you have been given about keeping on all the time is, as your wallet has just discovered, complete bollocks an urban myth.

Only heat the rooms you need.
eg at night turn all the radiators off apart from childrens bedrooms and put thermostat in their room.

cumfy Sun 20-Jan-13 01:59:54

Ok. it seems they are "front-loading" your bill:

You're paying 8.5p until you hit 2680kWh.
Then you'll pay 4.5p.

Basically this is a weird way of paying ~£107 in standing charge/year over the first 2680kWh usage:
.04*2680/365=29p/day (25p+VAT)

They should have explained this to you when they said it was "normal".

Be very careful to ensure you stay on the tariff or get refunded as essentially you will have paid the entire years' standing charge in about one winter's month.

And check your rate is coming down when you hit 2680.

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