Gas/Elec Bills monthly and SKY - so angry

(42 Posts)
Bakingnovice Tue 04-Dec-12 15:18:31

Oh dear, I am so angry right now. I am trying to cut back and have gone through our bills which DH said he was on top of and there was nothing we could cut back there. So I have been trying to make savings with food shopping and meal planning. However, today I decided to look through our statement and was shocked at finding the following:

1. SKY - we were paying nearly £80 a month. DH said it was less than this and that although we had sports and movies (whihc no one watches!) that it was virtually free as it was on offer. The offer expired months and months ago. So I rang them, got rid of movies and sports, complained about the boradband charge which they then reducted to £5 instead of £7.50 and paid my line rental upfront for the year which went from £14.50 a month to £9.90 a month. Overall saved loads and monthly sky bill is now £37. But I am cross with DH being so laissez faire in his views re SKY tv. Also, when I asked sky why i was being charged £7.50 for broadband and my sis was paying £5 a month he said if people rang in they automatically got the discount and told about paying bills upfront. pfft

2. Gas and electric. We live in a smallish 4 bed detached new-ish build with energy efficient boiler. We have no gas fires or electric fires. But we do have gas central heating. My eyes nearly fell out of the socket when I realised we pay £140 a month for gas and £50 for elec. thats nearly £200 a month! my parents who live in a 4 floor massive terrace pay £300 a quarter and have the gas fire on all day. I rang southern electric who assured me they had accurate meter readings and nothing could be done. I asked her to explain the difference in billing between ours and my parents bill (with same company) and she went off to re-look at our bill. Oh, it seems we are over £200 in credit so she 'kindly' decided our gas bill could be reduced to £100 a month and elec £40. So saved a bit there.

I am angry with myself and DH and these greedy companies. I STILL think our gas/elec bill is too high! We pay £50 a quarter for water which seems ok? but again much more than everyone else I know.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 04-Dec-12 15:47:53

I live in Scotland and our water usage is not metred, (wish it were) our water bill is incorporated into the council tax bill. It's around £300 p.a. for my rate band.

Hope you feel better

wink.

CajaDeLaMemoria Tue 04-Dec-12 15:52:28

Sky are like that. They always give things to people that pester them. I called last week and got a half price subscription, we've got movies and sports for free for 9 months at the moment and they did offer us broadband for £2.50 but we are happy with BT.

It's very irritating, but I suppose if people don't phone up than they pay the higher prices and cover those who get discounts, if you know what I mean.

I can't help with electric and water. Ours seem crazy. We've just moved in, though, so nothing to argue with...it just feels too high for a 2 bed house with 2 people living in, one of whom is out 5 days a week.

vintageviolets Tue 04-Dec-12 15:52:46

£50 a quarter for water?
Mine is £62 a month!

Bakingnovice Tue 04-Dec-12 16:09:06

I was so angry at southern electric charging us so much and I was feeling in keyboard warrior mode sat the computer that I have clicked through MSE and changed suppliers to sainsburys energy. Monthly dual fuel bill now £125 and £30 cashback from moneysupermarket. Cant believe an afternoon of phonecalls has saved me hundreds of pounds. Sorted SKY, sorted utilities bills, now off to re heat my batch cooked meal-planned curry for the kids. I am so quiet usually and non confrontational and I am feeling really empowered today!!! cant believe how much money we just frittered away each month for years.

Vintage - £62 a month seems really really high!

cathpip Tue 04-Dec-12 16:15:48

Hey thank your lucky stars that you were not the Npower sales person on the phone when we opened our quarterly electricity bill for £1600 (they had cocked up) but they still debited my husbands account with £400, hubby put the phone on speaker for me, it was worthy of a chair and tin of chocolates!!

MirandaWest Tue 04-Dec-12 16:16:52

£50 a quarter for water is pretty cheap - I pay £10 a month (going up to £13 in January) which is less than most people I know. Yours is £16.67 or so per month.

PearlyWhites Tue 04-Dec-12 16:34:58

£50 a quarter for water is very cheap we pay £37 a month

Bakingnovice Tue 04-Dec-12 16:47:59

Water rates are so variable.

Oh and southern electric rung to say I'm actually £550 in credit!! The money grabbing bastards. I know it's our fault too. But they've been upping our dd payments periodically and we trusted them to adjust our dd payments in accordance with usage. Hopefully they'll pay it back once we move.

Thank your lucky stars that you are not on a prepayment meter for your gas and electric I pay 80 a month for my electric and 90 for gas. This is too much and I am faced with the possibility it will be either heat or food next week.

With sky they are notorious for offering discounts to those who phone up and complain, I did it myself last week and got my sky tv package down from 21 a month to just 5 for the next three months and after that I will just cancel it and swap my broadband to someone else.

I agree they are all greedy though.

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 04-Dec-12 17:13:48

I dont think men should be in charge of bills really, not unless you are married to martin lewis (he started moneysavingexpert).

While you're on this roll op go and check the thermostat for the hot water. It's probably been set to 70c by the builders but can be lowered to 60c, mines at 55c with no ill effects. Saved me £20 a month doing that.

Find the manual out for the boiler, or download it off the internet and see what it says about boiler effieciency (cannot spell today for toffee) most need to be turned up full to be effecient.

If you use rapid wash cycles on the diswasher or washing machine use the eco cycle instead, again check the manuals. On mine it's more electric to wash on 30 than 40 shock.

I'm in a similar boat with BT (Bastard Twats), I want to change but I will lose all my line rental I paid upfront thinking I was being carefull with money and they want £120ish to cancel angry. I'm counting down to June 2013 when I can leave and go to Sky for my Broadband.

Well done for getting it sorted, a lot of people dont through sheer apathy or ignorance. FIL wont change his car insurance as he is convinced you lose all the no claims discount if you move companies.

SleighbellsRingInYourLife Tue 04-Dec-12 17:19:42

I'm not married to Martin Lewis, but DH is way better at this stuff than I.

Bakingnovice Tue 04-Dec-12 18:16:01

Ghostgo I really hope you are able to eat and stay warm over the coming week. These bills are crippling.

Fluffy - next stop is the boiler. I've gone through our direct debits now it's into other savings. I'm so angry at Dh as I cannot understand why he would open annual bill saying we are over £500 in credit and calmly hole punch and file away in a folder no one ever checks!! His idea of being on top of everything is obviously to file it all neatly away and never check anything. I only handed control of finances over when pregnant as my brain was mush. I'm going to try and keep on top of it but with meal
Planning, batch cooking, shopping, cleaning, telling everyone 10000 a day to 'close the door', 'switch the light off' I feel like I'm the only one holding everything together. Love Dh but it's hard to feel like you are the only responsible mature adult in the family!

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 04-Dec-12 19:10:52

You get used to that feeling ok.

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 04-Dec-12 19:11:37

op not ok

Bakingnovice Wed 05-Dec-12 11:24:00

Thanks fluffy. Another shock today. Hubby got it wrong re water bill. It's £51 a month not quarter!!!!! Bloody hell. I've rung water company and they are sending us inserts. They also suggested using a dishwasher if we have one as one cycle costs 4-13 p and washing up
In the sink costs loads more. Am going to try and use dishwasher more. And am praying the inserts help.

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 05-Dec-12 14:56:23

£51 a month? When we had a meter it was £13 a month for us two.

See this is why I stopped DH doing bills and food shopping.

Tap inserts saved me £5 a quarter but obviously with a family you will use more so will save more too. If you have a shower that's not electric then you can get shower inserts to, they regulate flow same as the tap inserts.

I'm surprised you dont already have tap inserts, some one in our family bought a new build house and it has water saving everything.

Moneysavingexpert has advice on lowering water bills.

What does he have to say for himself?

MirandaWest Wed 05-Dec-12 15:00:51

I think where you are makes a big difference with water costs - in the southwest it is a lot more for instance.

HorraceTheChristmasOtter Wed 05-Dec-12 15:14:11

Ghosts, was your meter adjusted to claim debt from a previous tenant? That's really quite high! I'm on a prepaid meter and it's £40 a month gas and £20 electric. We're in an end of terrace too, so the house looses quite a bit of heat and gets cold very easily.

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 05-Dec-12 15:27:39

There was another m'ner who had a really high water bill and she got the water board out who found the meter wasnt connected properly.

If you switch the water off at the stopcock (usually under the sink) and take a reading and leave it off for an hour then go back and check it hasnt moved on while the waters off.

I really don't know, I've been here for six years and I've changed suppliers several times but it makes no difference

SoftKittyWarmKitty Wed 05-Dec-12 22:02:23

OP, you have every right to your £500 back from the utilities company. You don't have to wait until you move to another company - just ring up and state that you want the credit returning to your bank account with immediate effect. A few months ago I realised I was £112 in credit to EDF so I rang and told them I'd like it returning to my bank account. I think it took about a week. I now read my own meters monthly and input the readings online so my account is always accurate.

I would be absolutely furious with your DH by the way. £80 per month just for Sky, ffs. angry

Bakingnovice Wed 05-Dec-12 23:48:37

Oh I've forgiven Dh. To think I trusted him to deal with our finances! Never again. In up north so you'd think our water bill would be cheaper. The girl I spoke to said our supply wasn't connected to anyone else's and they had an automatic device on it which checked for leaks. Will go out tmrw and check myself. It's soul destroying though. You save as much as you can on spends but the bills are crippling and there's no way you can stop using water/gas/electric. My heart goes out to
People who are struggling. I can see exactly why many people suffer such hardships.

Bakingnovice Wed 05-Dec-12 23:50:02

Soft kitty thank you for this info. The bastards told me they would have to keep it there as winter bills were likely to be high! I'll ring in the morning.

onlyhannah Fri 07-Dec-12 11:14:03

Ahhh this has reminded me I need to check mine... I really struggle to cover all my bills every month and I am single.. you women are warriors - well done!

SoftKittyWarmKitty Fri 07-Dec-12 14:39:35

Baking did you get your money back?

Bakingnovice Sun 09-Dec-12 14:17:08

SOftkitty they haven't paid it yet. Will it make a difference with me trying to cut back my usage if my bill is based on rates anyway? I read somewhere that reducing water usage only affects the bill if you are on a meter.

For anyone thinking of cutting back, do it today. Go through all your bills and try and go through each one to see if you can make savings. It's worth the hour of your time.

bureni Sun 09-Dec-12 14:24:23

To hell with Sky, why does anyone pay to watch that rubbish on top of their license fee? and why do people pay for water on top of their council tax/rates, I certainly would not.

FoofFighter Sun 09-Dec-12 14:32:08

They advise you to keep some in credit as obviously you use more in winter and you don't want to be underpaying and get hit with a huge bill . Tthe way the payments are worked out on the computer, if you have a large credit returned to you your monthly payments will go up most likely at this time of the year. Companies are bound by government guidelines to do everything they can to reduce debts or potential debts for their customers and can be fined tens of thousands of pounds if they don't.

Best thing anyone can do to make sure their payments are accurate and covering what they use is to keep entering your meter readings on a monthly basis.

TickleMyTitsTillFriday Sun 09-Dec-12 14:34:22

My water is £130 a month. Because south west water are thieving bastards.

TickleMyTitsTillFriday Sun 09-Dec-12 14:36:08

I got a gas bill last week and was £123 in credit, they automatically paid it into my bank account. It was a lovely surprise!

That was southern electric.

Bakingnovice Sun 09-Dec-12 14:53:40

£130 a month! Bloody hell tickle. That's huge.
My sister pays £16 a month. Same town a few streets away. Teenage kids who are forever in and out of the shower and bath. Washing machine going all day, washing dishes up to three times a day. The discrepancy in bills is just crazy.

SoftKittyWarmKitty Sun 09-Dec-12 16:04:23

I'm not on a water meter and I pay £32 per month for water (3 bed terrace housing just me and DS). No idea what I would pay on a meter but it's rented anyway so not sure I can fit one. Bureni are you saying that you don't pay any water rates at all? If so, how?

From what you said, I assume you rang and asked for the money back, Baking. I had a credit repaid to me and my monthly direct debit hasn't risen - why would it? I'm clearly paying more than I need to, so in summer when I don't use the heating I'm vastly overpaying, hence the credit. I agree with inputting meter readings every month, I do that so I know exactly where I am.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 09-Dec-12 20:06:13

Are you on a water meter OP?

Bakingnovice Mon 10-Dec-12 10:09:13

This is so embarrassing fluffy but I don't know if I'm meteredor not!! We have a meter outside our house but I don't know if we pay rates or according to the meter. When I rang the water co they discussed our usage and told us where we could check our meter but I don't know if we pay per usage according to meter. I'm ringing today to check. I know I sound pathetic. We've been here 13 years!

TrillsCarolsOutOfTune Mon 10-Dec-12 10:24:20

Well done for getting started on all of this.

I know it's daunting at first.

You should also check your home insurance and car insurance (and what you pay for AA membership or similar) - if you stay with the same company they will just put it up every year and say "this is the renewal rate".

Moneysavingexpert has lots of good advice

Some gas/elec companies give you vouchers or similar when you switch to them, but you should make the decision based on which would give yo the best deal overall.

When buying insurance always check if you can get cashback from topcashback or similar - we got £50 off our AA membership (based on already-cheap online prices, ending up much less than the "renewal amount" that they sent to us). This is also good for online shopping in general, just click through from the cashback site to the site where you want to buy stuff, you get some money in your account which can either be sent to your bank account or turned into Amazon vouchers.

(or if you'd rather not use my referral link you can click www.topcashback.co.uk instead)

why do people pay for water on top of their council tax/rates, I certainly would not.

Well you'd have no water supply then if you were here Bureni wink

Baking, it sounds like you are on a metre. You will probably pay a fixed amount each month, with bills for actual usage issued quarterly, if they were suggesting cutting down usage to reduce the bills. Also think most new builds are on metres.

Good luck with it all, its worth a good sort through bills on a regular basis I think.

BananaPie Mon 10-Dec-12 22:01:05

Agree with bureni - I can't see why anyone pays for sky when you get loads of channels on freesat or freeview which are free!

OnTheBottomWithAStringOfTinsel Mon 10-Dec-12 22:12:09

Lidl here in Ireland are doing a satellite decoder and dish for €59.

It probably costs about the same to get the dish fitted.

Mine has all the main channels for free.

So €120 total payout, vs £80 per month - that's a saving of about £800 a year.

higgle Tue 11-Dec-12 11:32:58

I can't understand why people have Sky at all, cheap internet + freeview is quite adequate if you are trying to save money.

emma16 Tue 11-Dec-12 15:26:49

I think we need to look into a water meter, we pay £56 a month which i think is extortionate!! Yorkshire water we're with. As for Sky, do not get me started on that, we pay a completely ridiculous amount of money to them & if it was down to me id rip the lot out & put a freeview box but apparently that's my DH luxury as he doesn't smoke, only goes out maybe twice a month to the local pub, doesn't really spend any money on himself as such...altho i could argue the Sky bill as his spends on himself & maybe i should go & do the same???
Think i need to give them a call though & have a good old moan, see what happens!!

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 11-Dec-12 15:31:33

You'll find the water companies delighted to put a meter in, people use less so their supplies last longer.

Dont forget to check the water boards website for free tap inserts, shower inserts and hippo water savers.

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