electric challenge?

(58 Posts)
StephenFrySaidSo Mon 09-Sep-13 13:29:39

I've decided to set myself a challenge to get my electric bill down from currently over £15 a week to £10 (less would be great) not a great amount but every little helps and this is more about me changing my habits although the extra £5 will be a help tbh.

currently I am really lax about leaving things switched on when not in use. the tv, modem, playstation and freeview box are all switched on from around 8am til I go to bed anywhere between 11pm and 1am. I can have the radio on in the kitchen and bedroom at the same time if i'm cleaning, putting laundry away etc. I also have a dehumidifier which is on 24/7 even if the clothes are already dry! I leave the washing machine, kettle, laptop and phone charger all switched on at the plug even when not in use. in short- i'm haemorrhaging money through electicity waste.

so I have decided to set myself some rules. there is ds1 (8), ds2 (4) and myself.
1) no electric (apart from fridge) between 9am and 4pm. this will mean all my cleaning and laundry will have to be done before we leave for school in the morning. also, I will boil the kettle at breakfast and fill a flask for my tea during the day and at lunch. dcs are at school until 2pm (from next week- 12 this week for ds2) so it's just me to make lunch for and that can be sandwiches, salads, fruit etc.
2) limiting myself to either being on the laptop OR watching tv- not both at the same time.
3) limiting dcs to 1 hour of tv/playstation time per day
4) setting a timer for charging my phone and heating the water so I only use the electric that I need
5) switching everything off as soon as I finish using it
6) radio only on whilst i'm in the room it's in
7) use the washing line as much as possible when dry and dehumidifier only when raining out. also use the heat from the airing cupboard to 'air' the clothes after the washing line rather than overnight with the dehumid on.
8) keep a daily record of electric used on the calendar.

that's all I can think that I need to do to reduce electric use. feel free to join me with your own challenge or give me any tips you might have although I don't mind if nobody does, i'm really just using this as a record of my challenge to see how i'm doing and keep me on track.

oh i'm going to start tomorrow morning. wish me luck! smile

MrsPnut Mon 09-Sep-13 13:42:05

See if your electricity company will give you an electricity monitor. We got one a few years ago and our consumption went down by almost half because I can see at a glance how much electric is being used.

I make it my mission to get it as low as possible and you can tell which lights are more expensive than others etc.

ontheallotment Mon 09-Sep-13 13:55:29

turning things off that aren't being used (phone chargers etc) will make minimal savings. Setting a timer for heating the water will make a big difference, as will reducing the time the dehumidifier runs. Boiling the kettle when you need hot water (ie at lunch and tea time as well as breakfast) wont cost more as long as you only boil the amount of water you actually need each time, so unless your flask means you use less hot water through the day you won't actually save (unless you currently fill the kettle each time when you reallly only need 1 cup, in which case you can make the saving by just boiling a cups worth each time).

Good luck!

StephenFrySaidSo Mon 09-Sep-13 14:02:07

thanks mrspnut I've just emailed them to ask for one. couldn't see any offers for them on the website.

that's good to know ontheallotment. I do tend to have too much water in the kettle when I boil it, I also am guilty of boiling it and then forgetting ive boiled it for half an hour then coming back and reboiling it, or pouring my tea and forgetting about it while it brews so at least the flask will get rid of that issue.

ontheallotment Mon 09-Sep-13 14:21:46

I forget I've boiled the kettle too now you mention it - perhaps the flask does have some merit...

specialsubject Mon 09-Sep-13 15:01:42

only boil as much water as you need.

turn OFF that dehumidifier, get your washing outside. Washing can dry outside through the year as long as it isn't raining. If it is raining, don't do washing. Cheaper to buy a few more knickers!

be much more careful about your water heating.

those are the big ones. All the rest are good but the above are your major money wasters.

Mum2Fergus Mon 09-Sep-13 16:10:07

I only ever charge phone in car or at work lol switch off cooker and microwave (both have clocks which use power, and constant flashing annoys me lol), no alarm clock use alarm on phone instead. Unplug everything but fridge and Sky box if heading out and at bedtime. Heating on timer but will click it off if not required.

Mum2Fergus Mon 09-Sep-13 16:25:20

Check the thermostat for your water too, in our last house it was left at max by installers, I turned down to half what it was and it was still sufficiently hot for shower.

AllDirections Mon 09-Sep-13 16:36:43

I never turn the tv/modem/freeview box off at the socket unless I'm going away.

Will it make much difference turning them all off overnight?

StephenFrySaidSo Mon 09-Sep-13 16:37:58

good tip about charging phone in car and turning the thermostat for the water down. I work in people's homes so wouldn't charge my phone there.

another thing I've done is to take 4 of the 5 bulbs out of the light in the living room. i don't use the main light in the evening, i use a lamp but sometimes just need a bit of extra light if i'm reading and I've found that one bulb in the ceiling light is plenty bright enough.

StephenFrySaidSo Mon 09-Sep-13 16:40:02

i don't know alldirections, i haven't worked out the cost of running them on standby. i'm hoping it makes a difference anyway.

Thatsinteresting Mon 09-Sep-13 19:37:33

Try your local library for an energy monitor. Ours hire them out for 3 weeks at a time free of charge. It means you can work out what's costing money (heating anything!) and what's not too bad. I worked out that leaving our tv on standby every night costs us around £7 a year so not a huge saving. However, when I finally bought a tumble dryer I was really worried about what it would do to the energy bill, even though it's rated A++. So I made a big effort to boil a flask full of water at a time and use that as it means you don't have to keep heating the actual kettle and when my bill arrived my consumption had gone down by £5 a month so it's worth doing.

StephenFrySaidSo Mon 09-Sep-13 20:30:38

thanks thatsinteresting that is something i didn't know about the library so i wll call in tomorrow and ask if they do it.

confusedofengland Wed 11-Sep-13 15:51:58

Watching this thread with interest, as we have just bought a new house & have been told we have to wait until 22nd October for our meters to be switched from prepayment to standard (even though we are eligible) shock

YoureBeingADick Wed 11-Sep-13 15:59:37

just a wee update. I started yesterday morning but forgot to check the meter to see what the credit was at so I check at lunchtime when I remembered and then today at roughly the same time and it had gone down by £1.51 which is a good drop from over £2 that it usually is- some days it can be £3! however I discovered yesterday morning that I don't actually own a flask! I used to but must have lost it at some stage over the last few years and house moves. so i'm just boiling enough for a cuppa each time. another thing that will have kept the usage low is that because it is raining I didn't do a washload like usual.

I got an email back from electric company saying their monitors are available to purchase so I will wait and see the library have any- i'm not going to buy one.

Mum2Fergus Wed 11-Sep-13 17:23:09

That's a great result OP, well done you!

YoureBeingADick Wed 11-Sep-13 18:29:40

thank you- it will be a good saving if I can maintain more or less that figure per day.

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 11-Sep-13 20:29:09

Asda are good for big flasks.

Well done for getting it down so quickly.

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 11-Sep-13 20:30:25

Asda are good for big flasks.

Well done for getting it down so quickly.

goodasitgets Wed 11-Sep-13 20:32:31

My electric bill is around £15 a month. I'm a little obsessive grin

YoureBeingADick Wed 11-Sep-13 20:34:59

£15 a month!! how? what size of house and how many of you living there?

and please share your tips! grin

goodasitgets Wed 11-Sep-13 20:38:56

Oops just noticed - I am billed not metered
2 bed, 2 bath apartment, open plan living room kitchen. Heating is gas and hob but cooker electric
Energy saving light bulbs everywhere. Everything except fridge and freeview switched off when I'm not in. Never leave lights on

goodasitgets Wed 11-Sep-13 20:39:38

Oh and I don't have a tumble dryer

YoureBeingADick Wed 11-Sep-13 20:43:42

right you have made me even more determined to get this right down! don't think I could get it to £15 per month though that's 50p a day!

are you out of the house all day?

YoureBeingADick Wed 11-Sep-13 20:44:10

do you have dcs?

goodasitgets Wed 11-Sep-13 20:46:09

No DC, I work shifts so can be in all day or out, it depends
Average electric is £45 over 3 months and my gas is usually £60 over 3 months

YoureBeingADick Wed 11-Sep-13 20:52:18

my heating is OFCH so shouldn't really affect my electric. but the oil is working out at around £50 a month, probably definitely will go up over winter.

goodasitgets Wed 11-Sep-13 21:00:11

I do drive people mad. (To my friend) "turn that bloody microwave off. No at the plug! I'm not paying it to tell the time!"
"Why's this light on? Blackpool illuminations running low?"

YoureBeingADick Wed 11-Sep-13 21:04:44

sound like my dad! grin

MinimalistMommi Fri 13-Sep-13 13:59:51

Have you got a shower timer? I 'allow' myself 5 mins for a shower. It will save electric as you're heating less water.

YoureBeingADick Fri 13-Sep-13 14:28:32

the shower isn't electric, it just is a connection to the bath taps and is heated from the hot water tank so that water is already heated IWSWIM. but yes I do limit myself and can be in and out of the shower in 1 minute when not washing hair,2-3 if washing.

I've had to use the dehumid yesterday as the rain was just going on too long and I needed to get washing done as it builds up so the usage was £1.84 from yesterday til today. I have been slacking a bit with leaving radio and tv on when not using it so I do think there is room for more saving.

I have an immersion heater for hot water / baths. So does my friend.

My electricity bill is around £90 per month shock, and my friend's is about £40 per month.

We worked out that the main difference between us was that I have my immersion heater on for maybe 15 hours a week, but she has her immersion on for only 4 hrs per week.

So I'm really trying to be more diligent about only having it switched on when I need it, and remembering to turn it straight off afterwards.

YoureBeingADick Tue 17-Sep-13 10:07:08

wow that is a big difference. 15 hours a week is over 2 hours per day- does it need to be on that long everyday for all the hot water you use?

i'm hovering around the £1.50 a day mark at the minute. that's down to the washing machine and dehumidifier as we have had solid rain for the past 3 days and there is no way I can not do washing. still room for tweaking though as dcs are not good at switching lights/tv etc off. so must get more frequent with the nagging grin

BrownSauceSandwich Wed 18-Sep-13 21:19:46

Goodasitgets, I do that with the microwave clock... Ours would cost about £50/year. Fifty f£&king quid! There's a proper clock in the kitchen, which has been running on the same AA battery since we moved house 6 years ago.

Family gets a bit sick of me freaking out about the lights being left on, but I think they're gradually learning.

NannyR Wed 18-Sep-13 22:18:35

I recently got one of the free monitors from British gas. I found that my induction hob was costing 1p an hour on standby. By switching it off at the wall when I'm not using it I'm saving £1.75 a week.

Joycey29 Fri 20-Sep-13 18:19:14

Been lurking!
Where can I get a good electricity monitor if I'm not with British Gas?

YoureBeingADick Sun 22-Sep-13 23:26:09

Quick update as ive just realised that my electric ran out today after me topping up £10 last sunday!grin That was the target so im happy but ive seen how easy it is to reduce and i definitely have room for more as ive slacked a bit so i'm going to keep this thread going and see how low i can get it without feeling like life isnt pleasant anymore.

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 23-Sep-13 21:52:58

You could try for £8 a week. Well done though.

YoureBeingADick Mon 23-Sep-13 23:07:48

I think i'm going to try for £7 fluffy just because there are 7 days in a week and it would irritate me immensely that 8 doesn't divide nicely by 7 grin (I know £10 doesn't either but it was a nice round number so that's ok- yes I do have issues with numbers blush)

I remember when ds1 was a baby and it was just he and I ( 8 years ago) I put £30 in the meter a month and often had some left at the end of the month. and I wasn't at all careful about switching things off. although back then I had no internet, freeview, PS3 etc. and as he was a baby he wasn't switching anything on and then forgetting about it. I was also out of the house at work everyday aswell though.

anyway- i'll give it a fair go and report back to you all. thanks for encouragement.

jemjelly Wed 02-Oct-13 22:00:31

My electricity is currently £270 per month shock there are 3 of us, 2 adults and a child in a small and drafty 3 bed terrace house. I need to drastically reduce my bills as EON are making us have a meter from next week.

Problem is my DH has an OCD, he washes constantly and the washing machine is usually on at least three times a day but can this really be making our bills so high, I cant believe the difference from my bills to yours. Does anyone know what the average usage is? I am wondering if there is something wrong with our supply.

YoureBeingADick Wed 02-Oct-13 22:10:58

my goodness! yes 3 washes a day will be having a massive effect on your bill! i'd try and tackle that first and foremost- is he having treatment for his compulsive behaviours?

I haven't been doing so well this last week or so- the horrible rain has meant dehumidifier on everyday but I have been very good about turning it off after 12 hours rather than leaving it on constantly. also- yesterday and new energy company came round with a cheaper rate so I registered an interest and they're going to ring me next week.

also I am getting new curtain poles put up (hopefully this weekend as I don't have any atm) and i'm going to try drying clothes on hangers from the poles instead of the dehumidifier on wet days so that should make a difference.

jemjelly Wed 02-Oct-13 22:19:54

He is having treatment for his OCD but to be honest I don't hold much hope of our situation changing anytime soon, he has suffered from this for years.

I try and dry the washing outside when I can but often end up drying it in the tumble dryer as we run out of drying space in the house when the weather is bad.

Things need to change hugely as there is no way I can afford to carry on paying this.

Charlesroi Wed 02-Oct-13 23:08:47

Wow jamjelly that bill is huge. I'd guess it is mostly your washing/tumble drying causing the problem, so I think you have to stop using the drier..
Could you buy another airer or two and stick them in the bath or shower?
Make sure the washes are the most energy efficient e.g. 30 deg (there's no way most stuff can be dirty enough for a hot wash)
Have you got low energy light bulbs?
Is your heating electric? Any chance of savings there?
Can EON/charities offer any help with your bill, given your DH's condition?

Bunbaker Wed 02-Oct-13 23:16:38

Perhaps you need to switch supplier. Our electricity bill is £23 a month.
I have a dishwasher and tumble dryer. We have various computers/laptops/TVs, but they don't get left on. We switch everything off when not in use and don't use the standby option.

BackforGood Wed 02-Oct-13 23:19:02

Jemjelly - even with 3 loads a day, that really is a massive bill. I have a big, 4 storey, drafty old high ceilinged Victorian house, with 3 teens who all apparently need to be plugged in to at least 3 electrical devices each to survice, who all leave lights and things on all the time, and I tumble dry a lot, and our gas and electricity combined isn't anywhere near £270. I'd take some weekly (or daily) meter readings and see what you are actually using, as that's is high

Monty27 Wed 02-Oct-13 23:24:09



I have a digital radio that I don't turn off, the internet stays on, what about my electric alarm clock??????


I wonder if Piglet John will read this and can give any advice?


Monty27 Wed 02-Oct-13 23:25:12

That was not supposed to be a grin it was supposed to be shock

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 03-Oct-13 07:11:06

LED lightbulbs are the way to go, I get mine off ledhut.co.uk with cashback off topcashback.

When we moved in the kitchen lights alone used 500w, now they use 44w.

jellyjem Thu 03-Oct-13 21:42:28

Right .. I am getting our bills down, didnt realise how out of the ordinary our bills were until i read this. All our washes are done on the fast ecconomy wash on the machine which is 30 degrees and only takes around 45 minutes. Our heating is gas (which I think we will have to do without this year). I have brought 2 more airers to dry all the washing.

Our oven is electric with gas hobs.

We don't have economy light bulbs in all the fitting but I am very careful to turn them off when we leave a room. I never urn standby's off but it seems that should not contribute all that much to our huge bill.

When we have the meter fitted I am going to keep a very close eye on things. I need to ask Eon to check the meter too don't I, thing is we have been paying a lot for our usage for years and I just thought this was normal.

I phoned npower to give a meter reading today and on the positive side, I'm now at £200 over 3 months instead of £90 per month.

Also .... I didn't realise this, but if even if you're in arrears, they will switch you over to a better tariff if you ask them. I'm now on their fixed online tariff instead of the standard tariff and it's quite a bit cheaper. The price is fixed until 2014, but you can leave anytime, so OK for anyone renting I guess, not just homeowners.

smile smile

Charlesroi Mon 07-Oct-13 21:03:33

jellyjem get them to check the supply(and that you're only paying for your own property) - that can't be right. I suppose it might be a temporary repayment of debt but still ...I sort of assumed you were running electric heating or something
I suppose you could try turning everything off and see if the meter still whizzes round?

YoureBeingADick Thu 17-Oct-13 23:18:13

Havent updated this in over a fortnight so thought i would.

I have succeeded in getting my daily electric usage to between £7 and £8 per week! grin

Non laundry days im using around 80pence and laundry days around £1.50 ish

Laundry i have cut from 7/8 washes a week with dehumidifier on 24/7 to 3 washes a week all on the same day (unless uniforms really need done) so dehumidifier on only for 24 hours in a week. This has made the biggest difference i think.

Other things like switching stuff off i am more vigilant but still room for savings there. Water is on a timer of 45 minutes morning and 45 evening. This is the minimum time it can be set for but it actually works out as just about right for our needs. Although there are evenings the dcs dont get baths so i could cut out the evening timer for possibly 3/4 nights. Will try that this week coming. Actually might just switch timer off and heat water as needed. Will have to get up earlier to switch on but ah well. grin

And i can honestly say we havent noticed any negative impact on our comfort levels at home. We have lights when we need them, hot water when we need it, clean clothes and hot meals. Definitely glad ive tried this.

Thinking i could set a new target of £5 a week?

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 18-Oct-13 07:50:12

If you get the chance to switch to led lights do it, they use very little energy and prices are falling fast. My kitchen lights used 550w when we moved in (the builders put 50w in each fitting shock) now it runs on 44w.

You've done brilliantly though.

YoureBeingADick Fri 18-Oct-13 09:24:47

Thanks fluffy. Do LED lights require new light fittings?(im renting) or are they just like normal bulbs?

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 18-Oct-13 09:44:25

There just like normal bulbs. Ledhut.co.uk do good deals plus you can get cashback from topcashback of 20% or so. Sometimes it's lower so I gt them to match quidco if they have a better offer.

YoureBeingADick Fri 18-Oct-13 10:37:32

Thank you that is great fluffy.

Charlesroi Fri 18-Oct-13 10:52:47

Lidl have occasional offers on LED bulbs too. I bought a 3w screw-in table lamp one for £4.99 a couple of weeks ago.

Just checked and they have another offer on this week - Phillips E27, E14 or GU10 @ 2 for £14 (or £7.99 each).

YoureBeingADick Fri 18-Oct-13 11:50:53

ah brilliant Charles thank you. will head down to lidl today.

also forgot to say last night that I switched my electric provider this week to budget energy and unit price is now 15.68p down from 17.58p so that should make a difference too.

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