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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.

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!

ScarletLady02 Fri 18-Jan-13 23:55:18

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.

fanoftheinvisibleman Sat 19-Jan-13 00:00:05

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.

prayingmantisgroupie Sat 19-Jan-13 13:57:36

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.

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