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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

TravelinColour Sun 20-Jan-13 00:02:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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)

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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?

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

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.

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.

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