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Don't understand my gas usage.....

(24 Posts)
BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Wed 01-Feb-17 16:24:01

I live in a 3 bedroom bungalow, just me and my DS and it's not big by any stretch. I have a Potterton Flamingo boiler which is about 30 years old. Anyway, my combined gas and electric was £97 per month (42 elec and 55 gas) and in September SSE put my gas bill dd payments up to £109 making total payment every month £151. My contract is due to finish in Feb so I took meter readings, phoned them through and SSE are telling me even with paying £109 a month I am now £350 in arrears.

I only have the boiler on during the evenings and weekends and maybe for an hour in the morning before I go to work. I control everything by the thermostat as I thought this was more effective than keep turning it on and off by the controls. My meter measures in cubic feet and apparently I am using 10 cubic feet of gas per day which I have a feeling is quite high.

This has really stressed me out, I'm a single parent, get no support from EXH financially and I just can't afford anymore than the £109 I'm already paying. Does this usage sound a lot? I'm wondering whether the boiler is losing efficiency as it's so old but I can't afford a new one and I don't qualify for any help. I turned the thermostat right down this morning and am going to check when I get home how much the meter has gone up and then tomorrow I am going to turn off the controls altogether to see if that makes a difference. My colleague pays £75 per month gas and electric combined and she lives in a big 3 bedroom house so I'm paying double living in a small bungalow and I really don't understand how this is possible.

Sorry, that was a bit long and boringblush

donajimena Wed 01-Feb-17 16:26:26

Have you looked into grants to replace the boiler?

donajimena Wed 01-Feb-17 16:27:07

Ah yes I see you did blush

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Wed 01-Feb-17 16:28:49

Dona - yes I filled in some surveys etc, not heard back but don't think I will qualify for help but I live in hope thank you smile

ineedamoreadultieradult Wed 01-Feb-17 16:29:59

Is that actually how much you are using though? Lots of people compare DDs with other people then think they are using too much or paying too much. Are your bills actual or estimated? Are you paying back a debt from this or a previous account or property?

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Wed 01-Feb-17 16:32:06

Ineed I was paying £55 gas and then in June the meter was read and a while later then doubled my payment to £109. Been paying £109 since September and now they are saying with the reading I have given them I am £350 in arrears.

ineedamoreadultieradult Wed 01-Feb-17 16:33:48

Check your bills or call them and see if part of your payments are going to pay back now arrears which is sounds like they are. As standard they will try and recover debt over 6 or 12 months but if you call and say this is unaffordable they can spread the debt over up to 36 months.

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Wed 01-Feb-17 16:37:17

Thanks, I have been speaking to them, they're not that great. I'm just fed up because I think they are expensive and I can't leave them now without having to pay up £350 which I can't do. I'll wait for them to contact me after the reading and see what they can do for me. Thank you.

ineedamoreadultieradult Wed 01-Feb-17 16:39:47

I don't work for them but a similar company they can definitely help you spread the balance better and should be helping you access help with the boiler as well. Good luck.

user1485706893 Wed 01-Feb-17 16:47:50

Get a smart meter, gas companys always put up payments when they shouldn't when you pay by direct debit. Check online if you're in credit with them and I almost bet my life that you are. At least with a smart meter you pay for what you use.

user1485706893 Wed 01-Feb-17 16:49:05

Also sse are very expensive as are NPower (I'd never recommend npower). I moved 5 times in 2 years and the best one I've come across us Utilita. Don't be afraid to shop around. Changing is easy.

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Wed 01-Feb-17 16:50:42

User I would love to shop around but worried I will be landed with a bill for the £350 they say I am in arrears of. Will definitely get a smart meter though thank you

ineedamoreadultieradult Wed 01-Feb-17 16:52:26

A smart meters won't make her DD less unless she has not had an actual bill and it's all based on estimates which it's not as she said she just provided reads. Also it is easy to switch unless you are in arrears in which case they can reject the request to move until the arrears are paid off.

user1485706893 Wed 01-Feb-17 16:54:50

I'd ask them to send evidence of this debt. Get an up to date reading, Check online, get them to send it in writing and don't be bullied into anything you think is fishy. If it is wrong you can take it to an ombudsman. NPower ripped me off for £500 after I was in credit with them by that much, then I left, they told me I was on the wrong plan and said I owed them the same amount I was in credit by. Convienient huh. If I knew then what I know now I wouldn't have let it lie! Sorry, I hate energy companies lol!

specialsubject Thu 02-Feb-17 14:02:57

What tariff are you on? What is your unit rate and standing charge? Can you do better by staying with the same company on a different tariff?

Also start monitoring by sending monthly readings.

NotMeNoNo Fri 03-Feb-17 09:20:33

Most people use nearly all their gas in the winter. Mine is 2000 kWh April- Oct and 12000 kWh the cold half of the year. In total it's about £600 per year for gas, but I pay it in equal instalments. In cu ft that's 48000 / yr.

However 10 cubic feet/day sounds a bit low, that would be our summer usage but winter is over 60 cuft/day. What is the total gas you used between June and the latest reading?

When you say your boiler is on, is that for hot water or heating or both?
You aren't inadvertently leaving your heating on all day? Also have you got roof insulation? Your house might be leaking heat and you might get a grant for that.

You may be able to switch to the cheapest tariff SSE do - may be an online fix or something, whilst you spread the repayments, without moving supplier. I don't change supplier each time, I just look for the cheapest tariff mine offers and it's usually within a few £ of the cheapest one on Uswitch.

Meters or suppliers can make mistakes so you're right to check.

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Fri 03-Feb-17 16:36:54

The boiler is on for both heating and hot water but I turn the thermostat down so that the heating isn't actually on. I didn't know it was a cubic feet meter (just looked at numbers, didn't give it much thought) but I'm checking it every day and it uses about 10.

Yeah I think I will just have to stay with SSE but ask to go down to the cheapest tarrif I can and just get the arrears paid off gradually.

ToastieRoastie Sun 05-Feb-17 09:28:59

If it's an old boiler and you leave it on, aren't you continuously heating the hot water tank? Even if the heating is off?

I thought combi boilers where you get hot water on demand were relatively new. Older systems relied on water tanks.

DontstepontheMomeRaths Sun 05-Feb-17 09:42:13

As the boiler is so old do you have a tank in the loft heated for hot water? Can you make sure it heats the water for a couple of hours first thing for showers and washing up and a couple of hours at night only?

DontstepontheMomeRaths Sun 05-Feb-17 09:42:46

Cross posted with toastie!

dementedpixie Mon 20-Feb-17 17:55:03

You aren't leaving the hot water on all the time are you? It will still be heating the water no matter what your thermostat is set at. I have mine on for a couple of hours a day and that's plenty.

dementedpixie Mon 20-Feb-17 17:57:21

I also have the heating on a timer plus the thermostat so it's not on all the time either and is off completely overnight

MrsMoastyToasty Mon 20-Feb-17 18:03:41

Direct debits amounts are always a prediction of what you are going to use over the next 12 months based on your previous history of usage combined with any shortfall that you may have incurred if last year's direct debit wasn't high enough.

Lottie4 Tue 21-Feb-17 11:06:20

They probably put your gas bill up as they assessed you were badly in arrears and using more than anticipated. They shared the deficit over 12 months, so you've only reduced arrears by approx six months. Also, we''re in the winter on maximum consumption.

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