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Really high energy bills

(17 Posts)
sallyshirt Mon 31-Aug-20 11:38:17

My elderly FIl lives alone in a detached 4 bed house house. It's fairly modern, and have double glazing etc.
He lives very frugally, doesn't have the heating on much, short showers, doesn't use the oven etc.
His bills are £180 pm. (Gas & electric)

I live in a 3 bed period semi (but it's well insulated) with 2ds and dh. My bills are £55pm.

I can't believe the difference!

My FIL does switch energy companies every year or so to get better deals.
Is there any way his meters are broken/reading wrong?
I help him with the readings, the bills are not estimated.

OP’s posts: |
Mintjulia Mon 31-Aug-20 11:49:11

That seems very high. Does he have the temperature set to 21 degrees night and day? I assume he doesn't work so is there a lot.

Have you checked the lofts are insulated. That he doesn't have the immersion heater turned on full time. Is his boiler very old. Might be worth considering a new one. Does he have a gas leak?

Or is there a cannabis farm in the spare room? grin

sallyshirt Mon 31-Aug-20 17:52:00

Doesn't have the central heating on unless it's very cold.
Has good loft insulation
No cannabis farm
Immersion heater is never on as he doesn't take baths and uses an electric shower
Boiler is under 10 years old.

Is there an energy charity I can contact, he is really struggling to pay his bills - and is getting into debt.

He can't/won't sell the house, his wife died last year and there's too many memories of their happy life together in that house - he would never move.

OP’s posts: |
Mintjulia Tue 01-Sep-20 00:43:06

Can you request a smart meter? It might explain.

ginginchinchin Tue 01-Sep-20 09:35:07

I was once renting a farmhouse and they switched me over to a pay meter to separate my bill from theirs without telling me - lovely surprise to come home to! In the first day we put £30 into the meter but LL insisted that must be what we'd used. We went round the house and literally unplugged everything but it was still going round. Found a switch inside a cupboard which turned off their 10ft illuminated sign for their stables. They took the meter back out the next day.

If your Dad gets a smart meter it's much easier to find the energy eaters. One thing I discovered that really surprised me was how much energy is used on standby.

SqidgeBum Tue 01-Sep-20 09:38:35

My husband works for an energy company and deals with debt, bills, meters etc. I would recommend talking to the energy company and get a smart meter. They can then either see if there is something suckig the energy, or there is a fault somewhere, especially as he is getting into debt.

inappropriateraspberry Tue 01-Sep-20 09:38:52

You can buy a simple smart meter for around £10. It won't give the energy company readings etc, but you'll be able to see how much energy is being used.
I wonder if someone's siphoning off the electric/gas for their own home?

SqidgeBum Tue 01-Sep-20 09:41:02

Also encourage him to switch off plugs at the switch. With a big house he may have lots of plugs plugged in around rooms. You would be surprised how much energy is gone on standby. Take a look too at how old the appliances are that he is using. An old kettle, old microwave, they will use a lot more than a new one.

bibblebobbleblackbobble Tue 01-Sep-20 10:59:48

About 20 years ago we had some shocking bills. Turned out some people temporarily living on nearby common land had tapped into our electricity and were living the life of riley. Took years to sort out, and of course they had scarpered once challenged.

Switch everything off and check if the meter dial is still moving. If it is, keep looking for other things to turn off. Check for outside plug sockets and for damage around them.

Yellowbutterfly1 Tue 01-Sep-20 11:05:07

How often is he giving his meter readings? Are his bills using estimated or actual readings?

Elouera Tue 01-Sep-20 11:05:36

Has there been a sudden rise in his bills, or has this amount been the norm for sometime? Does he have additional fridges/freezers in a utility room or garage? They can churn through electric, as they are on ALL the time. Does he have everything he can on gas, rather than electric?

Does he have economy 7? We only recently noticed that our economy 7 clock was 8hrs out- so instead of it coming on at 11pm it was coming on at 7am!!!

SqidgeBum Tue 01-Sep-20 11:17:48

I would also second having someone come to check someone isnt siphoning your FILs power, or things have been mixed up and the energy company are taking some other house around him as his readings. You would be amazed how often that happens. So many people are paying their next door neighbours bills!

Trikc Tue 01-Sep-20 11:21:40

I presume you have checked he is on a good tariff?

sallyshirt Wed 02-Sep-20 13:15:07

Thanks for all your advice.
I really doubt neighbours are connected to his supply etc.
My FIL is super careful about electricity (although now I know why!) and most things are switched off at the plug.
All his appliances are old, he does have an old chest freezer in the garage - but comparing it to my own house, a lot of my appliances are fairly old too and I use the washing machine (he only
uses his machine twice a week or so) and I have a tumble drier (which he doesn't have).

I'll look into a smart meter, and maybe it's the freezer which is costing the money - but I'd be surprised if it costs that much a month?

OP’s posts: |
SqidgeBum Wed 02-Sep-20 13:22:22

@sallyshirt is he still on his fixed tariff? I know you said he looks for a good deal yearly, but my energy company recently ended my tariff and only informed me by the teeny tiniest small print on the last page of my bill that quarter, and suddenly my bills skyrocketed (which I noticed after about 4 days because of my smart meter). Maybe they have done the same to him and he just hasnt realised.

sallyshirt Wed 02-Sep-20 15:12:54

I don't think he's on a fixed tariff, he usually is a bargain hunter because he hasn't got a big pension.
I'll check that though too.

OP’s posts: |
ThighthighOfthigh Mon 21-Sep-20 00:24:12

Have you looked into the warm home discount? He may be eligible for that. Also there are various energy trusts that may help him clear fuel debt. Turn2Us has a grant checker to see whether he is eligible for any further grants.

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