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So where is all of this electricity going?!

(41 Posts)
delasi Sun 06-Oct-13 11:51:27

First time living in an all electric property on a meter, paid for by direct debit, and recently sent my first meter reading. We've been here a year but LL included the cost of electricity for the first year. I've just received my first electricity bill - arranged the account through MSE Energy Saving Club, can switch without penalty - and I don't fully understand what I'm spending all of the kWhs on.

I do imagine that we're a fairly high usage household - it's only a small flat (we're 2 adults, 1 baby), but someone is in the flat during the day every day. That's always been the case in our home. We have an immersion heater, which is currently on for a couple of hours every other day. Everything is turned off at night and when not in use, although I wonder how much electricity is used when things are on standby. Our shower is electric and heats the water during use - it doesn't use the water heated by the immersion. Lights aren't used much and we haven't had the heating on since March.

I know it might not be an exact figure, but I'm looking for a guide as to how much electricity each thing uses. My previous dual fuel bill was much lower - with the gas being on constantly (I was unlearned blush ). I do have an extra appliance compared with before - a vented tumble dryer. That can't seriously be the culprit, can it?

delasi Sun 06-Oct-13 14:59:34

Ok, I can now log in to my account. It says my usual DD (£80), it says the debit for £40.45, but now there is a new credit labelled 'bill reversal' also at £40.45. Account balance now says £0.00.

...So I'm not getting charged the extra £40? As that was largely the reason for my panic!

Perhaps this is silly or pfb, but this will be our first winter with DS 10mo (last winter LL paid for heating). I know that 18-21C is fine for babies at night, but... how do I know how warm it is at night?! Or, how do I make sure it's warm enough. He has a 2.5 tog sleeping bag for winter. I want to move him into a different room soon (organising it at the moment) but I worry about how to heat it. There's no fixed heater/radiator in there, we just have convectors at the moment. I can set an alarm on the baby monitor for a minimum temperature...

Fluffy I'm going to trial the 20min heating and see what happens, thanks smile I'm going to have a look at the energy meter things too and see what it shows.

PigletJohn Sun 06-Oct-13 15:04:53

I think 3kW would take nearly two hours to raise 100 litres by 50C. Who wants to calculate it?

delasi Sun 06-Oct-13 15:17:46

PigletJohn Not sure I know where to start with the calculations grin but LL reckoned it would take at least an hour to heat the tank. The tank apparently holds roughly 2 bath tubs full (no idea how much that is in litres).

Maybe I'll stick with my 2h heating routine... hmm

Suttonmum1 Sun 06-Oct-13 15:20:04

Hi there couple of points.

Make sure your meter has been read, and that your direct debit is based on your consumption, which might be lower than the Supplier thinks.
Look seriously at your lighting. If one or other of you is in all day then you will probably have more lighting on than average. LED bulbs are coming down in price all the time. I replaced a 240W fitting with under 20W of LED bulbs last week and estimate it will save us about £500 over a conservative estimate of the life of the bulbs.
We have found an Owl meter in the kitchen where I look at it a lot makes you very aware of what you are using.

delasi Sun 06-Oct-13 15:30:05

We have a lot of windows and mirrors so no lights on in the day, except for when someone uses the bathroom which has no windows. Most lights are energy savers.

Apparently my meter was read in August - I vaguely recall someone buzzing - we live in a top floor flat, the meter is outside of the building in a special cupboard that the energy companies can access without us. I send monthly meter readings online, but as above it has only been for a very short time as this is a new account.

I've never heard of these Owl things, will Google now...

valiumredhead Sun 06-Oct-13 15:30:45

Storage heaters are hugely expensive. It works out cheaper to use convector heaters with a thermostat ime.

delasi Sun 06-Oct-13 15:46:42

Oh. I thought it would be shaped, well, like an owl blush

It seems like you connect it to the meter? Or can it be connected to the consumer unit panel (we have one in the hall)? With the meter being downstairs, outside, with about 30 other meters, not sure I would want to attempt to attach something and leave it there. Doesn't matter if people don't know what it is, they would probably try to swipe it!

Cindy34 Sun 06-Oct-13 15:47:23

Not sure how many litres a typical bath is, could well be 80+
Showers do not use as much, though some such as power showers can use quite a lot.

How hot is the water from the immersion heater? Maybe dropping the temp a couple of degrees would not be overly noticeable and would save some money.

youbethemummylion Sun 06-Oct-13 15:49:23

If there has been a bill reversal it means you haven't actually been billed yet. Was the original bill to actual reads or estimates usually they will only reverse bill if it was to estimated read and have since received accurate read.

delasi Sun 06-Oct-13 16:06:56

youbethemummylion They did an actual read late August, estimated for late September. I got the bill this week saying an estimated 247kWh used and a cost of £40.45. I sent an actual read when I got the bill as I didn't have my account number prior to that. It doesn't look like there would have been a huge difference between the two tbh.

Thing is, I pay a DD of £80. So what would the £40 be for? Extra on top of the DD? That's what confuses (and worries) me. It seems to be gone, but now I wonder if it just means a new one will come through based on the actual read.

Gas was so simple.

youbethemummylion Sun 06-Oct-13 16:43:40

Yes a new bill will come based on actual read. If you have paid 1 DD of £80 your account will be £80 in credit until bill produced if that bill is £80 or under you will be in credit that carries forward to next bill. If the bil is over £80 you will be in debit which also carries over. Every so often they reassess DD amount based on whether you are in credit or debit after say 6 months (time scale varies between companies)

delasi Sun 06-Oct-13 16:54:53



I am a fully grown adult, promise grin

PigletJohn Sun 06-Oct-13 17:13:19

It is normal for the DD to exceed cost of usage in summer, and to be less than usage in winter. That's why it is important to compare usage based on actual meter readings, and not on estimates or DD amounts.

With a certain amount of luck and typical weather it will more or less balance out over 12 months.

Last winter was exceptionally long and cold and my annual usage (for gas, how I heat) was about 25% above typical

Gatekeeper Mon 07-Oct-13 09:39:59

my supplier is British Gas on a variable DD tariff and I am only billed for actual usage. I enter my meter readings month online- they will remind you this by text and email and a few days later the amount is deducted via DD

helzapoppin2 Mon 07-Oct-13 10:02:48

We have a unifi plug in electricity reader from Scottish Power because we are on a unifi tariff. Really useful, if only because it alerts you if someone has left a heater on and it's gobbling up power.
Maybe it's worth a call to your electricity company to see if they'll send out a free similar device.

delasi Tue 08-Oct-13 19:54:04

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll enquire with our supplier to see if they have anything similar smile

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