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Why are flats expensive on electricity???!

(52 Posts)
purplebaubles Fri 07-Mar-14 09:13:43

To be honest, I just want to move to a house!

2 bed flat (new build 'apartment') - 2 adults, one baby. Storage heaters. Only use one of them though, as aware they're expensive. Other than that, water is on for 2 hrs in the morning, and 2 hrs in the evening.

Microwave, washing machine (goes on overnight on economy 7, cheaper rate), tumble drier (used occasionally, again on economy 7) oven, fridge, tv, phone/laptop chargers, hairdryers, lights. That's all I can think of that uses electricity.

We are currently paying £170 a month shock and according to my last bill (which I couldn't make head nor tail of, I'd inputted actual readings online, but when the bill came, it split it into 3 different lots of day rate, and 3 different lots of night rate!!) we only used £30 a month BUT for the same period (30 days) and same daily consumption (44units) the month before, they'd charged us £160.

Seriously. WTF is going on!

It's Scottish Power. Anyone else find their billing system ridiculous to understand?! And their bills high?

I also think it's madness that we use 44 units daily - HOW?! How does the TV being on and laptop use that much? (with the odd cup of coffee being boiled!) What do other people use daily?

Any help?! Suggestions?!

laracroft2001 Fri 07-Mar-14 09:23:09

Wow that sounds expensive. I also live in a new build 2bed flat, no gas so electric for everything, and pay £37 per month. And my account is £50 in credit. Don't have storage heaters mind you.

Are you sure you aren't paying for the whole block???

laracroft2001 Fri 07-Mar-14 09:23:55

And i am with SP too, and probably use the same, if not a bit more, leccy as you!!

Back2Basics Fri 07-Mar-14 09:26:26

I have storage heaters in a two bed flat to, they're new ones as well and I spend £40 a week on electric. If I had gas and a combi boiler instead of this emersion it wouldn't be so expensive I'm sure.

yegodsandlittlefishes Fri 07-Mar-14 09:27:27

Yes, do you think other flats have found a way to get their electricity.on your bill, or Scottish power has added their consumption to your bill?

I hope more flat owners come and help with examples of how many units they use.

purplebaubles Fri 07-Mar-14 09:28:43

lara I've always thought that!

I've tested everything though. Done the whole 'switch everything off' and check my meters not moving. Have also tested the communal electricity switches (so for the cleaners etc) to check they don't add to my meter.

Last year we had a brand new meter fitted as I was convinced it was faulty.

Are you on economy 7? Do you know what rate you're on?

I'm just on hold to them now to say I don't understand!

Why oh why don't they just have one rate, you see how much you've used and you pay on demand? Bills never used to be this complicated 20 yrs ago!

laracroft2001 Fri 07-Mar-14 09:30:51

I am on an online rate... No idea which one and no I don't understand them at all- so long as the bill stays under£45 I can live with not knowing!!

Hope they sort it out for u!!

laracroft2001 Fri 07-Mar-14 09:34:24

All my light bulbs are very low energy bulbs- but not sure that would be the difference of £100 per month!!!!

Back2Basics Fri 07-Mar-14 09:35:34

I have economy 7, you need that with storage heaters.

Are you heating your water up at night when it's cheap rate.

purplebaubles Fri 07-Mar-14 09:36:53

Hmm We looked into changing the bulbs.

We have 9 spots in the lounge/kitchen, 10 in the hallway, 6 in the two bathrooms and 8 in the master bedroom.

I would be interested to know if it would be worth swopping them, as pricing it up to change this many was pricey!

(it was an 'extra' with DW Homes to have spots rather than main lights...almost wish we hadn't now!)

Just been told their wait time on the phone is one hour!!! Going to wait for them to call me back...

purplebaubles Fri 07-Mar-14 09:38:16

back Water for the morning is heated at night rate, but I do have it on 4-6pm at night so that the baby can have a warm bath and husband can have a shower when he gets in from work (manual work)

If I don't have it on at night, it's not still warm from the morning.

The economy 7 rate we have is the cheapest - I have done the comparison on unit prices etc.

LIZS Fri 07-Mar-14 09:38:19

Hot water/heating - do you need the water on for so long . Unless you empty the tank you don't need to be constantly reheating it. Plumb the washing machine into cold fill so it heats only as it needs it rather than using the tank. Tumble drier also saps the energy.

purplebaubles Fri 07-Mar-14 09:39:21

Keep these tips coming..

Will get husband to check that the washing machine is plumbed into the cold fill..thank you.

specialsubject Fri 07-Mar-14 10:33:49

Scottish Power's hundreds of tariffs are a nightmare. Your first job is to book a callback from them and find out exactly which one you are on.

heating water on the day rate will be very expensive, although I'm surprised it costs that much. It really does sound like there is a problem with 'the computer' on your bill and you need to keep nagging.

BUT; all those spotlights will be keeping you warm! How much energy does each one use? Add it up.

modern washing machines only use cold water to fill.

entirely understand that your husband needs an evening shower, as do most people. Try and get a tariff with a mid-day boost so you can heat water then. You could also look into an electric shower which heats its own water; they cost about £100. Fit a 10kW one and a five minute shower will cost 25p even if your unit rate is 30p. (and it my maths is right!)

or you could shift your ablutions to the evening too -the tank should stay warm from the night before if you don't use hot water during the day. Stack the washing up until the evening!

purplebaubles Fri 07-Mar-14 10:47:37

You've got to love it when even the Scottish Power employee can't make head nor tail of it!!

He's sending my 'account' to be investigated!

Look at this on my bill account:

Date no of days Bill Units used Av Daily
03/09/2013 - 07/12/201396 £315.022864 29.83
08/12/2013 - 06/01/201430 £161.941323 44.10
07/01/2014 - 06/02/201431 £29.541366 44.06

purplebaubles Fri 07-Mar-14 10:50:14

03/09/2013 - 07/12/2014 - 96 - £315.02 - 2864 - 29.83
08/12/2013 - 06/01/2014 - 30 - £161.94 - 1323- 44.10
07/01/2014 - 06/02/2014 - 31 - £29.54-1366- 44.06

Sorry it merged them all..

the first lot are the dates, then the total number of days, then the amount the bill came to, then the number of units used during that period, then finally the average daily unit used.

So for one 30 day period, we used a total of 1323 units and got charged £161, but for the next 31 day period, used a total of 1366 units and got charged £29.54.

No bloody wonder i can't work out my bills!!!

mousmous Fri 07-Mar-14 10:51:36

it's expensive on econo 7.
the prices are cheaper at night but during the day (when you need more elec) it's much more expensive than other tariffs.
check how much you use over a weeks time and then check with the energy company if you can switc tarif if that's cheaper for you.

yegodsandlittlefishes Fri 07-Mar-14 10:55:23

Tumble dryer use? Leaving iron or electric oven on?
Is it seasonal?

LavenderGreen14 Fri 07-Mar-14 10:59:21

were your previous bills estimated? And then you gave an accurate reading which bought final bill down.

I would say it is the storage heaters, Economy 7 is the most expensive form of heating in my experience.

Drquin Fri 07-Mar-14 11:04:34

Take heart from the fact you're not alone in wondering why they're so bl**dy to make sense of! I've got a fairly responsible job, doing complicated stuff every day ..... But blow me if I can make sense of my electric bill!

My bill, for a similar sounding flat, was £90 for the last quarter - but I do live alone, so allow something for only one person's ablutions and clothes washing etc. Combined washer drier, but i rarely use the drier. Dishwasher is a rarity too.

One word of advice though, based on previous property, do ask for a check that no-one else is tied into your meter .... In a new build house, I once had the wrong gas meter reference linked to my house, in a three-way deal, so each was getting the neighbours gas bill. I was the only one to query, as my house was the smaller thus I was getting the bigger bill!

purplebaubles Fri 07-Mar-14 11:07:16

Bills are always read, not estimated. Everything is switched off at the mains when not in use (cooker, washed, dryer etc)

I have checked how many units we use and basically even though we have totally disconnected one of the storage heaters, we still use more units at night, than we do in the day.

It's just so frustrating that storage heaters are such an awful source of heat (we're constantly cold because although they're burning hot in the morning, even though we keep the vents shut, most of the heat has gone by the time we get back from work) and yet so expensive. All my friends with toasty warm central heated homes have much lower bills than we do!

PigletJohn Fri 07-Mar-14 11:08:56

never mind your monthly payments, it's the meter readings you have to focus on.

You say you use 44kWh per day, and you have storage heaters. No fan heaters or convectors? It might cost in the region of £5 a day but is difficult to guess because you have different prices for day and night.

44kWh is about what you would use if you had an immersion heater and two storage heaters running for 5 hours each, which is not unusual in winter. TV, kettle and computer would be insignificant.

What were your actual (not estimated) meter readings, between which two dates? If you have off-peak metering you will probably need to press buttons on the meter to display the different readings. There will be a "how to read the meter" on your energy company's webpage. It is important not to mix up the readings when you have a multi-rate tariff.

You will use more in cold weather so this will not be representative of your average use over the year.

What colour is your hot-water cylinder?

Electricity usage by heating appliances (rooms and water) are the only two worth looking at for the moment. Everything else in the flat pales into insignificance.

If you have an new-build apartment, I expect it is well-insulated and has energy-saving lamps, is that right? Presumably you aren't using the washer and drier more than once a day.

Fluffy40 Fri 07-Mar-14 11:18:42

Get scottish power to check your time switch. If your heaters are heating up in the day time, that will treble your bill.

PigletJohn Fri 07-Mar-14 11:20:13

I see you provided your meter readings while I was composing.

It does look like you are paying an average (over day price and night price) of 12p per kWh, which is not unusual; and you are using about 44kWh per day, which is not unusual in winter.

I rather suspect that the strangely low amount of £29.54 on the Feb bill is because they have deducted a payment from the cost of energy. Was a payment made during that period?

purplebaubles Fri 07-Mar-14 11:22:06


So on the 7.2.13, actual meter readings:

Night Rate : 09185
Day Rate : 10418

Total : 19604

Today's meter reading:

Night rate : 09819
Day Rate : 10909

Total: 20729

So by my reackoning, in a month, we have used...634 Night Rate Units, and 491 day units? Total of 1125 units. So less again than we used the full month before.

Only x1 storage heater (just 'on', I don't have the option to set for how many hours, either on or off) and then hot water overnight for 2 hours. No fan heaters. We did use bedroom heaters, but have now totally switched them off and just used more duvets etc (poor baby is now in a 3.5tog!!!)

Hot water is a PulsaCoil 2000 (nightmare because can never get a plumber to fix as no one knows how they work! We have to have insurance with Gledhills who make them)

We are a top floor apartment, so no, I'm not convinced well insulated - as we have a huge loft/roof area right above us, and our flat seems much colder than a friend of ours who lives downstairs (sandwiched between 2 concrete floors) - we have laid extra insulation in the roof though. No energy saving it worth the ££ to swop them?

Washer gets used every other day - ditto for dryer.

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