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High energy bills.......can't understand why

(21 Posts)
stripeytiger Wed 24-Oct-12 14:16:27

I'm wondering if we are going mad or if what we pay per month is pretty average. We live in a 3 bed semi, we have gas central heating (which we don't use very often as we have a very efficient woodburner) and gas rings on a cooker. Electricity wise, we very often sit in the dark with just the tv going in the evening. The children are brilliant for not leaving lights on when they leave a room, we don't have loads of electrical appliances going all the time. Havent got a tumble drier. Dishwasher and washing machine on average used every other day. So I think we are a pretty "normal" usage family?

We have a dual fuel tariff which has been £107.00 per month for the last 10 months. Got an email a couple of days ago to say the direct debit will be going up to £152.00 per month! We think this is ridiculously high. We have asked around family and friends with same amount of children, similar usage etc and they are paying about half what we are. Have this morning changed our electricity supplier but still are existing supplier is saying they will set the gas direct debit at £61.00 per month! We haven't had the heating on yet this autumn and only use the gas burners on the hob???????

We are at a loss to explain why our bills are so high. Any comparisons you can give me or ideas would be really, really welcome and dh and I worrying about these soaring bills.

vodkaanddietirnbru Wed 24-Oct-12 14:23:05

mine has just gone up from £96 per month dual fuel to £125 per month. They did want to put it up to £173 but when I phoned them they agreed that £125 would be a more acceptable amount. We are in a 4 bed detached house with gas central heating, there are 2 adults, 2 kids and we have a washing machine and dishwasher but no tumble drier.

We were in debit by about £148 with the £96 payment so I knew we needed to pay extra - did you have a debit balance?

vodkaanddietirnbru Wed 24-Oct-12 14:25:12

p.s. you are normally cheaper to get both electricity and gas from the same supplier and then to run the account online

stripeytiger Wed 24-Oct-12 14:29:35

I think we are in credit (or certainly not in debit). Dh has got it into his head that it must be the TV (46 inch plasma). It's never on during the day but I guess once the kids are home it's on for an average of about 4/5 hours. Friends of ours have a 50 inch tv (not sure if that makes a difference) have it going for at least 7 hours a day and leave it on standby all the time. They also leave a hall light on all night every night, yet they only pay £162.00 per quarter!

We just cannot understand how they class us as high usage?

stripeytiger Wed 24-Oct-12 14:30:27

we do run the account online Vodka but it seems to make no difference.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 24-Oct-12 14:38:04

We are in a 3-bed detached, I am at home with DS2 and we don't really restrict use of anything except to try and have lights off in rooms we aren't using. We have low-energy bulbs everywhere, and new, efficient appliances.

Washing machine and dishwasher are both on at least once a day. DH and I both have a shower, I have 2 if I have been to the gym, and the boys have a bath every day. Tumble drier on most days except during the summer. TV, a couple of laptops, phones charging, 2 fridge-freezers, a PC. Gas central heating (boiler is only 4 years old) and a duel fuel cooker.

We pay £120 a month and are often in credit and getting money back from our supplier.

Suppliers who are increasing prices will be looking to put DDs up by more than they think you will use though, so that they are giving you money back rather than them needing to chase up for extra payments.

stripeytiger Wed 24-Oct-12 14:53:02

Thanks Alibaba that's interesting. From what you've said, sounds like we use perhaps a bit less than you, yet they want £152.00 per month. I cannot believe that by using a gas burner once a day on average would equate to a gas bill of £61.00 a month! DH is thinking something is amiss but we are at a loss to explain what?

botandhothered Wed 24-Oct-12 15:47:50

How old is your boiler? I presume you are using that for your hot water? If it's very old it may be the cause of your high bills?

BettyandDon Wed 24-Oct-12 16:05:31

One thing I did recently was to turn down massively the settings for hot water and radiators on the boiler. I think they control how hard the boiler works when it fires up either for hot water /usage/ whatever (no expert). I read this on MSE and I think it must make a difference and really it's not needed as long as your water comes out hot and you have thermostats in the rooms or radiators. It might be worth checking what yours are set at.

I also think energy companies are trying anything atm. I was on a good online dual tarrif of £58 pcm (2 bed flat) and they tried to increase my DD 3x in a row. I had a nightmare telling them where to go. Now the latest I am dealing with is that they are now saying that my deal was a 12 month deal only and I need to switch or be automatically moved to incredibly expensive 'standard tariff'. Had no idea of this at the time.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 24-Oct-12 16:27:00

I would check your meter readings and your last few bills very very carefully and also make sure that you are on the best tariff with your supplier. If you've been on some special/fixed deal and it has ended they very often put you on their 'standard' tariff, which usually means a big hike in price if you don't get on the phone and get yourself on a new, lower tariff. If your meter has been read wrong or the readings have been estimated, that can hike it up. Finally, make sure you're with the cheapest supplier by going on some comparison sites.

I live in a big 3-bed semi, I work from home so the heating is on all day and we have lots of electrical appliances that get used frequently. The bill is £100/month for gas and electricity

CremeEggThief Wed 24-Oct-12 16:32:03

You can borrow energy usage monitors from some libraries. May be worth a try to pinpoint what is driving up your costs?

FireOverBabylon Wed 24-Oct-12 16:51:10

Don't turn down your hot water thermostat. you need a minimum temperature to ensure that water gets properly hot and kills bugs which could grow in warm water. Think of legionnaires etc.

gelo Wed 24-Oct-12 17:17:43

Can you tell us how many units you use per annum? From what you have said it's hard to say if it's the gas or electric that is high.

How do you heat your hot water for example. Is that done by gas or electric. If you have it on all the time that could account for a fair bit of wasted use especially if the tank isn't lagged very well.

Another thing to consider is the fridge &/or freezer. These vary a lot in energy consumption with older ones (and some of the newer ones) tending to be electricity guzzlers.

Plasma TVs do use more than other types, but it doesn't sound as if you are ridiculously heavy users.

If your gas usage is very low, you may be better using ebico as a supplier for gas and not having a dual fuel tariff. Because they have a flat rate with no standing charge and no initial number of units at a higher tariff they can work out a lot cheaper for very low users (we use them and like you use the heating little as we have a log burner, so use gas mainly just for the hob and water heating), we spend approx £120 per annum on gas.

notcitrus Wed 24-Oct-12 17:20:17

Just because they set your tariff high doesn't mean you are using that much - they like overcharging you on a direct debit, claiming it will average out over a year, and sometimes it does but usually you have to demand they reduce the dd.

I've just reduced mine from £185 a month to £88 after a year! Turned out I was about £400 in credit.

vodkaanddietirnbru Wed 24-Oct-12 17:44:46

On our latest bill it detailed how much gas/electric we were likely to use next year so I used their figure, added on the debit balance and divided it by 12 which gave a payment of £125 per month. When I phone to query the £173 she did the calculation manually and got the same figure (£125) so that us what is was changed to. If you don't think the figure is right phone and query it. Look at your usage and do a comparison with other providers (i do it/change provider every year)

MissKeithLemon Wed 24-Oct-12 17:51:08

Are you with E-On OP?

Sounds like one of their 'zero balance by April' increases you have received hmm

stripeytiger Wed 24-Oct-12 21:52:46

Thanks for the replies. Our boiler is approx 6/7 years old, so not really old and knackered.

Gelo, I will dig out the figures, dh has it written down somewhere. Thanks for the info about ebico, that's worth having a look at.

I agree with others that unless you ring and demand that they reduce the direct debit, they try it on and put it at the maximum figure they can get away with.

Yes, MissKeithLemon, we are/were with Eon. We are staying with them for the moment for the gas but have moved to British Gas for electric.

Thanks for all the advice, really appreciated.

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 25-Oct-12 17:48:16

Water only needs to be set to 60, anything over is a waste.

Is your gas meter measuring in metric or imperial? Most companies bill in meter squared but some meters still use imperial and if imp is charged as met it will send the bill sky high,

You only need 20-30mins to heat a tank if water too, if it's on all day that will put the bill up.

safflower Thu 25-Oct-12 17:54:17

78 elec
84 gas
per month.

4 bed detached.

marquesas Thu 25-Oct-12 18:02:12

If you have your annual usage statement I'd definitley recommend putting the detail into uswitch. I've used it in the past to get my supplier to move me to a cheaper tariff. Your bills do sound high

MissKeithLemon Thu 25-Oct-12 21:50:38

OP - E-On have a policy that all accounts should be at zero on 1st April.

That is why your payment has increased.

It is a clever way of customers loaning cash to E On through the summer but without the favour being returned in the winter wink

I'd move if I were you. They also have an unofficial, never admitted to, policy of overestimating readings at all times. Especially around price increases.

I checked my neighbours bill last year. E-On estimated they used (say) 400Kw in the two months leading up to a price increase, but 800kw in the one month after the increase hmm

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