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gas and electricity?

(34 Posts)
lilly153 Mon 03-Jan-11 14:01:37

not sure where to post thid but just want some general advice if possible im a lone parent and have a 3yr old
my gas and electric are currently billed but they are billing me well over £100 a month (this is not estimated) so im not sure if im paying for people before me or god knows how they come up with these figures anyways i was going to get prepaid meters in but im scared incase i cant afford to put in enough money if i am usin this much

HOW much do use use per month in your prepaid meters?

i have a 2 bedroom flat, just me and my son im out 3 times a week 9 till 4, i have gas central heating and gas hobs on cooker everything else is electric including shower, i dont have a tumble dryer and hardly ever use microwave and if i do its for 2 to 3 mins to heat up some beans so hardly ever use that

lal123 Mon 03-Jan-11 14:03:48

Prepaid meters are usually more expensive so be careful if you switch. Your bills should tell you how they are calculating your usage. Does seem a bit excessive - who are you with?

lilly153 Mon 03-Jan-11 14:09:06

british gas for gas and scottish power for electric cant get them with same company as they wont let me transfer as have outstanding balance

i had a prepaid meters before when i was in a relationship never had my son though and was lucky if i was £50 or 60 pounds a month dont understand how im using so much

Scorps Mon 03-Jan-11 14:11:25

I have a 2 bed flat, there are me and 4dc (!). My gas is £13 month (actual) and my electric is about £40 on a key.

Meglet Mon 03-Jan-11 14:15:17

I have a small 3 bed house and pay £33 on gas and £30 on electric a month, but it's by direct debit from same fuel supplier so cheaper than pre-payment.

I read my meter every month and ring in the readings every 3 months. If you look at my profile you can see my spectacular energy spreadsheet. Each month I try and beat the previous years use for that month blush.

Can you be really strict with your budget and get it paid off as soon as possible then switch to DD from the same supplier. Don't get pre-paid, they cost a lot more, I used to work on the pre-paid team at our local electric company about 15 years ago.

lilly153 Mon 03-Jan-11 14:37:07

i dont understand then how are prepaid dearer surly they have a set price for the fuel you use or am i being nieve to this whole thing??
theirs no way i can get it paid off im well over the £1000 mark for them both i live off a student loan so i was paying £70 a month to gas and £40 to electric the payments did start of with being gas £34 a month and electric £18 a month but once they read my meters a few months later they soon changed this
i just thought if i got prepaid meters atleast i knew i was only paying for what i used

Scorps are you with same company for both gas and electric do you have tumble dryer ect.. i imagin with 4dc one of them has a computer or tv on alot? im knee to know how u can keep ur usage so low

thanks alot

lucie19 Mon 03-Jan-11 14:42:28

check how much you aare paying on your previous balance. They can change the amount if you are finding it too much. I was paying about the same as you and I discovered I was paying 10 a week on each which was over 40 a month before I paid for my current usage. They can lower it if you need them to.

lilly153 Mon 03-Jan-11 14:47:47

ive all ready asked them to lower it even told them i was on benefits to see if it made a difference lady said if she was to recalculate it my min payment per month would just go up even more

Scorps Mon 03-Jan-11 15:11:08

I do use tumble drier yes, my central heating is gas and everything else is electric, hence it costing more. I'm with British Gas for Gas and Scottish/Southern power for electric.

I'm not sure how my gas is so low, they have literally just sent me a statement using actual readings reducing my payments from £31 per month to £13. I was £94 in credit. We don't have the heating on excessively though, and often i warm the house up until about 11pm and switch the heating off until 7am.

My electric i use £10 - £15 a week. I use my tumble drier almost everyday, and have a monster size tv and fridge/freezer thing. Cooker is electric too.

Scorps Mon 03-Jan-11 15:13:03

If you're on IS or similar, if you are paying back a debt you are only supposed to at £6 a week.

KenDoddsDadsDog Mon 03-Jan-11 15:18:05

Seriously, don't transfer to prepayment if you can at all help it and especially if you are in debt. The debt will come off the prepayment cards you buy, so you may put a £10 card in for example,but a proportion of the debt comes off that, so it is worth less IYSWIM. Also you don't get fixed rate schemes for PPMs.
Do you have online tariffs set up at all? These are a little bit cheaper normally.

nixnjj Mon 03-Jan-11 15:48:06

You might be able to get your British Gas debts wiped

http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php ?t=2637445

lilly153 Mon 03-Jan-11 16:09:57

I'm not on any benefits so don't no of that's why they won't reduce the payments, will have a look at that forum as soon as I get on my computer just using my mobile just now and kendodds when I phoned up and they said I should go to preypay meter for my gas she did explain that but she said if I was on benefits they would only take a set amount per week that we would agree on if I got prepay meters, I told them I was receiving benefits as I don't think they will check this will they
Think one of my problems is my boiler is in the loft just outside my flat wich I would never dream of going in(terrified of spiders or anything that's just not human lol) so I have constant hot water but I've got my hot water switched to off in my kitch on the little timer thing but I still have constant hot water so I think their must be something on the boiler to make this happen

KenDoddsDadsDog Mon 03-Jan-11 16:59:20

Is there an immersion heater backup switch? Could be that it is set to on which would keep the water hot?

lilly153 Mon 03-Jan-11 17:05:38

No I don't think so I'm clueless when it comes to all this stuff if their is one of these and it was on constantly would this cost a lot?

Smadarama Mon 03-Jan-11 18:15:30

Lilly - You mentioned that you are in arrears with your gas & electricity.

British Gas have a trust fund that can help with your arrears. I got help about 5 years ago when I was really struggling - visit www.britishgasenergytrust.org.uk (think it might be the same one that nixnjj was talking about but the link didn't work for me when I tried to check). You can apply directly but if you are near to an Advice Centre then it's probably worth getting some help as they will have experience of what makes a good application.

The Money Saving Expert website has loads of really useful information re: Utilities.

Good Luck

Scorps I'm really impressed with what you do re: your electricity/gas use & will be following suit. Thanks

Anngeree Sat 08-Jan-11 23:40:59

Hi lilly
I'm on prepayment meters, the electric meter was prepayment when I moved into my house and I opted to change to gas prepayment meter as company I was with (EON) had been undercharging me for a year after I moved in then decided to send me a £300 bill at a christmastime! Being a single parent on benefits I couldn't afford this so asked for prepayment meter to be put in. They took £5wk off me but it comes of so-many-pence per day the bill was paid off in 10mths and meter tells you how much you have outstanding left to pay. As soon as i'd paid debt off I changed companies (now with EDF) find there customer service skills a lot better. EON tried to tell me I had a debt outstanding on my account before I changed but had paid off debt, prepayment meter had stopped collecting debt and when I worked out how much i'd paid back it definately covered debt so couldn't understand where outstanding debt had come from until I checked there bills and found they were adding VAT to my account instead of taking it of payments I was making at PP point I pointed this out to them and of course it was a computer errorhmm
I have gas central heating, cooker etc and my bills are around £20wk in winter and around £7wk in summer for gas. My electric is the same all year round has just increased from £5wk -£7.50wk.
I find prepayment meters cheaper than bills or direct debit but reason they are classed as more expensive is because you might only be using 45p worth of electric but with standing charge, VAT etc taken into account you get charged roughly £1 a day so paying more for charges than actual usage.
I think prepayment meters are the way to go and once you've paid debt you can change companies and know that you can only use what is on meter and won't build up another debt.
Not sure what company your with but EDF also have a trust fund that offer grant's to help you get out of debt.
It may seem inconvienient at first having to remember to top gas and electric up but once you get used to it, it's as simple as taking your card or key with you when you go shopping. There is also emergency credit available which you can use if your credit runs out but you haven't been able to pop to the shop this will last a couple of days until you can top up only thing is you get charged at higher rate for using it but as soon as you top up debt gets cleared.

LittleBeaut Sun 09-Jan-11 00:54:11

I agree with Anngree... I love my prepay meters. I love not getting bills EVER, and I have never used anywhere near the amount of gas or electric that I ever did before I had a prepayment meter, which I dont get if there suppose to cost more money confused

When I had a debt on mine I paid £5 a week gas and £7 a week on electric... didnt really miss it and soon the dept was paid off. Funny I just got statement from EDF today so say I use about 93p a day gas and £1.48 electric a day on average.

lilly153 Tue 11-Jan-11 18:59:04

thanks angeree and littlebeaut i phoned and spoke to both electric and gas company theyve assured me i wont get charged any extra for having meters put in and that i dont get charged anymore for gas or electric than somebody on bills
i tried to work out better repayment plans but my gas min payment they would accept was £99 per month so ive opted to get both gas and electric meters put in my gas comp are going to take £3.30 a week off me but i owe them more than £600 bareing in mind ive been paying them £70 a month since i moved in hmm not sure how they work that out but hey ho and my electric ive manage to make a payment to them so only owe the £150 and they are going to take £5 a week so wont take that long to clear that hopefully
any yes i think once ive paid them both off i will shop around for a cheaper option if theirs one availible

thanks ladies for all your help and advice

ILovedYou Tue 11-Jan-11 19:06:43

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am in a 3 bedroom house

I have Scottish Power, pre-payment metres for both electric and gas

I have NO debts and per day i use 4 pounds electricity and 3 pounds gas.

Electricity - 28.00 per WEEK!

Gas - 21.00 - per WEEK!

I'm seriously beiong ripped off am i?

LittleBeaut Tue 11-Jan-11 19:54:52

You are defo being ripped off ILovedYou because I have a 4 bedroom chicky!! shock

researchinmotion Wed 12-Jan-11 20:09:41

I have a 2 bed semi. GSH which has been on constantly the past month or so. TV,pc,lights on. Washer on three times a week.

I've been at home following an operation so everything has been on most of the time.

I'm on a prepayment meter and normally put on £30 on each gas and electric a month. Obviously the gas has gone up a bit what with it been freezing so I'm putting more on gas atm.

researchinmotion Wed 12-Jan-11 20:10:06

Sorry meant to say there's me and my daughter here.

smokinaces Wed 12-Jan-11 20:17:52

honestly, the difference between a key meter and a billed meter is something quite small like £20 a year.

To me, the benefits outweigh that cost by far.

I have a 3 bed end of terrace. I use washing machine 7 times a week, tumble dryer 3 or 4, dishwasher 3 or 4. I have hot water on for 30 minutes every 2 days, and heating on 5-8am and 4-11pm, and some ad hoc. I have a gas cooker. I have 2 boys and me.

In winter I pay £15 a week on gas, £8 a week on electric (thats height of snow) Autumn and Spring it gradually reduces until I am paying £5 a week electric and £3 a week gas in the summer.

I get paid my tax credits weekly (monthly salary goes on nursery and council tax) so to budget weekly is a lot better for me. Also means in the summer I have extra funds to do things with the kids in school holidays etc. and I know I'm not over paying or underpaying.

smokinaces Wed 12-Jan-11 20:18:50

ILovedYou - can you get an electric measure thing to see whats costing you all that money??? £28 a week on electric is extraoridinary honestly!!

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