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British Gas smart meter reviewer feedback thread month 3. Non testers: share your top energy saving tips and you could win £100 JL voucher. NOW CLOSED

(59 Posts)
KatieBMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 22-Nov-13 16:21:29

This thread is for the 3 Mumsnetters and 2 Mumsnet Bloggers who are testing the British Gas smart meters in their home.

Non testers: We'd love to know what your top tips are for saving gas and electricity around the home. What precautions do you take? How easy do your children find it to follow these steps to saving energy? How do you keep an eye on the amount of energy you use in your home? Do you manage to stick to a budget?

Everyone who adds a comment to this thread by 20th December will be in with a chance of winning £100 worth of John Lewis vouchers

Month 3: Budgeting:
For the final challenge we'd like you and your family to use the smart energy monitor to set yourselves a weekly budget for both gas and electricity and try to stick to this by changing the way you use energy around the home. For instructions on how to set a budget on your smart energy monitor please check your IHD user manual or watch this video
- What is your new weekly budget?
- How realistic do you think this is?
- What are you going to do to try to stick to this budget?
- How will you involve your children in trying to save energy? Perhaps ask them to help when you/your partner are making dinner - where could you save energy? Which vegetables could go in one pan instead of two? You can find some smart tips here
- How easy/difficult have you found sticking to the budget? Was it easier or harder than expected?
- Overall, do you feel that your relationship with gas and electricity has changed? Did you and your family change your habits for good?

Thanks and good luck,


DoctorGilbertson Tue 10-Dec-13 20:36:07


We are on economy 7 (electric heating and water on overnight) but my children greatly aid my energy saving efforts by getting up at 5am every morning so that I can run the dishwasher, tumble dryer and washing machine on the cheap rate.

Live in a terraced house and go to bed early are my other hints.

InkleWinkle Thu 12-Dec-13 20:50:09


We used the Smart Meter to set a budget at the beginning - we answered the questions about size of house / no of occupants etc and it set a budget for us. A budget which we were astounded at - £6 per day. We get quarterly bills so this would be £540 per quarter. Very unaffordable for us. (That was approx our bill for Dec 12- Mar 13) However, we left it & it was still mild etc so we were way under (thankfully) and it has recalculated our budget as £4 per day currently which we are OK with. It was a struggle recently during a cold spell but we reckon it will average out as less than that over the 90 day period.

To stick to this, we are ruthless about switching electrical items off when not in use. Our 3 year old is great at 'gently reminding' people especially her big sister to switch lights off! We try not to leave items on standby as much as possible. Our heating (because gas is the main expense) is on much less than before. There have been some great threads on Mumsnet recently about how to keep warm so we've used some of those ideas instead.

It has been hard to change habits but hopefully we have learned new habits now and no more bills in excess of £400.

However, BG have changed our tariff in the past couple of weeks. Fuel costs are less but there is now a daily standing charge which I don't think the Smart Meter counts in so over the past week or two it looks as though we have been charged much less but I need to investigate how much will be added on the the actual bill. Reserving judgement on this til I see how it affects budget!

Letitsnow9 Sun 15-Dec-13 15:17:02

I'm a non tester but my tip is the obvious yet so often not done- turn things off when not in use!

CaptainSinker Sun 15-Dec-13 19:51:42

Our main way of saving energy is switching off things that are not in use! DD is a little young to get this but we do try to encourage er to close doors to keep heat in etc. I also leave the hot water in the bath once DD is out as it heats up the bathroom better than the radiator!

Coffeechick Mon 16-Dec-13 20:10:57

I use the oven to cook a few things and not just the dinner and the second item cooked can be eaten for lunch the next day and just reheated in a microwave.

Also encouraging everyone to put on a jumper when they feel cold and not just to switch the heating on.

I have picked up tips such as only heating the water you need for a cup of tea and encourage family members to do this. smile

mum2jakie Mon 16-Dec-13 21:42:25

"Non testers: We'd love to know what your top tips are for saving gas and electricity around the home. What precautions do you take? How easy do your children find it to follow these steps to saving energy? How do you keep an eye on the amount of energy you use in your home? Do you manage to stick to a budget?"

We don't have a budget for energy use/costs but I am always made more aware of our usage after every statement. I'm conscious that our usage is going up so this Winter I have invested in hot water bottles which the kids love and means that I don't need to put the heating on overnight. (I did do previously as the little one would wake up in the night otherwise.) The kids find this easy - not so much remembering to turn things off, especially lights!

My other tip is not to have a tumble dryer. I am still catching any dry/windy days whenever possible and managed to get a whole line full of bedding dry outside over the weekend!

mindingalongtime Wed 18-Dec-13 13:36:26

Non tester, don't bath the children everyday, much better for your bills and their skin too. We only bathed once a week on hairwash night and shared bath water, all three of us in together. We were always clean and I had lovely long hair too!

W don't stick to a budget, I just pay a monthly DD of £275 for both gas and elec, that is just 2 adults, the minded children don't have the heating on during the day, they keep warm by keeping active and we go out a lot.

I seldom use the oven, slow cook all the time, 3 sizes of slow cookers according to haw many I am cooking for, or freezing the extra.

I always tuen off the gas once the pasta and veg are in the pot, the residual heat cooks them as we like them al dente or crisp!

I only wash 2 loads a week, but tumble dry it all, dh has got used to swiftly straight out of the dryer and folded polo shirts and tees, sheets and shirts go to laundry as cheaper than washing and drying them. 5 shirts washed and ironed £5, I value my time as well as the cotton wash and ironing time saved.

RemoteControlGeekToyOfTheYear Thu 19-Dec-13 12:21:29

Non testers: We'd love to know what your top tips are for saving gas and electricity around the home.
Curtains and draught excluders to help keep the heat in, closing doors particularly between colder or unheated areas of the house and the rooms you are in helps to save gas too. Setting computers to sleep after a shorter period of time, making use of half-load buttons on appliances if only dealing with a small number of items, switching to low energy bulbs has all helped us to save on our electricity.

How easy do your children find it to follow these steps to saving energy?
No children, but I do find myself constantly shouting 'born in a barn' at DP when he leaves the door between the kitchen diner and the freezing cold utility open!

How do you keep an eye on the amount of energy you use in your home?
Those who know me from certain threads on here will not be surprised that I spreadsheet everything - I have historical tracking spreadsheets, forecast spreadsheets, this year v previous years spreadsheets, the works. I take weekly meter readings and have even been known to watch the speed of the electricity wheel to see how much certain items use blush

Do you manage to stick to a budget?
Apparently so - having just entered my latest winter meter readings online, I was surprised that instead of going up, my monthly direct debit payments have in fact gone down. This was surprising because our monthly payments were already low due to us being in credit with our supplier though this credit has now run dry.

KatieBMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 20-Dec-13 14:14:48

Thank you for all your comments. The winner of the prize draw is...


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