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To switch to "pay for only what you use"?

109 replies

lancsgirl85 · 05/09/2022 08:28

Apologies for posting in AIBU. Happy for it to be moved to a more appropriate section.

I contacted my energy company on FB after days of not being able to get through on the phone to speak directly with someone. I wanted to get a rough estimate of my bill for October.

They replied that they can't give exact figures right now and they would update in the next few weeks, but they advised to expect an 80% increase. We pay £269 pm already so we are looking at £480 ish pm. We can't afford this.

I replied to this effect and asked what options they could offer us?

They listed a few, the first of which was: "you can change your direct debit to pay for only what you use rather than spreading the cost over 12 months".

This confused me. Why am I not already just paying for what I use? Why would I pay for what I haven't used?

Looking at my last statement we used £155 worth of gas and electricity combined and paid £269. So we should be in credit, right? Therefore can afford to pay less in theory?

Sorry if this is a really stupid question but the whole thing has just really confused me!!

OP posts:
Tomnooktoldmeto · 05/09/2022 13:05

A couple of suggestions for you, I’ve teen with ADD who drifted away in showers so we got a cheap timer from Amazon and set him a 5 minute time limit which is what is recommended, now a noisy alarm goes off and he gets out pretty quickly

Not all tumble dryers are evil, heat pump ones cost about 75p per cycle to run, about a third of the cost of standard ones so if you’re considering buying it’s worth the investment

You say you’re in rented accommodation, has an energy rating been done on the property, it may be that your landlord is legally required to upgrade insulation with the new regulations that are coming in

GonnaGetGoingReturns · 05/09/2022 14:14

MrsRobinsonsHandprints · 05/09/2022 10:46

Reading this thread posters are advising a mother not to bathe her child. Just read that again, not bathe her baby. How has the UK got to this point, and why do we all seem so accepting of it?

I'm not saying that at all.

GonnaGetGoingReturns · 05/09/2022 14:23

Ozgirl75 · 05/09/2022 12:35

Thing is (and I’m not getting on at you @lancsgirl85 , more a comment on energy use in general), I think lots of people have got very used to cheap energy and so didn’t even think to limit their use.
Growing up in the 80s, we weren’t poor at all, but my parents drummed into me about turning lights off, short showers (mainly because we were on a tank and the water would run out and go cold!), closing doors between rooms to keep the heat in etc. It wasn’t uncomfortable (we lived in a very old house with no central heating but it was cosy and warm with a fire), it was just normal.
Then as people moved into their own homes a lot of that seems to have been forgotten. Friends houses would be roasting all the time, every room warm whether you were in it or not, long showers, tumble driers were normal (quite a luxury in the 80s).
So I think that there has been a lot of talk of the extremes of either using loads of energy or going back, as someone suggested above to once a week baths, limited kettle use, no heating etc, but I do think there’s a sensible middle ground.

I agree with @Ozgirl75, grew up in 1970s, it was a bath a few times a week and stand up wash at sink every days which wasn't bath day. Washing machine on a lot and floors mopped weekly if not more but my DB had chronic asthma so needed that level of hygiene. My DM rented out rooms when we were small and had electric meters fitted. We used the plastic shower attachment for hair (over sink). We also washed hair in bath (not often though). We did use water for washing up, watering garden and paddling pool/swimming pool in summer (and for pond).

When we finally inherited, had money in 1980s central heating was back on, we had an electric shower fitted in a large bedroom (with sink) and used that plus the electric shower in the bathroom. Even then, in 1980s I washed my hair with shower over the bath not stood up in bath. When my DNana wanted to buy DM a dishwasher when we were kids/teens (we got one in teens) DM refused for some reason! DP's boiler was only renewed about 10-15 years ago. Was same old one from years ago and they lagged attic, got double glazing or film over windows (Victorian house).

Heated airers weren't a thing then. We did use a French pulley/line dry/central heating and outside spin line to dry clothes.

DP's only just gone back to stand up washes, shower once/twice a week, fill flasks with kettle, smart meter etc. I have smart meter but use water sensibly. I lag attic etc - but its been converted over lockdown.

GonnaGetGoingReturns · 05/09/2022 14:30

lancsgirl85 · 05/09/2022 12:42

We don't - I have radiators turned off in my bedroom for example as I hate being too hot especially at night. It's DP who puts the heating on a lot, as I've already said. Generally speaking, I'm not one to rush and put the heating on in this house (unless it's below zero in the winter). I could definitely do better with electricity usage I think. And baths and showers, as I've already said.

Get a smart meter. They're amazing. Also tell DP to turn the heating off unless you use it a lot. Or come to a compromise about what/where you heat as he doesn't want to be too cold either.

I know it sounds silly but things like weighted blankets, weighted throws, decent warm slippers, jumpers etc really do help to keep warm. Plus hand warmers. If you go to work, DP to work, baby to nursery, teen to school then you won't need to worry about heating the house/water but when teen returns from school (does he/she?) then see what they do/need re heating and also warm food. Might be an idea to have them have a hot snack (cheese on toast, cup a soup, Pot Noodle, hot Ribena/hot chocolate?) when they come in so it warms them up. I know this also sounds daft but friends with teens who try to save on heating swear by bedsocks, electric blankets, warm PJs etc.

Blowthemandown · 05/09/2022 16:26

@lancsgirl85 some gas bills show the volume of gas rather than kwh then convert it. In which case your calculation would be wrong if you multiplied the volume of gas rather than the kwh. But it could be right? But you should be able to see that on your bills. Last full year in our old house (big - we downsized) 4550 kwh electric vs 19000 kwh gas. Back then we were paying 2p per kwh of gas plus standing charge of 2.23 per day. We no longer have gas but you can see the effect the increase in price would make?

we rarely used the heating from March to November by the way and it is heating that wallops your bill - hob and hot water for us was minimal. For electricity, set top boxes and the like use a lot of electricity on standby.

we had no incandescent bulbs, only LED, plus only 2 in the house but with an old inefficient boiler. But both wfh with laptops etc running a lot.

looking online suggests average is a lot lower but we had an inefficient old boiler and a large draughty house.

BooksAndChooks · 05/09/2022 16:48

I also agree with @Ozgirl75 .

You also don't need the heating on to dry clothes on radiators. They will still dry if they're hung up on cold radiators, decent airflow will speed it up. In this weather it's easy to keep a few windows on a locked latch or slightly open.

Ozgirl75 · 05/09/2022 22:10

I’m just seeing on a lot of threads “oh we don’t want to go back to the 70s, freezing houses etc” but for most of us our houses were warm, we had hot (if short) showers, dried clothes on a line over the bath etc. It was fine, we weren’t uncomfortable but we definitely thought “put a jumper on first” before turning the heating up.
I did have relatives who lived very frugally with freezing houses and washing at the sink, but there’s definitely a middle ground between wasteful energy use and ice on the windows.

Ozgirl75 · 05/09/2022 22:14

Also, for businesses, we do “Earth Hour” here in Sydney and it’s like “ooo look we’ve turned off the buildings’ lights for an hour” and then once it’s over, we just…..turn them back on again. It’s madness to have the city lit up at night and the weekend. A lot of the measures that German cities are taking seem perfectly sensible - turning off lights at night, lowering the water temperature in business buildings etc, not illuminating statues at night. How are we not already doing this, from a purely environmental point of view?

blabberchops · 06/09/2022 09:59

@lancsgirl85 getting back to your original question, hopefully you now understand how your bill is calculated, but I don't think anyone has actually said this - your monthly direct debit set by the energy company assumes you will use the same amount of energy this year as last year. So, if you know your usage has reduced, and will reduce further due to the lifestyle changes you're making, phone them to explain that - they are then likely to suggest a lower direct debit to reflect the lower projected usage.

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