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Does anyone have Economy 7 heating?

19 replies

Bubbaloo · 24/11/2008 12:14

We moved into our new house in July and assumed we had standard gas central heating as we have radiators in all the rooms.
However,when we got our first energy bills and I phoned to give a reading they told me I had to give them 2 readings(by pressing a button on the meter)as we have Economy 7.I eventually found the button and gave the readings but to be honest I don't really understand why there are 2 readings,what the difference between Economy 7 and gas central are and whether our useage will be on our gas or electic bill(both British Gas at the moment).If anyone could explain please,I'd appreciate it.

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BoffinMum · 24/11/2008 13:02

As I understand it, if you have a boiler in the kitchen or somewhere similar, with a timer attached to it, and a pilot light visible through a little window at the front, you may well have gas central heating. If the boiler does not appear to have a pilot light, you might well have electric heating.

(For the purposes of completeness, if there is a big tank outside in your garden, you probably have oil central heating).

If you have two meters, one for electricity and the other for gas (which measures in therms), this is another clue that something in your house expects to use gas, although it may be the cooker, of course.

The economy 7 might just relate to one single storage heater somewhere. These tend to be quite big and bulky, as they have bricks inside to retain heat that is gathered during the night when the electricity is cheaper. They do not look like radiators.

Are the radiators you talk about wired into the wall, with switches, or do they have pipes running back to the hot water tank/boiler set up? This is another possible clue.

Bubbaloo · 24/11/2008 13:40

Yes,I do have a bolier with a pilot light(in utility room) and I definately don't have any storage heaters anywhere.
All the rads are exactly what we had in our other house(where we had gch),with no switches and just the thermostat valves on the end to turn the heat up/down.
We have 2 meters under the stairs-one gas and one electric but like you mentioned,the hob in the kitchen is gas,so I'm still completely baffled.

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BoffinMum · 24/11/2008 15:38

It's leaning a bit towards gas central heating, from the look of things.

You may just have Economy 7 for historical reasons - for example it's possible to delay start your washing machine and run it at night to save money. It's for reducing electricity costs and has nothing to do with gas.

Have you asked British Gas for a gas bill to make a comparison?

nannynick · 24/11/2008 16:00

Eco7 is electricity, so look at your electric distribution board. With Eco7 there will be two distribution boards - one for the Eco7 circuit(s). With Eco7 you also have a time switch, located next to the Electricity Meter. Modern meters may incorporate the time switch, but when they upgraded my electricity meter a couple of years back, my timeswitch was not replaced. The machanical timeswitch I find uses 4 units per day, so if you have no Eco7 usage, it may be wise to have the Eco7 parts completely removed.

Eco7 could be in use for heating Water (immersion heater). Though with you also having Gas in your property it would not make sense (to me) to use Eco7 to heat water... might as well use the Gas.

I think a bit more investigation is needed. Locate the fuse boxes, see if that helps you identify what is using Eco7.

nannynick · 24/11/2008 16:04

If it is of help, my Elec bill arrived this morning... so here is the difference in cost terms for electricity used on Standard and Eco7 (I'm in South of England, supplier EDF - your costs could well be different)

Eco7 - 4.72p
Standard - 21.36p

Bubbaloo · 24/11/2008 16:10

Sorry but I'm still confused.
Will it actually be costing me more to have the Economy 7 meter then,even though I have gas central heating and would it be wise to replace the meter or should I just carry on as I am?
Will go and have a look at the meter now and see if it makes any more sense to me.

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Bubbaloo · 24/11/2008 16:14

Have just had a look and the meter looks quite modern.There is also something there which says the meter was replaced in 2005 by Eastern Electricity.
I wonder if it would be wroth getting an electrician to come and have a look at it?

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nannynick · 24/11/2008 16:21

Eco7 has nothing to do with Gas Central Heating. Disassociate the two in your mind.

I feel you need to establish what your Eco7 is actually used for. When your electricity bill comes through it will list how many units have been used since the last bill date, if that number of units is in the hundreds, then something in your property is using Eco7.

If I switch off my Eco7 circuits (used for Heating via a Night Storage Heater, and for hot water) I find that the meter still records 4 units per day - thus yes, if nothing in your property is using Eco7 and you do not intend to use it in the future, and if you own the property (rather than rent), then you could ask for the Eco7 part of the system to be disconnected. My Eco7 costs around 20p per day to run, even with all Eco7 appliances switched off.

For now, carry on as you are... but check the electric bill and if Eco7 is accumulating units, then work out what is using Eco7 in your property.

nannynick · 24/11/2008 16:27

Look at the fuse box(es). Modern fuse boxes have nice labels in them saying what each fuse protects. Modern fuse boxes often have a transparent cover, and miniature circuit breakers (things with switches on, rather than a piece of fuse wire) so you can see which circuits are on, and off.
If your fuse box is an older type, you must switch off the power before opening it. With the older fuse boxes, there will be a separate box for Standard and Eco7.

Bubbaloo · 24/11/2008 16:53

Have just checked the fuse box and everything is turned on.Everything is labelled except for 2 in the middle which have been left blank.Everything else is either lights,sockets,shower or cooker.
Think I'll do as you say and wait for the next bill to come in(due shortly) and take it from there.Who would I need to disconnect it though,if need be?

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nannynick · 24/11/2008 17:19

I think it could only be disconnected by the electricity board - as the meter and timer are usually in their cupboard and are their property.
However do look at the electricity bill, then take it from there. If it is using units, then call a local electrician and ask if they will come out and do a diagnostic test of some sort, to identify which circuits do what, explaining to them that you have an Eco7 meter, but you don't think you have Eco7.

Two left blank - they sound like spares, which is good practice, so expect it's been professionally installed.

No labels saying things like Eco7 Water, Eco7 Heat, Eco7 Sockets, etc? Sounds like you don't use Eco7. Also only having one fuse box, would imply to me that it is likely you don't use Eco7.

Bubbaloo · 24/11/2008 17:39

Thanks,that's most helpful.
I've just found our first electricity bill from Sept and the charges seem to be broken down into 4 seperate readings(the 1st 2 are for July and the last 2 are July-Sept).They are all quite high(642,331,162,84)and tbh I even phoned them after getting the bill as I thought it was expensive but was told it was probably due to our halogen spots and tumble drier being on alot.

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nannynick · 24/11/2008 18:04

Tricky to know from those readings, as the way they show bills can vary between suppliers.

Mine says things like:

Previous reading, Latest Reading,
units 293, unit split first 241, next 52
previous reading, latest reading,
units 413, unit split first 37 next 376

Does your bill show things like unit split (this occurs when the tariff price changes mid bill period)?

If 642, 331 are both July readings, yet 162,84 are July-Sept... then the first readings seem a bit high.

Due to having moved to the property in July, it may be best to wait till the next bill, so you know that it is actually you that has used all the units - rather than a previous occupier/while property was empty.

If 331 is an Eco7 reading, then it appears to me that something is using Eco7.

Bubbaloo · 24/11/2008 20:52

I phoned British Gas and asked them why I've got an Economy 7 meter when I don't use Economy 7.They told me that they have me down as a regular meter and I am not being charged any extra for Economy 7.I asked if they could disconnect the meter and they told me that if it was a fairly recent meter then they wouldn't do so,but if it was an older type one they would.
I told her it was all rather confusing and she said although they take both readings they do not charge me day and night and I am definately only being charged as having a 'normal' meter.
She said the reason for the meter is probably because they used to have it here which could make some sense.The people we bought from were property developers and they had completely done up the house,before selling it to us,so it's quite possible.
Those readings I quoted were back to front,sorry.
The lower 2 were for July and the higher 2 for July-Sept.

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Millarkie · 24/11/2008 21:10

We have an economy 7 meter but it's not for the heating (which is oil fired) and we don't have any 'special' eco7 sockets or wiring...with ours any electricity we use between 11.30pm-6.30am is counted on the night rate and any electricity we use the rest of the time is counted on the day rate. We have a timer on our dishwasher, a timer on the washing machine (I don't use the tumble drier but could put a timer on that I suppose) and anything else which we can run during the night (water softener, charging up the Aga) then we do!
The night rate is significantly cheaper than the standard electric rate, the day rate is slightly higher than the standard rate, so you have to use a certain amount ( IIRC 15%) of your electicity at night in order to make it worth being on the Economy 7 tariff. We use 60% of our electricity at night and save a fortune.

nannynick · 24/11/2008 23:40

Millarkie - that sounds a far better way of doing things, than having the separate circuits. Mine is a bit old fashioned I think, though property is only about 20 years old.

Fizzylemonade · 25/11/2008 07:45

Bubbaloo I used to work for npower so you just need to look at your bill for me.

If you are being charged the same unit rate for your day units and your night units then you are being charged on a normal single rate tariff.

It would only be different if like nannynick you had a day units charged at 21.36 pence and night units charged at 4.72 pence

As you can see that is a huge difference.

I believe nanynick must have a very old meter in her property, the new ones just look like a normal meter but instead of having little dials that go round like your speedometer in your car they now have a digital display with a button that you press to scroll through the settings.

As Millarkie says they use the economy 7 setting because they can use a lot of their electricity at night and therefore it can be a very good deal cheaper.

Your night rate will always clock something being used as things are left plugged in that we don't even think about like fridge/freezers/clocks etc

I have bored people to death with this before but unplug or switch off anything you can especially anything with an adaptor so mobile phone chargers/laptops chargers and also stereos etc when you are not using them because even when not charging something they are using electricity and it all adds up.

StripeyKnickersSpottySocks · 27/11/2008 16:48

I have Economy7 metre and used to put everything such as dishwasher/ washing machine on timer to come on at night. Until the day the dishwasher caught fire - luckily it was in the evening and I was in the dining room. I do know someone who this happened to and by the time her smoke detectors woke her up the house was gutted. I thought that the chances of anything catching fire were very slim until it happened!

carr · 22/12/2008 00:53

i hate british gas. I want to kill my self. I know this sounds drastic but i have had problems with them for over a year. now they want to cut my electric off. Merry christmas!
I ahve had a letter of disconnection and some jumped up git said they are coming to disconnect on 30th december. I asked what court they went to but he said he was not at liberty to tell me. want can i do

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