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Electricity bill......Help !!

hottoshop Avatar
9y, 10m agoPosted 9 years, 10 months ago
Not really begging for someone to pay it, although it may come to that ! :w00t:

We've just had our quarterly bill and got quite a shock as our consumption has leapt by over a third. This is based on the last 2 years consumption so I know it's fairly accurate.

What I've been trying to do is pinpoint exacty where the extra electricity is being used but I am finding it very hard.
Does anyone know of a website where you can input what electrical appliances you have running and it will output your usage ?
I'm useless at all things electrical so it would have to be a "for idiots" type of calculator.

Any help would be apreciated, thanks. :)
hottoshop Avatar
9y, 10m agoPosted 9 years, 10 months ago
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1 Like #1
have you bought anything new in the last 3 months?
I know DAB radios are very juicy, not sure about plasma & lcd tvs.
It's been chilly lately, had electric heating running more than normal?
Are there any electric leads you've not noticed before running into a neighbours house?
Fairly obvious questions but easy to overlook.
#2
It's those pesky alien robots from 'Batteries Not Included' hiding in your attic!
#3
not sure about plasma & lcd tvs


Some plasma TV's consume more power than a fridge freezer...
#4
Thanks for the responses.

We are on economy 7 meter which strangely enough was changed for a new one in the last quarter.
We don't have any electrical heating, only 1 gas fire. We have an immersion boiler that goes on for 1 to 2 hours early morning to heat up water.
We've checked all the timers etc.
Washing machine only used at night. No tumble dryer.
Only normal TV's. Not left on standby although our dvd recorder is as well as the satellite box.
No leads to neighbours houses.

New appliances since last year are:
We have had a freesat dish and set top box installed since last year. Do these use loads ?
We had to invest in an electric underblanket but this has only been used very frugally. About 12 hours in the last quarter.

It's those pesky alien robots from 'Batteries Not Included' hiding in your attic!


It's only the other half that goes up to the attic and she uses rechargable batteries not the mains supply.
[mod]#5
Hi hottoshop, just wondering did they come check your meter or could it have been an estimated bill? Sometimes when you're not in they will estimate your bill and this would then be sorted out after the next meter reading.
[mod]#6
It might be worth giving them a ring and getting them to recheck your bill ... you say its jumped by over a third (quite an increase!), especially when your bill has been pretty steady previously ..
#7
hottoshop
Thanks for the responses.

We are on economy 7 meter which strangely enough was changed for a new one in the last quarter.



hmmmm the plot thickens. check that the final reading from your old meter was logged and calculated with its' previous known reading and that the starting reading from the new one was also logged and calculated to the present day.
methinks they've used a reading from the old meter and deducted it from the new one giving you a high bill.
meter changers, meter readers and bill producers are seperate entities in today's super dooper global companies, one hand has absolutely no idea what the other hand is doing.
#8
Thanks Millarcat.
I have averaged the consumption out over the last 2 years to include estimated bills.
The last reading was taken not estimated.
They took a proper reading when the old meter was taken out.

I thought about calling them because of the meter change and the steep increase but to be honest I was worried that the old meter may have been under reading !
Mind you I don't suppose they will be able to do anything about that.
#9
My electricity bill is £75 per month - and thats just for 2 of us :(
#10
ephellova
hmmmm the plot thickens. check that the final reading from your old meter was logged and calculated with its' previous known reading and that the starting reading from the new one was also logged and calculated to the present day.
methinks they've used a reading from the old meter and deducted it from the new one giving you a high bill.
meter changers, meter readers and bill producers are seperate entities in today's super dooper global companies, one hand has absolutely no idea what the other hand is doing.


Thanks for the advice. We did check this but I am going to go over it again just to make sure. :)
#11
If the previous bills were estimates (and underestimated your usage) and this new bill is an actual metre reading, then the bill would just be "catching up".
#12
hottoshop
Thanks for the advice. We did check this but I am going to go over it again just to make sure. :)


When you ring the bill people ask them exactly what date they've got for meter change and what the final reading was.
I speak from experience, it took me 2 quarters to get it sorted, the bill people didn't know I'd had my meter changed.
#13
markwills
If the previous bills were estimates (and underestimated your usage) and this new bill is an actual metre reading, then the bill would just be "catching up".


no advice from me, just wanted to say that I had a £1300 bill turn up on dec 21st for this very reason!
#14
we get thru about £30 of electricity a week:| we got them to come out and check it a few months back and they said we wern't paying enough:shock: so they changed it to charge more. dont think i'll ask them to look again:whistling:
#15
My mum and dad just got the bill in and it was double, its only because they have estimated your bill.
Phone them and they will sort it out for you, your more than probably in credit rather than due them money
#16
hottoshop

We've just had our quarterly bill and got quite a shock as our consumption has leapt by over a third. This is based on the last 2 years consumption so I know it's fairly accurate.

Any help would be apreciated, thanks. :)


You say consmption but could you be looking at the price, I know our consumption is about the same but a little bit on the high side but I know the per unit rate has gone up drastically. With the price of a barrel at an all time low, the electrical companies say they will drop their prices in the summer, (when we use least).

Are you with a main line supplier or have you changed to one of th 'others'?
#17
Thanks for all the replies, advice and help, it's appreciated.

To answer some of the questions......

The bills were not estimated.
The readings were correct on the meter changeover and have been transfered correctly.
I'm talking about consumption (or units used). I was expecting (and got !) an increase in £ sterling.
I wrote at first it was a third increase but I now realise it is actually worse.
The increase is actualy 50%.
We are with British Gas for both Gas and Electricity. I kow they are one of the more expensive but we had to go back to them after a nightmare experience with another supplier. Anyway it's not relevant to my problem because I am worried about the increase in units used and not £ sterling increase.

I think I am going to call them and ask them to check the new meter. What's the betting they charge you if they find the meter to be OK !

Again many thanks for all the replies, it helps. :):):)
1 Like #18
I have heard stories of new meters being fitted and they haven't worked correctly - usually in the electricity company's favour. I haven't any personal experience of this and can't remember where I read the stories but the outcome was that persistence paid off and the consumers finally got another new meter fitted which cured the problem.

If you get fobbed off by the electricity company (which British Gas are good at - my recommendation is Atlantic EG) the following website might give you a link to follow up. It will take you to a pdf file which I haven't read through but which does look as though it might give you some pointers. Here is the link :- http://www.nwml.gov.uk/Docs/Meter%20Accuracy%20and%20Billing%20Disputes.pdf

Best of luck
#19
Pugwash
I have heard stories of new meters being fitted and they haven't worked correctly - usually in the electricity company's favour. I haven't any personal experience of this and can't remember where I read the stories but the outcome was that persistence paid off and the consumers finally got another new meter fitted which cured the problem.

If you get fobbed off by the electricity company (which British Gas are good at - my recommendation is Atlantic EG) the following website might give you a link to follow up. It will take you to a pdf file which I haven't read through but which does look as though it might give you some pointers. Here is the link :- http://www.nwml.gov.uk/Docs/Meter%20Accuracy%20and%20Billing%20Disputes.pdf

Best of luck


Many thanks. The link you provided has given me some very good information.
Interesting that Electricy Meters are allowed a +2.5 to -3.5% discrepancy level. (If I'm reading that correctly)
Now if I was an unscrupulous Electricity Supplier I know what I would be setting my meters at. :whistling:
#20
Talking of large bills... my mobile bill was £309.01 this month :lol: :giggle:
#21
I had my Gas and Electricity both with Scottish Gas I was paying £89 per month for both. They were charging me £46 per month for gas, the only thing I use gas for is my combi boiler everything else is electricity! British Gas/Scottish Gas have the highest prices around, seemingly they are going to start decreasing the prices but not for a few months! WHich doesn't exactly help anyone at the moment!!

Last week i switched gas & electricity to Scottish Power and immediately saved myself £10 per month. It also looks like my accounts with Scottish Gas are in credit so should get a refund once the switch goes through
#22
Hottoshop,

I know that Maplin sell power monitors which you plug into the mains and then plug the equipment that you want to monitor into the Maplin unit. I believe this can be very useful for determining what each piece of kit uses when it is on and also when it is in Standby. Might be useful if you want to check out any of your appliances.

http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=38343&criteria=power%20monitor&doy=8m2

Not exactly cheap and you might be able to find it from other suppliers for less. However, it does look a useful piece of kit.
#23
British Gas have just announced that as of the 12th March they are dropping their bills by 17% for Gas and 11% for leccy:thumbsup: , this will save approx £180 per quarter. Old Peeps and those on benefits could save £300 a quarter.

They might be the cheapest then but when the other price drop BG will be the most expensive again.:whistling:

Maybe someone could tell Sid if you see him, or was he on the phone to Beatty?. (only the older one will know what I am talking about)
#24
Pugwash

Not exactly cheap and you might be able to find it from other suppliers for less. However, it does look a useful piece of kit.


What's not cheap £27 ? if you found out your fridge was using £100 a year to much, then I think it is cheap. Or even if you save just £27 in one year you have paid for it. Looks like a good idea, might have to invest in one, shame it does not work on lights, can't convince the rest of the family to turn out the lights when they leave a room.:-(
#25
I've got fifteen years experience in the electricity industry and have seen all the tricks, believe me.

The maplin thing looks ok, but limited. If anyone is serious about analysing their usage, then i've had this thing recommended to me by more than one person. [url]www.electrisave.co.uk[/url] ok it's £80, but it tells you real-time consumption in pence per hour, and it reacts immediately when you switch appliances on and off. if you're willing and able to reduce consumption and bills then this will give you the info and the spur.

Not used one and have no connection with the company, but just for info.

If anyone takes the plunge, maybe use it for a month I'm sure you'll recoup most of your outlay on ebay or the private sales section here...
#26
Agree with what your saying - mostly. However, I can buy a good quality (emphasis on the good) multimeter for around a tenner. Okay it's not an AVO or a Fluke (professional meters) but safe and reliable and a power monitor is only one step up from that so I would expect a reasonable price to be about £15.

Perhaps Maplin might include it in one of their offers now and then?

Change all your light bulbs to compact fluorescent and you won't need to worry quite so much about the family leaving them on. New designs and shapes are making them quite versatile these days. Also the prices have come down quite a lot see this link http://avenuesupplies.co.uk/index.php?id=424&category=Energy+saving

I have found that the BLACKSPUR bulbs give a very white light which is useful for kitchens, study etc. - anywhere that you want a whiter light. The other types of bulbs give a softer light - more like an incandescent bulb and which are useful for wall lights etc. You can even get compact fluorescent spotlights now - I have some fitted and they work fine. They do work out to be more expensive but should pay for themselves in time.
#27
Crazy1
What's not cheap £27 ? if you found out your fridge was using £100 a year to much, then I think it is cheap. Or even if you save just £27 in one year you have paid for it. Looks like a good idea, might have to invest in one, shame it does not work on lights, can't convince the rest of the family to turn out the lights when they leave a room.:-(


Crazy - tricky one lights. A 100w bulb costs a penny an hour to run, if you are going to be using the light again within the hour then sometimes it's best to leave it on as the switching on/off brings the capital cost of a lightbulb closer. energy saving bulbs approx three to ten hours for a penny depending on wattage. Of course a three bar fire is thirty pence an hour - nothing more infuriating than seeing one of those left on when no-one is actually cold!
#28
sossidge
I've got fifteen years experience in the electricity industry and have seen all the tricks, believe me.

The maplin thing looks ok, but limited. If anyone is serious about analysing their usage, then i've had this thing recommended to me by more than one person. [url]www.electrisave.co.uk[/url] ok it's £80, but it tells you real-time consumption in pence per hour, and it reacts immediately when you switch appliances on and off. if you're willing and able to reduce consumption and bills then this will give you the info and the spur.

Not used one and have no connection with the company, but just for info.

If anyone takes the plunge, maybe use it for a month I'm sure you'll recoup most of your outlay on ebay or the private sales section here...


£60 here http://www.ethicalsuperstore.com/product_info.php?cPath=73&products_id=1194&gclid=CMS64OeznooCFRsZVAod_3S3nA
#29
#31
hottoshop

We are on economy 7 meter which strangely enough was changed for a new one in the last quarter.


Could the economy 7 meter be set wrong?
I dont really understand them, but are they the storage heaters that use the cheap rate late night electric?
Maybe the meter is 12hrs out and storing the daytime elec which would be costly!

Like I say, Im not sure, just thinking out loud.
#32
Fixngrout
Could the economy 7 meter be set wrong?
I dont really understand them, but are they the storage heaters that use the cheap rate late night electric?
Maybe the meter is 12hrs out and storing the daytime elec which would be costly!

Like I say, Im not sure, just thinking out loud.


Economy 7 and storage heaters don't work together, the E7 unit switches over to cheap rate electricity at 23.30 from then till about 06.00 you can use as much as you like at the reduced rate so it does not work have storage heaters working like this, anyway storage heaters store up during the day and release at night if I am right.
#33
storage heaters store up at night when electricity is on the cheap rate and pump out heat all day
#34
do you think maybe the old meter might have been running slow so costing you less per month now with the new meter its actually charging you what you are using per month
1 Like #35
If you haven't switched supplier recently, it might be worth checking to see if another supplier would be cheaper.

Visit www.uswitch.com, or one of the other comparison sites - dead easy to check (and to switch if you find a cheaper supplier) - you just need details of your electricity and/or gas usage/cost over the last year.

I switched for the second time last year, because the new supplier would save me about £200 a year on a £550 bill for gas and electric. Also, some suppliers (e.g. Npower) give you discounts for paying by D.D.

Please note that British Gas are cutting their prices soon, so all the other suppliers will probably do the same.

I think it is worth checking suppliers every year, just as it is worth checking your car and home insurance every year (www.confused.com).
#36
Hottoshop,

I think some of the contributors are not reading your post correctly. I agree that you need to sort out the accuracy of your meter before you start considering switching suppliers. If the meter is wrong then it will still be wrong with a new supplier. You have done the correct checks in looking at unit useage as opposed to price. There is, of course, always the possibility that your previous meter was under-reading although I would go with the new one being inaccurate. Unless, of course, you've recently added a piece of kit in your house that might be running away with units which is why I mentioned the power monitor idea.

In the pdf on the link I posted I note they say that 90% of electricity meters prove to be accurate when tested. That still leaves 10% which must be inaccurate and I would say that is unacceptable for modern electronics. If you have one of those 10% then you will be overcharged. I was amazed to read that the accuracy of gas meters can be as low as 67%.


On another note the 'experts' (MSE) say that Economy 7 is only worthwhile if you have 40% or more of your useage at low rate because the daytime rate is slightly higher than normal unit charges. My house is Economy 7, the heating stores up overnight and is discharged using a fan system and thermostats during the day. With the latest heaters being very well insulated and the main unit being stashed away in its own understairs cupboard they are still hot at night and not excessively so in the morning - we run the heating at around 18-20°C depending on the time of day. Cheaper than heating my house by gas and the whole building structure remains warm which has tremendous long term benefits. The Economy 7 units are 4 times the useage of the daytime units as we have the heating, washing machine, dishwasher, breadmaker etc. all on the low rate. Means you have clean crockery, clean washing and fresh bread to get up to in the morning without paying the earth.

The meter is switched over using the long wave radio signal from the BBC at Droitwich (same as long wave Radio 4). It sends the appropriate pulses every few minutes and so you never have to worry about it switching over at the correct time.

The other benefit of this form of heating, of course, is the extremely low maintenance costs of such a system. If you get a power cut there is normally enough stored heat to last for hours. Even a gas boiler and pumped central heating won't run without electricity and I smile every time I see the gas maintenance men pull up outside other houses in the middle of winter.
#37
Many thanks to all for the advice and help. :thumbsup:

We researched Economy 7 before asking for the meter (some 8 years ago). Our meter switches over to cheap rate at 00:00 for 1 hour, reverts back to full price at 01:00am for 1 hour and then goes from 02:00am until 08:00 am at cheap rate.
Our % usage day to night was fine before this last bill came in, it is now borderline or maybe even not viable.

We do not have any electric heating.
We have an immersion heater for hot water which comes on at 6:00am until 07:45am daily.
All laundry is done on cheap rate.
We only use energy saving light bulbs.

Whilst all that is really irrelevant to my problem (usage NOT £ sterling) it should show we have/had things set up correctly. It's just all gone wrong in the last quarter. :x

The increased usage appears to be in the daytime so this is what we are investigating.
The only 2 new electrical appliances we have had in the "problem period" are an electric underblanket and a satellite box.
The underblanket has been used very sparingly and only in the coldest of times for about 20 hours total.
The satellite box is kept on standby now when not in use although I have to admit that at first it was kept on all the time. I thought it needed to be kept on to keep the data stored. :whistling:
The only other increased usage has been the computer. ( I'm blaming HUKD for that :giggle: )

Looks like I am going to have to opt for calling them in to check the meter. I am though very wary about the old meter having been under reading and I don't want to get sddled with some silly charge if the meter is correct.

I like the idea of the devices to check usage and will look into them. Thanks to those members that provided the links, it's appreciated.

I am very grateful for all the advice. Thank you. :):):)
#38
40% is wrong, the only supplies near that would be an old folks home with hundreds of storage rads, or a bakers where they work through the night, etc. 25% is a better guide.

10% of meter tests proving a fault is also very dubious - I'd say nearer 1%.

Supplier will probably charge you £100 to £150 for a meter test. The basic test is a standard load test where they run a "standard load" through your meter. Again, you could do this yourself - turn everything off except for a 100w bulb or 1kw fire and see how long it takes to clock up each tenth of a unit - same result but you save £100.
#39
sossidge
40% is wrong, the only supplies near that would be an old folks home with hundreds of storage rads, or a bakers where they work through the night, etc. 25% is a better guide.



You'd better tell Martin Lewis of the Money Saving Experts website that then - it's his quote. He says that if your low rate units are less than 40% of your total useage then you'd be better off on a normal single rate tariff.

We're a 4 bed semi and our low rate useage is 4 times that of the daytime rate useage and whilst I am retired I don't rate our place as an old folks home with hundreds of storage rads.
#40
sossidge

10% of meter tests proving a fault is also very dubious - I'd say nearer 1%.



The figures come from the Government's own statistics on the website I gave very early in this thread. This is the government agency which looks after the testing of such meters.

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