help with electric prices /storage heating?

20 replies
Found 11th Mar
Basically, me, my partner & our son private rent a 2 bed masionette and recently our electricity bills seem to have gone crazy and I'm just wondering if anyone knows if these prices are roughly ok or something might be wrong?

We are with Scottish power at the moment and pay a direct debit of 100 pcm. Bur they want to increase that as they say our usage is higher than that, this is where the problem lies I can't work out how it's so extortiante.
We have an economy 7 meter & storage heaters we don't boost the water at all in the day.
When the water is hot it only lasts for about 20 minutes in total and then it's all gone.
We don't have a tumble dryer, only a washing machine that we use maybe 5 times a week.
The only other things we have really are the tv quite a bit and a small 54 litre fish tank filter and heater.

Anyone have any info on what they pay & what their storage heaters and immersion heater are like?

Our deal is due to expire in May with Scottish power and our projected yearly use is in the region of £2200! No way we can afford it. Utter madness. I have tried to speak to Scottish power & they keep palming me off onto the energy efficiency team but I have never heard back from them!

Thanks

20 Comments

You should take your own readings & photograph them. Also, if your meter is clocking over too fast, try turning off your appliances one by one as perhaps you have a faulty fridge or washing machine. If your heating is faulty then it is up to the landlord to fix it. We took monthly readings for 6 months when we first moved in to our flat. Scottish Power are only your suppliers, they cannot control your usage so they are telling you that your usage is above average and you should look into it.

Some things to consider (sorry if some may seem obvious )
a) Check you are actually on an economy 7 tariff - just because you have the E7 meter doesn't always follow you are actually on an E7 tariff , check your bill to be sure .

b) Years since I had storage heaters , but they could be set so they would top up during the day if they dropped below a certain level . Happened often especially as you could boost the heat circulation with a fan . Soon worked that one out and set them to not come on during the day .

c) Your background electricity usage should be around 250 watts (lights , tele , fishtank, fridge etc), for the 17 hours on normal electricity . Kettle , cooker, washing machine will add 1-2 kw each for the time they are on. So your daytime usage should be circa 6-7 kwhours (4kwh background + say 2hours washing machine /kettle/ cooker usage )the cooker and washing machine will only draw the full 2-3kw for part of the time they are on.

So check your bill - your daytime usage should be around 500-600 kwh per quarter (on a back of a fag packet calculation . I could be wrong ,I'll get back to you a bit later when I finish work with better figures off my own bills.

I have a 3 bed semi- heating and water is gas- and the electric part of my bill is always £28 -£31 a month. So I would say if all is in order yours should be similar for the none E7 part of your bill. Check your meter and ensure the "daytime" reading is only rising by 6-7 units per day.

Now the E7 part of your bill (I presume you have, say 4 storage heaters @3-4 kwh each and a 2kw immersion) . At 2330(or thereabouts) they should kick in , so you are looking at maybe 15kw until they heat up ( so could be 40 - 50kwh per night) . This is a very rough estimate to illustrate how your bill could be so screwed up if that E7 usage isn't going on the E7 rate , but all or part of it on the daytime (much,much higher) rate .

Another thing that I notice is that you say you only have 20 mins of hot water ? You should have a whole tank full every morning (enough for 2 or 3 baths or the equivalent ).

I remember when I had E7 my hot water tank had 2 immersion heaters - One at the bottom (which heated the whole tank on E7 at night) and one near the top which could be used to heat about a bathful if the hotwater was used up . The one at the top worked on full rate electricity and was individually switched .

The variable of course is how much heat your place needs , what is the insulation like ,double glazing etc but I tend to think its more likely to be that you are perhaps not on an E7 tariff (despite having an E7 meter) or some other reason why your high consumption items (immersion heater and storage heaters) are drawing electricity during the much dearer on peak hours ,

I'll be finished work in an hour or so and get back to you with my electric consumption in kwh ,which should be similar to your (and everyone else's ) on peak consumption .As a ball park figure I would say that in summer your off peak and on peak kwh usage should be about the same and in winter your off peak kwh usage should 6to7 times your off peak usage .

You are right to be worried about this , the £1200 a year you are paying should more than cover the bill if all is in order .

Further to above I got it about right -my monthly electricity usage is 190- 210 kwh which equates to 6-7 kwh per day . I expect for a family it could be a bit higher (more washing machine use , more cooking ) but I think most households will use about 7kwh per day (not including heating and hot water). Checking your kwh usage is a far easier way to check your usage as using a cost basis can be misleading due to different tariffs ,standing charges etc .

You don't say how long you have rented this place ? If you have recently moved in is it possible the meter was misread on handover ? Or even that Scottish Power are charging higher rates to recover a previous tenants debts to them ? It shouldn't happen -but it does .

If you are online with Scottish power or if you have a paper bill check
a) You are on an economy 7 tariff
b) Check your kwh usage on the day and night tariffs (the day usage should be 8kwh /day max ) . The night will vary over the year but in winter will be much higher than the day .
c) Go on a comparison site - use the kwh figures from your bill to get quotes (it will give you an idea if Scottish power have miscalculated.
d) Ask neighbours in similar properties what they are paying - obviously yours should be in the same ballpark even though others will be with different suppliers/deals .
e) Take meter readings every day and keep a record , as previously suggested a photo a day of the meter . So you can have an idea of what it "thinks" you are using . If you have a neighbour in a similar property ask them to do the same so you can compare .
f) Ensure your storage heaters/ hot water aren't heating up during the day ( 0630 -2330 give or take) . They should only do so during the 7 hour cheaper period (normally 2330-0630 -but can vary by an hour or so ).
Even if you are on a rubbish standard tariff your annual bill should not be much more than £1k for a modern 2 bedroom maisonette so there is something wrong somewhere . Its worth getting your head round your usage as it will enable you to understand your bill better (and get the best switch) once this obvious problem is sorted .

Having the relevant usage information will make it much more difficult for Scottish Power to fob you off when you phone them . Having a "smart meter" fitted (its free) will help you - but I'm not convinced that, in the future, they will not be used to charge us more for usage at peak times.

It would be helpful to know how long you have been in the property -if a fair while , check to see if your kwh usage has suddenly gone up in comparison with the same month a year ago -easy if you are on line with them, or have kept your paper bills .

Your winter usage (Nov-Feb ) will be typically double your summer usage in an all electric house , maybe their computer has just screwed up and extrapolated your annual usage to be say 12 times your January usage which is obviously ridiculous .

No way can you be using that much electricity (unless you have a marijuana farm in the bedroom oO) Causes ? :-

Scottish Power computer estimate flawed .
Meter faulty
Storage heaters ,immersion heater on during the day (check your upper immersion isn't permanently switched on, and check you haven't enabled storage heaters to top up during the day ) .
Wiring wrong (been changed by a previous occupant .

A few bits of food for thought ,let us know how you get on . There will be something amiss there and in reality Scottish Power should be helping you find it . Good luck .

Scottish Power have managed to transpose the figures for our low and high rates of electric twice over the last few years . The last time they corrected it , they initially billed us for an extra £2k plus, totally incorrect bill which took us some months to get sorted , but if you haven't always been the bill payer at this property I wonder if some previous error could be at play.
Also is there any chance someone else ( the other massionette for example) could have hooked into your electric supply?
Wish you the best in sorting it out.

tinkerbellian

Scottish Power have managed to transpose the figures for our low and high … Scottish Power have managed to transpose the figures for our low and high rates of electric twice over the last few years . The last time they corrected it , they initially billed us for an extra £2k plus, totally incorrect bill which took us some months to get sorted , but if you haven't always been the bill payer at this property I wonder if some previous error could be at play.Also is there any chance someone else ( the other massionette for example) could have hooked into your electric supply?Wish you the best in sorting it out.



​I had the same problems with npower, right hassle to get sorted!

meganjonez

Basically, me, my partner & our son private rent a 2 bed masionette … Basically, me, my partner & our son private rent a 2 bed masionette and recently our electricity bills seem to have gone crazy and I'm just wondering if anyone knows if these prices are roughly ok or something might be wrong?We are with Scottish power at the moment and pay a direct debit of 100 pcm. Bur they want to increase that as they say our usage is higher than that, this is where the problem lies I can't work out how it's so extortiante.We have an economy 7 meter & storage heaters we don't boost the water at all in the day.When the water is hot it only lasts for about 20 minutes in total and then it's all gone.We don't have a tumble dryer, only a washing machine that we use maybe 5 times a week.The only other things we have really are the tv quite a bit and a small 54 litre fish tank filter and heater.Anyone have any info on what they pay & what their storage heaters and immersion heater are like?Our deal is due to expire in May with Scottish power and our projected yearly use is in the region of £2200! No way we can afford it. Utter madness. I have tried to speak to Scottish power & they keep palming me off onto the energy efficiency team but I have never heard back from them!Thanks



£100 pcm for a 2bed with 2 adults and 1 child doesn't sound overly expensive to me, considering electricity is also your main source of heating.

They have suggested you increase your DD as we have just come through winter, your useage, as with the majority of householders, will have went up over the past few months, insist it stays at the same amount each month, it will even itself out over the course of the year.

To attempt to save ;

Check your tariff, compare on the comparison websites and see if there are cheaper tariffs available to you.

Ensure you take and submit meter readings yourself, never ever rely on estimates.

Insulation ; will cost, but saves in the long term if your home requires measures to ensure its adequately insulated.

Heaters ; are they old and inefficient? Again would require an outlay, but replacing old antiquated storage heaters with more efficient models may be the answer?

Lastly, without trying to sound condescending, turn the heating down a notch, you may find you won't notice the difference..?

I pay £158 pm direct debit for 3 bed mid terrace. With storage heaters. So yours seems quite cheap.

In my previous house with gas and electric I paid a similar amount combined. But with summer months coming I can turn storage heaters off, it'll bring my bill down by a considerable amount.
Edited by: ".MUFC." 11th Mar

Original Poster

Thanks for all the replies guys!

We've been renting since Mayou 2016 and it's fairly modern IMO, with double glazing and 5 storage heaters. 2 quite old and 1 very modern other two in between.
The previous tenants were with SSE so we switched ourselves to Scottish power as they assumed we would only use roughly 60-70 pcm and started off around that until we provideo meter readings & it seems to have increased each time we have provided a meter reading.

Also, I doubt that the upstairs flat is using our electricity as she has a meter next to ours (we have checked we are reading correct meter with serial no.) I will check hers more often though to see if it is actually increasing lol.

I've made sure that the immersion only heats for two hours between 4am and 6am.
And I've also switched off the boost during the day that I think the previous tenants had on (turned this off near enough immediatley)

I understand the £100 pcm for 2 adults 1 child isn't too bad but I'm getting quotes for our usage at around 2200 minimum per anum on comparison sites.

When I last spoke tl Scottish power they told me the following usage & rates.

Tarrif
Standing charge per day. 20.54p
Day unit 12.05 kwh
Night 5p kwh

Our usage apparently I'm assuming per day?
11076
3938

Sorry I'm not too great with this in particularly understanding the kwh and conversions

Thanks again

Original Poster

rogparki

No way can you be using that much electricity (unless you have a … No way can you be using that much electricity (unless you have a marijuana farm in the bedroom oO) Causes ? :- Scottish Power computer estimate flawed . Meter faulty Storage heaters ,immersion heater on during the day (check your upper immersion isn't permanently switched on, and check you haven't enabled storage heaters to top up during the day ) . Wiring wrong (been changed by a previous occupant . A few bits of food for thought ,let us know how you get on . There will be something amiss there and in reality Scottish Power should be helping you find it . Good luck .



Deffo not running a marujina factory as I could afford the electricity then

Original Poster

Sorry rogparki it didn't post my whole reply!

How would I be able to check the immersion isn't topping up in the day or that the heaters aren't topping up also? I assume via the control panel but it looks very simple and I have never seen more than the basic hours for heating & boost button.

Right think I have it now , your usage seems reasonable (if a little higher than I expected ) . The numbers are in kwh ( the numbers on the meter are in kwh ) and are your last years consumption (assuming they are off your bill ) as there is nothing else they could match . Therefore your previous years cost is

Night 11076 kwh @ 5p per unit = £553.80
Day 3938 kwh @ 12.05 p per unit =£474.52
Standing Charge 20.54p per day = £ 74.50

A total annual bill of £1102.82 , your £100 a month is paying £1200 so it beats me why they should be putting your DD up ! armed with this knowledge ,get on to Scottish Power and demand an explanation for the increased DD (probably a computer glitch ).

It seems your usage is OK but to check your storage heaters (in a non technical way) switch one or two off at their individual wall switches during the night (so they are cold in the morning ) then switch back on during the day and check they do not warm up until the following night , repeat until you have checked all 5 .

For the immersion heaters there should be 2 on your hot water tank (one near the top and one near the bottom) . The top one should be connected to a switch with a light on it - make sure the top one is switched off and the light is off you should only use this one as a top up as it uses electricity at the high rate . Make sure the bottom one is switched on all the time (this one comes off your E7 circuit).

It is probably false economy to only have your immersion on for only 2 hours a night that isn't enough time to heat a tankfull , although the hot water will rise to the top ,you will lose a lot of heat in the water due to conduction during the day. There will be a thermostat in the tank ,so there is no danger of overheating the hot water, it will switch off during the night of its own accord when the whole tank is at the right temperature. Try having the water heating on from 2 am to 5 am . An extra hour to ensure that your water is fully heated and an hour earlier to ensure it is on during the E7 period . My 7 hours are 1130pm -0630 am in the summer 0030 - 0730 in the summer but they can vary .

When you got your quote on the comparison sites I suggest you have probably put your usage figures in the wrong way round to get that quote . You should have put Annual usage : Day 3938 Night 11076 .

Just done a quick fag packet calculation (using my next years projected rates from current supplier ) comes to about £1400 per year ( about £120 per month) using the figures the right way round . Putting them in the wrong way round comes to Guess what about £2000 ( about £170 per month ) .

Do the comparison again using the figures the right way round , Expect the prices to have risen 10-15 % since last year so I would expect your total bill to be up from £1100 to about £1300 ( about £110 a month) . I'll be on the comparison sites later on as I need to sort mine for next year so I'll put your figures in too and see what comes up and post it here .

Once you have done that ring up Scottish Power and tell them you are leaving , and explain why armed with the quote you get - they will talk to you then ! The increase could be because your current fixed rate is ending soon .and the new DD relates to their current standard rate (their most expensive rate ). Check when your current fixed rate finishes (for instance March 2017) and don't switch before the end date . Due to the much publicised energy price increases expect to pay at least 10 - 15% more next year .

rogparki

Right think I have it now , your usage seems reasonable (if a little … Right think I have it now , your usage seems reasonable (if a little higher than I expected ) . The numbers are in kwh ( the numbers on the meter are in kwh ) and are your last years consumption (assuming they are off your bill ) as there is nothing else they could match . Therefore your previous years cost is Night 11076 kwh @ 5p per unit = £553.80 Day 3938 kwh @ 12.05 p per unit =£474.52 Standing Charge 20.54p per day = £ 74.50 A total annual bill of £1102.82 , your £100 a month is paying £1200 so it beats me why they should be putting your DD up ! armed with this knowledge ,get on to Scottish Power and demand an explanation for the increased DD (probably a computer glitch ). It seems your usage is OK but to check your storage heaters (in a non technical way) switch one or two off at their individual wall switches during the night (so they are cold in the morning ) then switch back on during the day and check they do not warm up until the following night , repeat until you have checked all 5 . For the immersion heaters there should be 2 on your hot water tank (one near the top and one near the bottom) . The top one should be connected to a switch with a light on it - make sure the top one is switched off and the light is off you should only use this one as a top up as it uses electricity at the high rate . Make sure the bottom one is switched on all the time (this one comes off your E7 circuit). It is probably false economy to only have your immersion on for only 2 hours a night that isn't enough time to heat a tankfull , although the hot water will rise to the top ,you will lose a lot of heat in the water due to conduction during the day. There will be a thermostat in the tank ,so there is no danger of overheating the hot water, it will switch off during the night of its own accord when the whole tank is at the right temperature. Try having the water heating on from 2 am to 5 am . An extra hour to ensure that your water is fully heated and an hour earlier to ensure it is on during the E7 period . My 7 hours are 1130pm -0630 am in the summer 0030 - 0730 in the summer but they can vary . When you got your quote on the comparison sites I suggest you have probably put your usage figures in the wrong way round to get that quote . You should have put Annual usage : Day 3938 Night 11076 . Just done a quick fag packet calculation (using my next years projected rates from current supplier ) comes to about £1400 per year ( about £120 per month) using the figures the right way round . Putting them in the wrong way round comes to Guess what about £2000 ( about £170 per month ) . Do the comparison again using the figures the right way round , Expect the prices to have risen 10-15 % since last year so I would expect your total bill to be up from £1100 to about £1300 ( about £110 a month) . I'll be on the comparison sites later on as I need to sort mine for next year so I'll put your figures in too and see what comes up and post it here . Once you have done that ring up Scottish Power and tell them you are leaving , and explain why armed with the quote you get - they will talk to you then ! The increase could be because your current fixed rate is ending soon .and the new DD relates to their current standard rate (their most expensive rate ). Check when your current fixed rate finishes (for instance March 2017) and don't switch before the end date . Due to the much publicised energy price increases expect to pay at least 10 - 15% more next year .



Increased useage over the past 3/4 months - there automated billing process is assuming that the user is using more therefore suggesting an increase to the DD, particuarly in the OP's situation of having electric heating.

Put your usage in on a switch/ compare site - coming up with £1300 - £1500 a year ( £108 - £125 per month) . Obviously can't be exact as I only know your usage , but seems about right as a ballpark figure , do the "dry" comparison yourself then contact Scottish power with the result and see what they offer , if not good go for the switch when your current "deal" expires . TBH looking at the rates they are charging at the moment as per your post your current deal is very good . I am sure they are projecting your future costs on their standard (much more expensive) rate . Call them tell them you want to leave ,and why -then they will talk or transfer you to their retentions dept .Whatever I suspect you will be looking at an increase of 10-15% but certainly not the increase to nearly £200 a month you were given . Don't switch before your current contract ends (I presume 30 April like mine ) but switch then if they can't match your comparison quotes -and do tell them that .

Edited by: "rogparki" 11th Mar

andynicol

Increased useage over the past 3/4 months - there automated billing … Increased useage over the past 3/4 months - there automated billing process is assuming that the user is using more therefore suggesting an increase to the DD, particuarly in the OP's situation of having electric heating.


They have been there 10 months Scottish Power have given them the annual projected figures which seem about right - No way should Scottish Powers computer give them an annual estimate based on 3 to 4 months winter use ! But it appears it has . Shame on you once again Scottish Power To be fair the Direct Debit cost is just a guide to what they think you will use , you will only ever pay for what you Actually use and I believe you can demand a refund when your credit gets to over £100, but that's not the point, after 10 months bills Scottish Power should offer the OP the best deal they offer based on the projected annual consumption the OP has stated - They are clearly not doing this so are probably in breach of the current OFGEM guidelines .

rogparki

They have been there 10 months Scottish Power have given them the annual … They have been there 10 months Scottish Power have given them the annual projected figures which seem about right - No way should Scottish Powers computer give them an annual estimate based on 3 to 4 months winter use ! But it appears it has . Shame on you once again Scottish Power To be fair the Direct Debit cost is just a guide to what they think you will use , you will only ever pay for what you Actually use and I believe you can demand a refund when your credit gets to over £100, but that's not the point, after 10 months bills Scottish Power should offer the OP the best deal they offer based on the projected annual consumption the OP has stated - They are clearly not doing this so are probably in breach of the current OFGEM guidelines .



I don't think they would be breaching guidelines as the supplier doesn't have 12 months actual figures to base useage on...?

They are all very naughty as I've just checked my bill , the projected usage is accurate , but the projected cost is based on their Standard variable tariff not the rate I'm on or next years rate which is still far less than their SVR . I'm comfortable with comparing and switching etc but I feel for those who haven't really got a handle on it . To be fair to First Utility they haven't upped my DD and have sent me an email correctly notifying me of my cheapest options when my current plan ends , but the bill shows my projection based on current usage - based on their SVR which is 30% above their 1 year fix and 20 % above their 3 year fix ! I can work my way through it and decide -but how many others can ? I'm thinking of pensioners who are not on the net in particular .
Edited by: "rogparki" 11th Mar

Original Poster

Thank you very much for the detailed response! I shall get onto looking at all of these tomorrow and ringing Scottish power and let you know how I get on. I'm off to check the immersion heater though right away!
Will try and change the water heating to 3 hours however I've only ever seen it allow me to do 2 hrs max?

Original Poster

Ignore me lol managed to change it to 3 hours 3am till 6am. Thank you

Looking at this a different way.

Try showering and not baths. I'm surprised you use the washing machine five times a week for only three of you. If you change bedding one bedroom a week alternating room that's one wash weekly then clothes maybe two so in total three machine loads a week. Try using the washing machine for full loads only.

I'm also amazed your hot water only lasts about 20 mins !!! As others have said have the heater on for longer overnight. My tank supplies hot water all day from one heating. Also use LED lights as they save a lot. 11W as a replacement for 60W a bulb.

I have a one bedroomed flat with an 18 foot lounge. I have the room at 22.5 degrees according to my thermometer. I don't have the bedroom heated and keep the door shut during the day. As I prefer a cool bedroom I simply open the door late evening. I have an oil filled heater in the hall which is used when needed. I have no gas and always use the tumble dryer.

My electricity is costing me £42 a month and I'm told that is enough over the year. It is used for cooking, lighting and heating. My flat is double glazed and well insulated.

Original Poster

Don't tend to have many baths apart from my son, maybe 2 times a week. Washing machine I may have exaggerated slightly but my son loves to get his clothes messy & my partner and me need our uniforms washed frequently.

The washing machine does usually tend to be a full load when I do it - although I might start doing it in the cheaper hours lol.

I have now switched my water to heat for three hours a night and have spoken to Scottish power..

They have now presented me with revised figures
Of annual day usage 3666
And night 12390

Before I was told
Day - 11076
Night - 3938

They're increasing my DD as I'm £249 in debit I tried to question why I was told the figures incorrectly last time and if that cold have caused an error on my account and they stated it didn't.

Just wondering if anyone can help say if this is normal? Thanks again for all the replies.
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