High electricity usage?

in Energy
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dvds2000dvds2000 Forumite
98 Posts
Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
Hi all

ok, bit stuck as to what to do.

My electricity bills seem very high.

About 18 months ago I split with my partner and she moved out. Before that point there was me, her and 4 kids living here. Washer, dryer on every day, 3 tv's on alot, electric shower being used 6 times a day, always someone at home etc. We have a British gas pre-payment meter. At the time we were putting around £20-25 a week on (and using it all). I knew I was using a lot of electricity back then so never queried it.

However now I am by myself, I am using around £30 a week.

Usage is roughly the following

Gas central heating through combi boiler
Gas cooker

Electric shower once a day
PC on 24/7 (monitor switched off for about 15 hours a day though), which has used 3.13kw in past 24 hours.
Fridge freezer on 24/7
Small chest freezer on 24/7
One load of washing and drying a week
2 cordless telephones on charge 24/7
2 TV's on standby 24/7, used properly for maybe 3-4 hours a day, max
Kettle boiled maybe 10 times a day max, sometimes only once or twice.
Radio alarm clock on 24/7
And thats about it

I've done all the usual test like switching everything off for a couple of hours, meter doesn't move, so theres not a power drain.
I've got a tester from Maplins, and have tested almost everything in the house, and nothing seems to be using anything more than it should, except maybe the fridge freezer that uses about 3 units a day, but that wouldn't add up to the extra that I seem to be using.

I am in quite a bit but do work and am out usually:

Thursday 8am - 4pm
Saturday 6am - 1pm
Sunday 4.30am - 5pm

Thats just work times, obviously I do shopping, go to friends for a few hours, stuff like that

On average (after taking readings for 10 days, and going through previous bills and stuff with BG) I seem to be using anywhere between 24 and 46 units per day. For example 10th - 20th May this year I used an average of 33 units a day.

Last year, 21st - 31st August I used an average of 27 per day, which is less than the one above, but at that time I was working 7 days a week, and was out the house mon-wed 9am - 6.30pm, thurs 9am - 8.30pm, fri 9am - 7.30pm, sat 8.30am - 6.30am and sunday 9.30am - 5.30pm. Nobody else was in the house and the only things on were fridge freezer, freezer and one tv on standby.

I want the meter testing as it's about the only thing left as far as I can see, but they say if it isn't faulty then I have to pay a charge of around £150, so before I agree to that was just wondering if anyone had any other idea's of what I could test/try :confused:

A friend I work with lives in the same type of house as me, has the same type of appliances, and works exactly the same hours, his bill was £80 for the last quarter, I worked out, in the same 3 month period I spent £390 :eek:

Any help would be greatly appreciated :)
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Replies

  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    You seem to have done everything correctly - especially monitoring with your Maplins power measuring meter - and clearly your consumption is too high.

    If, as you suspect, your meter is reading high it will normally read high all the time by a certain percentage. You can carry out a self test on your meter by switching everything off in the house(it won't hurt the freezers for an hour or so). Then note the meter reading(including last two fractional dials) and put on something with high consumption via your Maplins meter. An electric fire would be ideal. Then compare the two readings after you have used a few kWh.

    If that isn't the problem you start clutching at straws. Neighbours using your juice? Street lighting wired through your meter. Old immersion heater in an unused tank - I appreciate you have a combi boiler but some conversions left in the old tank.

    You need to monitor your meter at different times each day to see when the electricity is being used.
  • irnbru_2irnbru_2 Forumite
    1.6K Posts
    dvds2000 wrote:
    We have a British gas pre-payment meter. At the time we were putting around £20-25 a week on (and using it all). I knew I was using a lot of electricity back then so never queried it.

    However now I am by myself, I am using around £30 a week.

    Are you paying back any debt as well as current usage?
  • dvds2000dvds2000 Forumite
    98 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    thanks for the replys

    no debt on the meter, was in when i moved in and i've checked all that.

    I'll try putting an electric fan heater on this afternoon for a couple of hours and checking the tester readings against the meter readings, thanks for that - didn't think of it :)
  • natlienatlie Forumite
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    Hi
    I don't know if this will help but

    2 tv's on standby will cost you £50 a year
    1 pc on standby £25 a year (overnight and on weekends)
    alarm clock £12 a year

    do you have energy saving bulbs? each bulb will save you 10 a year, are all your unused sockets off?

    Other things - oven and washing machine etc are they switched off at the wall?

    Do you have outside lights? are they on sensors?

    http://www.est.org.uk/myhome/ should help with some saving idea's

    I use 12 units of electric per day we are a family of 4 we use, 0.4 units of Gas a day in summer

    Nat
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    DMP: £30,668 £12,929.07
    EF & Pots: £1400/£5000
    Debt Free: July 2024
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    natlie wrote:

    2 tv's on standby will cost you £50 a year
    1 pc on standby £25 a year (overnight and on weekends)
    alarm clock £12 a year

    do you have energy saving bulbs? each bulb will save you 10 a year, are all your unused sockets off?

    Other things - oven and washing machine etc are they switched off at the wall?

    Nat
    x
    Where on earth do you get those standby figures from?

    I have 3 TV's - 2 approx 6 years old - all consume well under 1 watt on standby - from the handbook and my measurements.

    The 6 year old 32" Sony uses 0.6 watt so left on 24/7 for a year will use 5.25 kWh at 8p a kWh that is 42 pence a year. For the last 10 years or so manufacturers have largely produced TV's with a standby wattage of less than 1 watt.

    For a TV to use £25 a year it would have a standby wattage of 35 watts.

    Oven and washing machine switched of at the wall will save a few pence a year - they are designed to be left on if they have timers.

    What alarm clock has a consumption of 17 watts?(£12 a year) - mine I can't measure.

    There is a complete load of nonsense talked about high standby consumption. I don't wish to be unkind but posts like yours get picked up at repeated and the urban myth is perpetuated.
  • WigWig Forumite
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    Cardew wrote:
    For the last 10 years or so manufacturers have largely produced TV's with a standby wattage of less than 1 watt.

    I don't for one minute agree with those stanby estimates you are disputing, but you have no evidence to back up this less than 1w idea save your own television examples in your house. As you know my latest brand new TV is 7w standby.


    What alarm clock has a consumption of 17 watts?(£12 a year) - mine I can't measure.
    mine is 5w costing me a little over £4.38 but I have averaged it (down) to 10p per kwh
    There is a complete load of nonsense talked about high standby consumption.
    How about the myths of low standby consumption put forth by yourself?
  • WigWig Forumite
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    OP

    You have a power monitor from maplin, use the yellow button (I think) to measure kwh consumed, can you unplug everything in the house except the fridge and the chest freezer, try to plug both those items into the same extension lead by using multiple extension leads if necessary (always unravel an extension lead in use i.e. don't use one coiled up) then feed the two through your power monitor.... measure for 24 hours see if the monitor reads the same as the meter has consumed....you can run other essential items through the same extension lead (within reason you don't want to overload it) I assume you have gas cooker, for the 24 hours use the cooker for hot water.

    I would suggest you look on ukpower.co.uk & energyhelpline.com and (compare results) select payment by prepayment and see who comes out cheapest, do a search for gas only, elec only and then a dual fuel search. Don't use uswitch.

    I also wonder why you have a prepayment, is it your property or rented? if your tenancy agreement is longer than 6 months you have the right to get it changed to a normal meter (this is probably a free service but I don't know) and this would solve any problems you think you have with the prepayment meter - because you would get a new meter ... (I think. but you could ask the CS people if you get a new meter when you come off pre payment.).

    ALso how big is your freezer compartment in the fridge freezer? I ask because surely you don't need 2 freezers!
  • dvds2000dvds2000 Forumite
    98 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    thanks again

    i'm just about to start the test for consumption by using the electric heater.

    Regarding standby, I always believed that it only cost a few pence a year for that, but regardless, I have been switching everything off over the past couple of weeks (at the wall) too see if it made a difference, it didn't.

    I do have energy saving light bulbs in most the house, but again, over the past couple of week, the only lights on are the ones in any room I'm in at the time.

    The prepayment meter was in the house when I bought it about 9 years ago, and it just seemed handy, ie no bills coming in, I can see what i'm using and never get a shock 3 months later. Am rethinking that now :)

    I was going to ask for the meter to be changed, but after doing a fair bit of searching and asking around, £10 a week is probably the most electric I should be using. If I've been using an extra £20 a week for the past 9 years due to a faulty meter, then I would expect to get some back.

    Changing the meter without it being tested first, I can see would lead to major problems. ie We've destroyed, lost, refurbished the meter sir, so we cant test it. Yes I can see your consumption has been reduced by £20 a week since you put the new meter in, but as we can't test the old one we can't do anything about it!

    Anyway I'll update in a few hours when I've done the test

    thanks for all the replies :)
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    Wig wrote:
    I don't for one minute agree with those stanby estimates you are disputing, but you have no evidence to back up this less than 1w idea save your own television examples in your house. As you know my latest brand new TV is 7w standby.

    How about the myths of low standby consumption put forth by yourself?

    Wig,
    I believe you are aware that the following companies signed up to have TVs with a standby consumption of less that 1 watt.

    Thompson, Sharp, Loewe Opta, Sony, Panasonic, Sanyo, Toshiba, Phillips, Metz, Bang & Olufson, LG Electronics, Hitatchi.

    You alluded to that in another thread – but said, correctly, it wasn’t mandatory.

    In fact Sony have committed themselves to achieving a standby consumption of less than 0.1 watt.

    I gave my consumption figures as examples. Are 6 year old Sony & Panasonic plus new Medion LCD that unrepresentative?

    Look at the figures for loads of TVs from the data available on the internet. e.g.

    Look at the Panasonic range - the large TV's have a standby consumption of 0.3 watts - so on 24/7 would cost approx 20 pence a year.

    Samsung TV's - their brochure states "under 1 Watt" for TV's up to 40 inches.

    Now I appreciate that not everyone has new sets and will accept that some older sets might be 5 watts or so.

    However as you are very well aware the point that I was making is that the figures put out earlier in this thread are typical of the gross exaggeration that this subject seems to attract.

    Before anyone jumps on the bandwagon and states that they switch off at the plug thousands of times a year – fine! that is your prerogative. However if you want to quote how much it saves, be realistic and not quote the ridiculous figures that are so readily bandied about.

    Incidentally I was surprised that your Evesham 37” LCD TV used 7 watts on standby, especially as I understood from some earlier research that most manufacturers buy in power supplies. So I checked with Evesham who told me(in writing) that their later model 37 inch LCD TVs are 3 watts – the old models could be as high as 5 watts. Still for those with a “minimalist lifestyle” and a 37” LCD;) , the consumption is far too high at £2+ a year for 24/7 on standby. Is that worth taking up with Evesham? Or checking your power meter?
  • WigWig Forumite
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    dvds2000 wrote:
    Changing the meter without it being tested first, I can see would lead to major problems. ie We've destroyed, lost, refurbished the meter sir, so we cant test it. Yes I can see your consumption has been reduced by £20 a week since you put the new meter in, but as we can't test the old one we can't do anything about it!

    Anyway I'll update in a few hours when I've done the test

    thanks for all the replies :)

    An excelleant point, but you have all the tools at your disposal to be able to do a meter test yourself, as indeed you are doing. If this fails you should log every hour over 24 hours what the meter is reading. (to see if there is aspike at any time.
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