Reducing usage with a teen with additional needs.

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becky004
becky004 Posts: 5,158 Forumite
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We moved into this house in November 2021 so I don't have a full year of figures. Have been here 31 weeks worked out the weekly average and added another 11 weeks of those averages to get a figure which is 2865 for electric and 7500 for gas. My son is 19, high functioning autistic with ADHD and behavioural issues, highly intelligent, but money and budgeting have no meaning to him. Three months ago for the first time in 19 years he went to stay with his father, has now decided the grass is not greener on the other side and is moving back home. Prior to him leaving I was averaging 13 kWh a day for January, 8-10 for all the other months up to him leaving at end of May, on my own am using 4.5 - 6 a day (have been consciously trying to reduce), have no concerns with the gas it's the electric I want to try to stick within 6-7 upon his return.

This is a boy who will not compromise, we have an electric shower which he would use 2-3 times a day, he'd run it for 10 minutes before getting in despite being told and shown that the hot water is instant, then 20 minutes for the actual shower. Have explained about price increases and that it's not going to be possible to do that anymore, I suggested a kitchen timer in the bathroom and 5 minute showers only, his compromise he'll take cold showers from now on (am not stupid he won't do that in winter!). He quite likes a bath, would it be cheaper for him to have a bath every day (water heated with gas combi boiler).

Clothes he changes 2-3 times a day, clothes taken off are put straight in the wash even if they've only been on him an hour (will now be hung up and go back in the wardrobe without him realising!), that will hopefully only double the use of washing machine, which has gone from 1-2 times a day to 1-2 times a week, tumble dryer will only be used as a last resort now.

Xbox S use, definitely no compromise with that, he doesn't sleep, rarely goes out it's probably on 18-20 hours a day when he's home, while I do want to curtail energy usage I don't want him to unhappy or having meltdowns so am not going to change that.

The main issue I think is his cooking, the oven is on 5,6,7 times a day (he's underweight so have no issue with him eating as much as he wants), again he heats it up for 15 minutes before putting food in despite the light going off several minutes before. He won't allow me to cook for him (except chicken curry or vegetable soup in the slow cooker), majority of his diet is pizza, oven chips, chicken nuggets, turkey dinosaurs, whole chickens with the odd ready made lasagne. Previously I had a halogen oven, however at night when I was in bed he wouldn't put the lid on the supplied stand, he'd put it straight down on the worktops and burned them with the element, so I got rid of it. Have been looking at the Ninja Foodi 10-in-1 Large Multifunction Oven, it will airfry his chips, take a 12" pizza and cover all his other cooking needs, however I can't find any info on running costs, it just says it's 2400 watts, would this have a noticeable saving compared to my current oven.

He does contribute when living here, he was paying £100 a month (didn't even cover his food bill let alone everything else), I have gone through price increases with everything at the moment and he has agreed to pay £200 a month upon his return, he is not working he receives PIP & UC.

 
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  • Aylesbury_Duck
    Aylesbury_Duck Posts: 14,140 Forumite
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    Given his intelligence and skills, would he be interested in energy planning for the household?  I'm thinking cataloguing the various devices, appliances, etc., calculating their cost per minute/cycle and coming up with a spreadsheet plan to minimise cost?  You could then link a "before and after" increase in household cost to his contribution. E.g. instead of just doubling his rent, if the plan he devises is effective, it might result in an increase to £187, or something similar.  In other words, get him involved in energy and cost planning for the household.
  • MWT
    MWT Posts: 9,281 Forumite
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    edited 27 August 2022 at 12:37PM
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    becky004 said:
    ... He quite likes a bath, would it be cheaper for him to have a bath every day (water heated with gas combi boiler).

    ...The main issue I think is his cooking, the oven is on 5,6,7 times a day...

    ...Have been looking at the Ninja Foodi 10-in-1 Large Multifunction Oven, it will airfry his chips, take a 12" pizza and cover all his other cooking needs, however I can't find any info on running costs, it just says it's 2400 watts, would this have a noticeable saving compared to my current oven.
    On those few points, the shower is probably the main problem, not the cooking, if you can shift him to one bath instead of multiple showers you will avoid a lot of wasted energy right there...
    The benefit of using the main oven is once it is at the right temperature it does not use a lot of energy keeping it there so although pre-heating when perhaps it is not needed is wasteful, being slow to use it once preheated is not wasting all that much. Also consider that if your cooker has a smaller secondary cooking space (perhaps doubling as a grill) Cooking in that smaller space will heat faster and use less energy.
    The Ninja on the other-hand will use energy all the time it is on, so although it cooks faster in a lot, but not all cases, it does run at full power for the duration of the cooking time, so it is not necessarily a cheaper solution...
    becky004 said:
    ... on my own am using 4.5 - 6 a day (have been consciously trying to reduce), have no concerns with the gas it's the electric I want to try to stick within 6-7 upon his return.
     
    Sadly this is not very likely, his Xbox use alone is going to take you above this target...

  • fryedslyce
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    becky004 said:
    Your son's a freeloader, start charging him market rates for rent, food and laundry, you'll find he will soon start to have an understanding of money. He has none at the moment because there is no incentive for him to. You shield him from the reality of life, this will not help him in the long run.
    fryedslyce While I appreciate everyone is entitled to their opinions, I don't feel it was necessary for you to be so scathing about my child. He's a good kid with a lot of issues and the emotional age of a 13 to 14 year old, due to his limited capabilities when it comes to budgeting his money, I am his legal appointee for the money he receives. I shield him from nothing, he just doesn't grasp things when told or shown. I hope you feel better about yourself having written that comment, as it certainly didn't make my day, so thank you for that.
    But, I bet he's an expert on that Xbox and quickly grasped all he needed to know. Funny how his ability to grasp a subject is so limited. What's his life plan, to spend all his time in his room playing games whilst claiming benefits?
  • Mstty
    Mstty Posts: 4,209 Forumite
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    You will have to embark on a change of habit exercise.

    Have you considered a shower timer with alarm. This may be a good investment and with a child with autism as they could take to a timer system well.

    You will know your son better than anyone else.
  • FreeBear
    FreeBear Posts: 14,823 Forumite
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    edited 27 August 2022 at 1:19PM
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    Do you have a smart meter with an IHD ?
    Try to get him interested in the display and encourage him to keep the readings in the green zone - There should be a menu option that allows you to set a daily/monthly budget. Start high, and tweak it down over time and see if that helps. But being smart, he may well figure out the budget settings and push them up when you are not looking.

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  • becky004
    becky004 Posts: 5,158 Forumite
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    Mstty said:
    You will have to embark on a change of habit exercise.

    Have you considered a shower timer with alarm. This may be a good investment and with a child with autism as they could take to a timer system well.

    You will know your son better than anyone else.
    I suggested one of the kitchen timers that rings a bell after time is up, that's when he said he'll just take cold showers, which I know won't happen. He's obsessed with time, how many minutes till we go here, or how many minutes until x y or z is ready, but showering there's no happy medium.
    I love this board, have "virtually" met so many lovely people, people I am honoured to count as friends.
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