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Heating bill

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danco
danco Posts: 213 Forumite
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I live in a modern block of flats which has a communal heating system. I (and some of the other residents) have always felt there is something wrong with the bills we receive, but the company insists that the metering is correct.

My flats is a two-bedroom top-floor flat, area about 100 square metres, and the EPC reckons an energy rating of B, with annual usage of 2200 kWh.

I have just received the bill for November. This is the first month since April that I have had heating on significantly (though I had cooling in the summer).

Yes, I had heating on a lot, but not at a high temperature.

Claimed usage on the bill was 1858 kWh.

I had heating set at 19.5 degrees during the day, with a night setback between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. of 14 degrees.

What do people think? Is it likely that i could have used this much energy in heating? The weather has been cooling down, but surely not that cold. I reckon that with heating off the temperature is still around 14 degrees, I'll check that again tomorrow.

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  • MikeJXE
    MikeJXE Posts: 3,126 Forumite
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    I'm in a 2 bed  flat 1st floor EPC B Gas central heating not communal. I am very carful what I use and your annual usage of 2200 is incredibly low compared to mine. 
  • Robin9
    Robin9 Posts: 12,146 Forumite
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    edited 2 December 2022 at 8:48PM
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    EPC sounds like rubbish.

    1858 kWh sounds reasonable for a month
    Never pay on an estimated bill
  • MattMattMattUK
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    Robin9 said:
    EPC sounds like rubbish.

    1858 kWh sounds reasonable for a month
    I live in a two bed flat, well insulated, around 110sq meters, if I had my heating on enough to use 1,858 kWh in a month the place would be 30c.
  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 8,094 Forumite
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    1858 kWh is reasonable usage for a month, but you will save more if you turn the thermostat down a bit. We have been turning ours down gradually and it is now at 15C and we feel fine providing we are wrapped up. We tried 14C but its just a bit too cold if you aren't in bed. 14C should be fine as a set-back but I would see if you can gradually reduce the daytime temperature to 15-16C.

    At these lower set-points, you have to be even more careful about ventilating the flat to avoid condensation and damp.  

    The other factor is how much do you pay per kWh? I pay about 9p per kWh for gas, but about 30p per kWh for electricity, so it can make a big difference. 
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • danco
    danco Posts: 213 Forumite
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    Interesting that there is disagreement as to whether the usage is reasonable.

    Yes, I can try a lower thermostat setting and more wrapping up, but at my age I don't want to have the temperature very low.

    I'll have to look at costs, of course, but at the moment I am more concerned about usage, as the billing and metering has been such a mess that I remain doubtful whether that is accurate.
  • Spoonie_Turtle
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    Not sure if I've missed something, but is this gas or electricity?
  • ariarnia
    ariarnia Posts: 4,225 Forumite
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    danco said:
    Interesting that there is disagreement as to whether the usage is reasonable.

    Yes, I can try a lower thermostat setting and more wrapping up, but at my age I don't want to have the temperature very low.

    I'll have to look at costs, of course, but at the moment I am more concerned about usage, as the billing and metering has been such a mess that I remain doubtful whether that is accurate.
    its really hard to say how much is reasonable. theres a thread on here where people are posting there energy use for november and you can see the range if 'normal' use for people even in properties of the same kind of size and age. 

    i'm not sure how communal heating works. do you have your own meter? if you do can you access it to take readings? is there a separate meter for heating and everything else (is that bill just heating or heating and everything else)?

    if all of those is yes then an easy way to get a rough idea is to turn your heating completely off one day (maybe go out to the library or something) take a reading when you do then another reading as soon as you come home 8 hours late and just double check that no use has registered when the system has been turned off. 

    i'm suggesting that as maybe your meter is faulty or maybe your flats have had the wrong meter assigned or maybe theres something in the background of your heating set up that uses energy even when you think the system is turned off (tho then i'd expect you would have seen something unexpected last month) 
    Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you. Anne Lamott

    It's amazing how those with a can-do attitude and willingness to 'pitch in and work' get all the luck, isn't it?

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  • Spoonie_Turtle
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    ariarnia said:
    danco said:
    Interesting that there is disagreement as to whether the usage is reasonable.

    Yes, I can try a lower thermostat setting and more wrapping up, but at my age I don't want to have the temperature very low.

    I'll have to look at costs, of course, but at the moment I am more concerned about usage, as the billing and metering has been such a mess that I remain doubtful whether that is accurate.
    its really hard to say how much is reasonable. theres a thread on here where people are posting there energy use for november and you can see the range if 'normal' use for people even in properties of the same kind of size and age. 
    I've not gone back through that thread since this OP started this one but I'm fairly sure their supposed usage is one of, if not the highest on that thread.  Of course many posters on there have thermostats set lower than the OP.

    For some reference OP, our 3-bed semi (89m²) with 4 adults required 623kWh for heating* at 18℃ last month.  Obviously we're smaller than your flat and at a lower temperature, but we are the northern side of our building and exposed on a hill.  [And I have no idea how communal heating works.]

    *heat pump so it consumed much less, but that was the output anyway.
  • danco
    danco Posts: 213 Forumite
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    Part of our problem is the metering system. Apparently, though we have individual meters,  the meters (for our block of sixty flats) are on the roof, so we can't view them. And currently we are only given figures once a month, so comparing different days is impossible.

    Yes, this is heating only (hot water is metered separately, and I don't use much of it). And normal electricity usage is metered in the conventional way.

    The metering firm may understand the metering and billing - I am not sure if they do - but the freeholders, who count as the actual suppliers of communal heating, clearly don't understand the system (I think they would admit it themselves).

    I will be suggesting to the freeholders that they change their metering company, as some others provide much more detailed billing and usage figures. But I have no idea what that might cost.

    My own view is that there must be a fault, but the company insists that it is all working as it should be. So I (and others who are having problems) are in a difficult situation, which is why I am trying to get a view of other people's experience.

    At the moment there is no ombudsman for communal heating, though the rules are supposed to be changing in the next few years, so there's noone to appeal to.

    The only saving factor is that the freeholders have said that we can postpone paying bills until they understand the system, but this is only postponement, not cancellation.
  • ariarnia
    ariarnia Posts: 4,225 Forumite
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    danco said:
    Part of our problem is the metering system. Apparently, though we have individual meters,  the meters (for our block of sixty flats) are on the roof, so we can't view them. And currently we are only given figures once a month, so comparing different days is impossible.
    are they smart meters do you know? (sorry if thats a stupid question but i dont really know anything about this type of set up). i'm wondering if theres a way to get your use on an in home display (which you can buy but they arent cheap) or the bright app. 

    not being able to monitor your use at all sounds horrid. the absolute extreme would be dont use heat at all for a month to see if they bill you anything that month. but thats really hard core for December if you didn't have somewhere else you could stay! 
    Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you. Anne Lamott

    It's amazing how those with a can-do attitude and willingness to 'pitch in and work' get all the luck, isn't it?

    Please consider buying some pet food and giving it to your local food bank collection or animal charity. Animals aren't to blame for the cost of living crisis.
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