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Fully electric flat

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We are a retired couple living in a small 50sqm one bedroom flat (block of flats). The flat is fully electric and there is no option to have gas in the property. The property has two external walls but it is relatively well insulated (U value of external walls is 0.4 - it was done property a few years ago). Double glazing on all 4 windows. There is a flat under and below our flat. Very air tight (zero draughts), full refurbishment was made a few years ago with all efficient appliances put in the flat. So there is no possibility to improve energy efficiency of walls, ceiling/floor/air tightness further. EPC is D (borderline with C) but only because the flat is fully electric. I would be rated B no doubt if heating was by gas. Interestingly, the EPC guy who allocated D rating told me a few days ago that I can get rating C if I manage to have Economy 10 tariff.

 

Heating is done via modern standard electric radiators (not storage heaters - standard electric radiators that hang on the wall). Hot water is heated by a 180L immersion heater (installed in 2016 so relatively modern).

 

My bills for electricity are very high and I am trying to understand what options I have. In December 2022 my electric usage was 1200Kwh. Yep, I understand it was an "exceptional" month and everyone struggled but even outside unusually cold weather my usage is around 35kwh per day (when it i's +8 for example). This includes all electricity usage (heating, water and everything else). I am a very light user of hot water (not more than two very quick showers per day). So I would expect 70-80% of my annual usage of electricity is on heating. For heating my wife demands +20 at least (we target 21) as she has a condition that would not help to sit in cold.

 

I am on a standard variable tariff with E.on (34p per KWh) so not on E7 or E10. I have a smart meter (no E7 or E10 meters). My electrics was fully rewired in 2016 so my immersion heater/radiators are all very modern with no "second" supply to accommodate for E7 or E10.

 

With the above set up in mind, what's the best strategy to save on my electric bills? I can see the following options but neither of those seem plausible (for reasons stated below) but it would be interesting to hear views of smart people:

 

1. Strategy 1: switch to E7. Problem 1: I cannot see many providers actually installing new E7 meters. In fact, after obsessive research I am not even sure which providers would install a new E7 meters. I called E.on and they were very secretive and said no for a new E7 meter but I then escalated and they seemed to suggest it's possible but they then dropped me on the line (I have not called them back yet). Problem 2: my radiators are not storage heaters and are standard electric radiators. What this means is that I need heating from 7 am to 11am and then from 16:00 until 21:30. Exactly when a more expensive daily rates applies for E7. You can say install storage heaters, like Dimplex Quantum G. But they are £600 per radiators plus installation costs, delivery etc. For me it would probably equate to almost £3000 cost. People also not very fond of them - they look not great and I have super expensive designer radiators at the moment that would downgrade my overall design massively if I bring new 4 storage heaters. I am shocked to find that there are no good looking storage heaters around. Also I am not sure if they give me enough heat as majority of it I really need in the evening where they might be coldest. Don't judge me harshly that I take into account the design element - driven by my wife, I don't really care.

 

2. Strategy no. 2: Switch to E10 tariff. this is probably the best strategy since I can leave my current radiators and use them only during off peak rate. Yes, not ideal as off peak rate during the day is only a short window but this will give me an opportunity to shift 90% of my electricity to off peak and I can retain my current radiators. Perfect on paper but after another obsessive research I can see that  finding a company that would install E10 new meter for you and then switch you to E10 tariff is a mission impossible. I genuinely cannot find who would do that for me. Is there a living being on this forum who has installed E10 new meter (having a smart meter prior to that) without storage heaters for the last year or two?

 

3. Strategy 3: Install heat pump on the roof and run pipes to the property (air to air). This mission is even less realistic than Strategy 2. Who would allow me to run pipes from the roof along the facade to my flat? The flat is flat and has lots of space so having a block there is zero concern from a building perspective.  But am sure the freehold owner/management company managing the block will say no to my exciting plans. But this should be the only viable strategy for blocks of flats without gas I would have thought? By heat pump I of course mean air to air - so a cassette on the wall. In my case I only need two indoor units: one at living room and one at bedroom. The air to air heat pump with one block on the roof and 2 indoor units (cassettes) in the property would cost me c. £4000-£5000 but it's a set up for 20 years with excellent COP and efficiency. 

 

4. Installing ZEB from Tepeo: https://tepeo.com/thezeb and rip off my radiators and put water radiators. This ZEB system sounds like a perfect one for small well insulated flats like mine as it will deal with both heating water and space. this, however, costs £6000k plus installation and I will then need to install another hot immersion tank (indirect rather than direct). It's the most expensive option (double the cost of air to air heat pump I think). but can of course save ongoing costs but only if I switch to decent tariff on E7. E7 very often for night tariffs are not that great anymore so i may never recoup this investment. Also if ZEP breaks down it may wipe out any savings due to overnight rate.

 

Sorry for a long post but I am sure there are lots of people in modern flats that do not have gas and they are not on E7/E10 tariff so they are grappling with the same issues.

 

Also it would be interesting to hear you experience on E10 tariff as there is zero information online on this.

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Comments

  • Reed_Richards
    Reed_Richards Posts: 4,210 Forumite
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    Strategy 3.  You can get wall-mounted air-to-air heat pumps with just vents to the outside.  Such units would obviously be a bit more noisy than something on the roof but might well be more viable.
    Reed
  • Reed_Richards
    Reed_Richards Posts: 4,210 Forumite
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    Strategy 4.  The ZEB is a type of Thermal Store but other types are available that may be cheaper if you have the space.  Some are capable of directly heating water for your hot water requirements in which case you could eliminate your tank and use the space it occupies.
    Reed
  • travisonline
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    Thanks, I did see that unit (oddly this seems to be the only model/brand available). Very smart decicion but slightly worried about 60db noise and also slight worry about two massive holtes in the facade (183mm each) as shown on the link below. If everyone does that in my building we will have a lot of holes in the facade that may be blocked by the management company. I actually think having neat ducting covered in false gut ducting may work better. 

    https://www.electriq.co.uk/p/iqool-smart12hp/electriq-iqoolsmart12hp
  • MattMattMattUK
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    Just as a quick point as I am sure others can go through the other parts in more detail, I think the main culprit is the high temperature you are trying to maintain. As an example I live in an all electric flat, modern and well insulated, electric radiators not storage heaters, 110 sq. m so quite a bit bigger. Normal appliances, shower an average of eleven times a week, I cook most days. My usage over December was 444 kWh, around a third of yours.

    At night I let the temperature drop but it doesn't normally fall lower than 16c overnight, I have been away all weekend and it is currently 16.8c. If I am at home I would generally keep it around 18.5c which cannot be regarded as cold, however I am sure I would burn through a lot more energy if I were trying to maintain 21c 24 hours a day. The solution might be that your (or your wife's) definition of cold is considerably hotter than most people's.
  • Gerry1
    Gerry1 Posts: 9,938 Forumite
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    edited 8 January 2023 at 7:31PM
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    The claims for ZEB made by Tepeo
    > "The graph above uses Octopus GO as an example tariff. The ‘off-peak’ electricity rate is 7.5p/kWh and the ‘on-peak’ rate is 40.13p/kWh."
    The reality (rates for SE England)
    Octopus GO Off peak (rate 00:30 - 04:30):12.00p/kWh. On Peak rate (04:30 - 00:30):43.40p/kWh.
    But it's a doubly fake comparison: not only are the rates far higher now, most people can't even get Octopus GO: Octopus state "Our Octopus Go Tariff is designed for customers who either own or long-term lease a battery electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid vehicle that they'll be charging at home, so you need one to join".
    The claims for ZEB made by Tepeo
    > "For the fossil fuel comparisons, we have used: Mains Gas on a 12 month fixed contract (19.56p/kWh), Mains Gas on a Standard Variable Tariff (15p/kWh)".
    The reality (rates for SE England)
    The EPG capped rate on a Standard Variable Tariff is: 10.30p/kWh
    With a ZEB you'd be paying far MORE for electricity than Tepeo claim, but if you had gas you'd be paying far LESS than Tepeo claim.  Those false claims tell you all you need to know about ZEB from Tepeo.
  • Gerry1
    Gerry1 Posts: 9,938 Forumite
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    The least worst solution is Strategy 1, High Heat Retention NSHs such as Dimplex Quantum.  Getting E7 shouldn't be a problem (except with British Gas).  Just make sure that they are correctly dimensioned (go for a bigger size if you're worried about chilly evenings) and correctly programmed.  They can also top up in the evenings at daytime rate but obviously that's undesirable, so don't skimp on the sizes.
    You can always get some stylish radiator covers (click on 'Images').
  • Spoonie_Turtle
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    Agree with the temperature observation - it has been said that a 1°C reduction on the thermostat will take 10% off the heating bill.  I don't know if that applies only to gas but heating is the function that requires most energy so a similar principle must apply to electric heating too.

    However if your wife's health would be adversely affected by having it cooler, turning it down evidently is not an option.  [Would it adversely affect her to drop a degree or half a degree, does she already wear layers if she's able to?  I routinely wear knee-high socks, soft leggings, fluffy trousers, then a long-sleeved top, fluffy fleece top, and usually a bigger fleece over the top - far more comfortable than lots of thin layers - but my hands can still be cool to the touch at 18°C.  Which *for me* is not an actual problem, just slightly uncomfortable rather than when they're colder and therefore painful.  But I'm aware everyone is different and certain conditions cannot tolerate layers, and others cannot tolerate being anything less than properly warm.]

    Regarding Economy 10, I believe that's a legacy tariff and very few suppliers support existing users of it at all, let alone offer it for new users.  Octopus' forthcoming heat pump tariff looks somewhat similar, although with off-peak, standard, and peak rates - and there was an eco electricity company offering multi-rates like that, I forget which one (two of their tariffs were called Tide and Sparkling, if that's any help).
  • EssexHebridean
    EssexHebridean Posts: 21,482 Forumite
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    Green Energy U.K. are the ones offering tariffs called Sparkling and Tide. 
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  • macman
    macman Posts: 53,098 Forumite
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    It's a no-brainer. install E7 and NSH's: you already have an immersion heater.
    Only you can decide if 'stylish radiators' should take priority over 'cheaper heating and hot water'...
    Not sure where you have got your info about E7 metering from: once you have smart meters installed they can simply be switched to E7 remotely.
    E10 is a legacy tariff and is not an option now.
    As you say, heat pumps will run you into issues with freeholder consent, but it will cost you nothing to ask.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • ariarnia
    ariarnia Posts: 4,225 Forumite
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    Green Energy U.K. are the ones offering tariffs called Sparkling and Tide. 
    do there tarrifs come with free dishwasher tablets :D
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