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Moved into new (and tiny) 2-bed flat. After 49 days, been charged a whopping £750 for electricity!

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I moved in just before Xmas to a tiny 2-bed electricity-only flat. Admittedly, we didn't know how to use anything as no manuals came with the place and I'd only ever had central heating/combi boiler. I have these German clay heaters here. Due to an issue with the shower, I could only shower a few times a week. I only do laundry once every week or so. I wasn't even cooking every day. I'm on economy 7. 

I do use a few machines for health issues (air purifiers, dehumidifiers, CPAP) but even in my last place, these only cost around £4 a month to run each, so in total, I think they cost around £30 a month. I have no idea where this £750 could have come from.

I've now drastically cut things down as much as I can. Cook only a few times a week, other times I reheat in a microwave. No oven use. No heating at night when I'm asleep and heating only comes on during the day at around 17 or 18 degrees C. Still can't shower very regularly as it hasn't been fixed. It's saying my night use is consistently 4 or 5 units, even when I turned on the heating one night due to being too cold (I have Asthma that is triggered by the cold amongst other things). But during the day, it's regularly saying I'm using 17-20 units at a cost of over £10 a day! 

I am disabled and housebound and work from home but on a computer. My electric costs in my last place (which was three times the size!) by comparison were around £50-80 a month (depending on time of year). How on Earth is it possible to rack up such a charge and what help can I get to figure this out?

I was with Scottish Power for two months, but they were impossible to get hold of, so I have now switched to Octopus, however, I have just been given a £650+ final bill from Scottish Power (I have already paid them £142.00). I've emailed them but haven't heard anything.

I have also emailed Octopus about my concerns but they have said they need more data from me to do anything (I have only been with them for a few weeks). I'm so nervous of running another massive bill with them too that I want to knock this issue on the head. If there's a problem with the metre or something else, I'd like to figure out what that is before I get hit with another crazy bill I can't afford! I am on a very low income and with the recent moving costs (I suffered a no-fault eviction as landlord wanted to sell the house I had lived in for 15 years) I am massively in debt and desperately need advice and help. I receive Working Tax Credit with the disability element and also PIP (highest components).

Can anyone advise on what I should do?
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Comments

  • aaiiee
    aaiiee Posts: 23 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post
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    Can you post the meter readings from when you moved in and from the final Scottish Power bill? then someone can check the maths.
  • Spoonie_Turtle
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    German clay heaters - I take it those are not storage heaters but use expensive daytime electricity?  Regardless of whether the bill is right or wrong, having to use heating at an expensive daytime rate will cost you more anyway so unless you somehow have high night usage then changing to single rate would most likely work out cheaper.

    You definitely need to post the meter readings from when you moved in and now (and any others in between), if possible.  Plus the unit rates, for considering the bill.  Then people can advise you accurately.
  • FindMyWayBack
    Options
    Oh no, more economy 7  nightmares, yes put your rates up, day and night rates, see if you can go on single rate. Did you take reads when you moved in, is the bill the balance between those reads and now?
    Old enough to know better...........




  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 8,166 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    edited 24 February 2023 at 6:02PM
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    The items you brought with you to the flat are not likely to be the cause of the extra cost. They won't have changed what they consume. So the answer is likely to be something in the flat, and the clay heaters are the most likely culprits (and Economy 7). But it could be other things, including someone in another flat stealing your electricity! 

    You, or someone on your behalf needs to check the rating on each appliance that you didn't bring to the flat, and calculate how much it costs to use that item for a typical period (e.g. 10 minutes for the shower / 1hr for the clay heaters). 

    You or someone else needs to turn everything off in the flat, and check that the meter stops recording any usage. If it doesn't, you need to keep searching to find what is using the power.

    You haven't mentioned how you are heating hot water for the taps. In an all electric flat, this is likely to be either an immersion heater or an instantaneous heater under a sink. Again, find the rating of the immersion heater/instantaneous heater, and make sure you understand the controls. If your cylinder isn't well insulated, an immersion heater is going to be more expensive to use than boiling a kettle that has just the amount of hot water you need. If the cylinder is well insulated (and few are), then the immersion heater shouldn't be too bad if you don't use too much hot water from the taps. If you use a lot of hot water, it will cost a lot in electricity to reheat fresh water as it is colder to start with in the winter. 

    Only clay radiators on during the day (when Economy 7 makes the electricity more expensive) seems to be a mistake, but the issue isn't when you heat, but how much you are paying for Economy 7. The clay heaters are not storage heaters and they are not designed to be used with Economy 7, but you can use them overnight to stop the flat getting too cold. 

    I think the optimal way to use them is to have them on throughout the Economy 7 period, set for say 18C. Then have them off at all other times, and just use a fan heater in the room you are in. You will probably have to have the clay heater in your bedroom on for an hour before you go to bed, but due to how long they take to start emitting useful amounts of heat, this hour might need to be a 8pm, rather than say 9pm. Used this way, I think it will still be beneficial to be on economy 7, but it will depend on the split between what you are using inside and outside of the Economy 7 hours, and whether you can make any changed to this, e.g. having the immersion heater only come on inside the Economy 7 hours. 
    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.
  • missmococo
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    aaiiee said:
    Can you post the meter readings from when you moved in and from the final Scottish Power bill? then someone can check the maths.
    9th Dec reads from before I moved in: 

    Night 22368
    Day 49101

    25th Jan reads (last bill from Scottish Power):

    Night 22831
    Day 50490


  • TheElectricCow
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    I moved in just before Xmas to a tiny 2-bed electricity-only flat. Admittedly, we didn't know how to use anything as no manuals came with the place and I'd only ever had central heating/combi boiler. I have these German clay heaters here. Due to an issue with the shower, I could only shower a few times a week. I only do laundry once every week or so. I wasn't even cooking every day. I'm on economy 7

    […]

    I've now drastically cut things down as much as I can. Cook only a few times a week, other times I reheat in a microwave. No oven use. No heating at night when I'm asleep and heating only comes on during the day at around 17 or 18 degrees C.
    As mentioned by the above posters, meter readings and unit rates will be the first step to getting accurate advice.

    However, from the quoted bits highlighted in bold I suspect this could be playing a significant role in the bill, Economy 7 with electric daytime heating is about as expensive as it gets! 

    Remember that on an E7 tariff your daytime electric is going to cost significantly more than any nighttime use, so if you’re unable to shift high energy applications like heating and hot water to this period you’ll almost certainly want to get off that and onto a single rate as soon as possible. 

    With your suggested day:night split of 20:5 units (using the Octopus prices for my area) you’d be paying about £3-4 less per day just by switching to a single rate without making any changes to your usage, so that alone could account for around £170 of your 49 day bill.
    Moo…
  • Alnat1
    Alnat1 Posts: 3,348 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Options
    Is your meter inside your flat or in a hallway/cupboard somewhere with meters for other flats?

    We've seen several threads where people have had the wrong meter allocated to their flat and have been paying for someone else's energy. Turn absolutely everything off and make sure your meter stops too.
    Barnsley, South Yorkshire
    Solar PV 5.25kWp SW facing (14 x 375 Longi) Lux 3.6kw hybrid inverter and 4.8kw Pylontech battery storage installed March 22
    Octopus Agile/Fixed Outgoing and Tracker gas
  • missmococo
    Options
    German clay heaters - I take it those are not storage heaters but use expensive daytime electricity?  Regardless of whether the bill is right or wrong, having to use heating at an expensive daytime rate will cost you more anyway so unless you somehow have high night usage then changing to single rate would most likely work out cheaper.

    You definitely need to post the meter readings from when you moved in and now (and any others in between), if possible.  Plus the unit rates, for considering the bill.  Then people can advise you accurately.
    Yes, not storage heaters. But I barely have the heat on during the day. I definitely don't have heat on in the rooms I'm not in and even in my office, it isn't usually on. During the day, it doesn't get that cold and during the night, I'm not in it so I don't heat it. The heat doesn't come on until after sunset in the living and bedroom when it's colder and then only for an hour or so. The heat stays in the flat well for hours. One or two hours of heat usually heats the room for the rest of the night until I go to bed. At least, that's what I think is happening.

    9th Dec reads from before I moved in: 
    Night 22368
    Day 49101

    25th Jan reads (last bill from Scottish Power):
    Night 22831
    Day 50490

    Today's reads:
    Night 22955
    Day 51057

    Unite Rates:




  • missmococo
    Options
    tacpot12 said:
    The items you brought with you to the flat are not likely to be the cause of the extra cost. They won't have changed what they consume. So the answer is likely to be something in the flat, and the clay heaters are the most likely culprits (and Economy 7). But it could be other things, including someone in another flat stealing your electricity! 

    You, or someone on your behalf needs to check the rating on each appliance that you didn't bring to the flat, and calculate how much it costs to use that item for a typical period (e.g. 10 minutes for the shower / 1hr for the clay heaters). 

    You or someone else needs to turn everything off in the flat, and check that the meter stops recording any usage. If it doesn't, you need to keep searching to find what is using the power.

    You haven't mentioned how you are heating hot water for the taps. In an all electric flat, this is likely to be either an immersion heater or an instantaneous heater under a sink. Again, find the rating of the immersion heater/instantaneous heater, and make sure you understand the controls. If your cylinder isn't well insulated, an immersion heater is going to be more expensive to use than boiling a kettle that has just the amount of hot water you need. If the cylinder is well insulated (and few are), then the immersion heater shouldn't be too bad if you don't use too much hot water from the taps. If you use a lot of hot water, it will cost a lot in electricity to reheat fresh water as it is colder to start with in the winter. 

    Only clay radiators on during the day (when Economy 7 makes the electricity more expensive) seems to be a mistake, but the issue isn't when you heat, but how much you are paying for Economy 7. The clay heaters are not storage heaters and they are not designed to be used with Economy 7, but you can use them overnight to stop the flat getting too cold. 

    I think the optimal way to use them is to have them on throughout the Economy 7 period, set for say 18C. Then have them off at all other times, and just use a fan heater in the room you are in. You will probably have to have the clay heater in your bedroom on for an hour before you go to bed, but due to how long they take to start emitting useful amounts of heat, this hour might need to be a 8pm, rather than say 9pm. Used this way, I think it will still be beneficial to be on economy 7, but it will depend on the split between what you are using inside and outside of the Economy 7 hours, and whether you can make any changed to this, e.g. having the immersion heater only come on inside the Economy 7 hours. 
    Yes, I have an immersion tank here. The immersion tank seems to keep the water hot pretty well so the one hour I heat it at night in the last hour before it changes to day rate, lasts until six or seven pm for me the next day. I've only been doing the dishes/showering in the morning to avoid heating the tank more than that. Showers only last for a maximum of 10 minutes before I run out of hot water here. 

    What's really strange is that I we used a lot more electricity during the first month of being here simply from not knowing how things work. Heating and immersion tank were on for much longer than they should have been. But in the last month, the water tank went from being heated 6 or so hours a day, to just 1 hour during the night/cheap rate. And the heating had previously come on during the night but now doesn't. But my day usage is still really high. Night usage seems to be consistently 4 units a night.


  • Alnat1
    Alnat1 Posts: 3,348 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Options
    Really do check that the right meter is being used to bill your flat. You might be paying for your neighbours electricity and they are paying for yours.
    Barnsley, South Yorkshire
    Solar PV 5.25kWp SW facing (14 x 375 Longi) Lux 3.6kw hybrid inverter and 4.8kw Pylontech battery storage installed March 22
    Octopus Agile/Fixed Outgoing and Tracker gas
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