HELP....crazy gas bill advice

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FurryconkerFurryconker Forumite
18 Posts
Sixth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
Hi,
Looking for some advice.

Some background....
We moved into a mid terrace house in March last year. It's 2 bed plus a loft conversion and has 1 bathroom, a kitchen in a small rear extension, a dining room and a living room.
When we moved in we were led to believe ALL energy was supplied by npower so to avoid an issues we stuck with them. We had a small shock a month later when a British Gas bill arrived but that was easily sorted as it ended up that the elderly lady had used British Gas for gas and npower for electric....they just hadn't explained that well. We eventually got everything under one roof with npower in April.
Anyways npower turned into EON-Next in July last year (although the tariff is still the npower one until the end of March) and we carried on with them intending to review at he renewal date. Because of the change we were unable to supply meter readings until November and this is where it's all started to go wrong.

*NOTE* We had the old boiler replaced here during the summer because it was highlighted the flu was pointing towards a bedroom window and could have been hazardous to our health plus it was so old it was impossible to replace the flu.

In short the gas bills in hindsight have always been high, peaking over the winter at levels which will be unsustainable.
  • We went from £143 in credit to £375 in debt in one bill (albeit that bill covered pretty much 4 months due to the changeover problems mentioned above). 
  • The bills for gas and electric averaged out at roughly £100 a month from July to December.
  • January's bill jumped to £165 (its winter but a quick google says the £125 for gas alone is HIGH consumption).
  • February's bill jumped further to £181 (again its winter but gas is now £135 alone).
Now we've contacted EON-Next and the customer service guy gave us a test to do on the meter incase that was faulty. We basically turned the heating off for a day I was at work and the house empty and took photo's of the start and finish readings. They ended up being exactly the same.
I've got the chap who installed the new boiler coming to check that work on Wednesday but that's gone from a "....can you check it for us?" to him now coming out to check it over (and the pipes) and he is going to give us a certificate (?).

We only have the heating come on twice a day (morning to warm up the house and night to ensure it's comfortable to go to sleep). We've also insulated the celler "ceiling" (living room floor) to try to combat an cold coming up from there. We stopped using the gas fire during Feb and that didn't help the bill, infact it went up !

I'm at a loss. Can anyone shed any light on anything we may have missed ? According to the bills the usage is between 350 and 390 m3 of gas and our revised estimated usage for a year sits at 27420 kwh. We moved from a semi detached new build so I always expected the bills to be higher as its and older house but I never expected to be approaching £200 a month in winter. So is there anything else people can recommend to check ? We are now £500 in debt so have some work to do to get out of that if indeed everything is ok.

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Replies

  • theoreticatheoretica Forumite
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    What sort of meter do you have?  There have been a few posts on here recently that have turned out to be meter readings in the wrong units.

    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
  • MWTMWT Forumite
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    According to the bills the usage is between 350 and 390 m3 of gas ...
    What period is that over?
    Can you take daily meter readings for the next couple of days just to give an idea of what you are using now please?

  • stewie_griffinstewie_griffin Forumite
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    Check your meter to see if it's says ft3 or M3 and make sure the calculation on your bills match.
  • Gerry1Gerry1 Forumite
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    Pics of the meter together with the latest reading you have sent, please !
  • Robin9Robin9 Forumite
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    Do have a close look at the meter please - is it marked in m3 or cu ft ?   What is the serial number ?   What is the reading - modern meters have a decimal point - you should ignore all the numbers after the decimal point.- or is ot an old type with clockwork dials going in different directions.

    Now look at the bill - does that say m3 or cu ft ? Is the serial number the same as the meter ?  What are the readings - do the have a letter A or S, C or E.   If E give the readings to nPower and again every month. Even it was  SMART once it may not be now. You should give the meter reading as it stands - do NOT multiply by 11.2 !!
    Never pay on an estimated bill
  • TallerdaveTallerdave Forumite
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    Without wanting to be depressing it could be as bad as it seems if insulation/draughts are not good.  The February bill went up because it got really cold.

    During the recent week of snow & ice with lows of -5C we used over 2000kWh of gas, whereas this week it's been warmer and we only used just under 1000kWh. In summer we use 50kWh a week (hot water only). 42000kWh a year, but detached with large extension. 

    Is you hot water just on for 2 hrs a day? Maybe drop the temperature a bit? But it's your heating that's killer. I think gas fires are crazily inefficient?  Do you have TRVs on all radiators? 

    Switch away from your dual fuel deal. Single suppliers are cheaper. Try Zog. Pay an exit fee if savings are significant. 
  • bagand96bagand96 Forumite
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    As others have said, starting point has to be checking what units the meter is reading (ft3 or m3) and checking this is being billed correctly.
  • MWTMWT Forumite
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    Check your meter to see if it's says ft3 or M3 and make sure the calculation on your bills match.
    It would be great if that was the problem, but given this comment form the OP I suspect not:
    "According to the bills the usage is between 350 and 390 m3 of gas"
    The problems occur when the meter is metric and bill is imperial, but still worth checking to be sure.
  • edited 11 March at 12:41PM
    FurryconkerFurryconker Forumite
    18 Posts
    Sixth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    edited 11 March at 12:41PM
    The meter is m3 so that's the readings we have been providing. I've doubled checked the bills and they seem to recognize the same method of reading ie. m3.

    EON Next gave us 2 choices when I called them up.

    1. Pay for a meter check (£101 via 3rd party) which they would refund if the meter turned out to be faulty. However the operator also stated that in the years he has worked in energy provision he has only encountered 1 truly faulty meter.
    2. Provide readings each day for a week to a specific customer service rep who was going to manage our case. I've been doing that (today is the final day to provide these figures) at 10.30pm each night (when the heating turns off for the night).
    Based on point 2 the readings are thus :
    5th March 40654
    6th March 40662 (+8 units)
    7th March 40672 (+10 units)
    8th March 40681 (+9 units)
    9th March 40689 (+8 units)
    10th March 40697 (+8 units)
    11th March TBC
    So we are likely to be looking at around 50m3 units of gas used in a week. That's on a heating profile which the boiler turns on at 6.30am and off at 10.30am then on again at 5pm until 10.30pm and once it reaches the thermostat temperature it turns itself off until it drops until the set temperature when it refires to start heating again.

    We've also had another EON Next customer service person contact us after they updated our billing based on one of the readings sent in above (9th March). This led to the generation of a bill from 25th Feb to 9th March (12 days) which in turn charged us £37 for the gas used in that period. The last full bill covered 35 days so pretty much 3 times the 12 day timeperiod above which would suggest a bill over over £110 for a similar period.

    Does any of the above seem alarming ? Should we be paying for the meter check as unlikely as it may be ? Should we just pay up and change supplier (tariff ends end of March) ? 

    Thanks in advance.
  • jbuchanangbjbuchanangb Forumite
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    Those numbers are not outrageous at this time of year. Over 90 days to 2 March I averaged 7.5 units (m3) per day. You're a bit above that, but every property is different. Get into routine of providing readings once a month so that the bills will continue to be accurate.
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