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To cry when British Gas tell me my bill for one week of £82 is normal.

(106 Posts)
insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 19:31:03

I have just rung BG and been told that this is normal. I have a pay as you go meter inherited with house , there is no debt. I have called them because we have put this in in one week and it is almost gone.I never go into emergency credit.
My house is fairly large but we have a new CH system new doubleglazing and are fully insulated. I set the thermostat at 18c so if it drops below it kicks in . We have to have it on all the time as there are young children in the house during the day so I daren't turn it down any lower.
We went away last year so I can't trust the estimate that predicts us using £255 a year on our bill either.We were away for 6 months from December until July. We are on standard tarrif. This will mean if we continue to use our ch like this the months bill will be almost £250!!! We have no other gas appliances other than the CH. Is this really normal use as the advisor tells me? I feel like crying as I simply cant afford it and don't want the baby to be cold.
If IABU then would someone please tell me how I can reduce this cost. Is it better to turn it down/off at times (i was told better to leave it on constantly). We have an electric fire but thought is was too expensive to put on as the main source of heat, now i'm not so sure.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 18-Jan-13 20:58:01

At the moment as far as I'm aware if you stick to prepayment meters utilita is the cheapest.

They switch over for free and fit smart meters for free.

Loislane78 Fri 18-Jan-13 20:59:45

You should contact Ofgem if you think something questionable is going on with the metre. Sounds v v high to me and agree to going direct debit which will be cheaper and help budget more over the year.

insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 21:13:47

Mike he said there's no debt and I checked through screens too (there's a lot of them)! I am on standard tarrif which he said is right too?

Even if I turn it off at night maybe saving a third I'll be paying loads more than everyone else on here! Some of your monthly combined bills are almost the same as my gas only has cost for this 1 week. Oh and I'm in NW where there is no snow yet!
Going to call back tomorrow after checking shillys link.

Bunbaker Fri 18-Jan-13 21:19:03

Unless it is several degrees below zero I wouldn't have thought you would need the heating on at night.

insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 21:20:36

lois will do that tomorrow first thing after ringing BG back, thanks. And thankyou to everyone else for showing me IANBU.

insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 21:24:56

bunbaker we used to turn it off at night but were told to try leaving it on to see if it was cheaper. It isn't but even turning it off we're still paying way more than we should.

Itsnotahoover Fri 18-Jan-13 21:26:17

I pay £30 a week all year round by DD for gas and electric. My house is an old mill, completely open plan with no double glazing, half an inch gap round the wooden front door, and 25ft ceilings upstairs where all the heat disappears to, so not the mst economical house to run! On that basis, I would say your bill is very high!

lubeybooby Fri 18-Jan-13 21:28:12

I have a pre pay meter with no debt, a very drafty huge old victorian place and the heating on constantly - no thermostat but I would guess the boiler setting I have it on when really cold works out to be about room temp.. so 20c ish.

Costs me no more than £40 in a week.

Something is wrong somewhere.

MikeLitoris Fri 18-Jan-13 21:28:44

If you checked yourself then it probably isnt an issue with your meter as such.

What is your usage normally like?

Could it be a gas leak? (Not trying to be alarmist)

I have a gas ppm. This week I have put £20 on and have some left. Thats for 2 adults 3 dc in a big draughty victorian terrace. 4 bed 3 storey.

It really isnt likely to be correct. I would demand a meter accuracy test tbh.

insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 21:56:26

How do I demand it Mike? I've only just properly started monitoring it due to budgeting differently with new job. We topped up £20 yesterday dinner time have had it on 18c and there's £7.00 left now. It gave us the full £20 no emergency credit used etc.

PigletJohn Fri 18-Jan-13 22:07:29

You must get rid of that prepayment meter.

Does your meter show the number of cubic metres used? If so, please note it down on your calendar and let us know how many cy metres per day you are using.

This week is unusually cold. In cold weather my house gets through 7 or 8 metres a day, which is about 80kWh. It is fairly modern and well-insulated.

A cu metre costs me about 40p (calculated as 11kWh per metre, and 3.6p per kWh, plus VAT, minus direct debit discount). I expect you are being charged substantially more. So I am currently using about £3.20 per day which is about the highest part of the year.

A large Edwardian house I used to live in used 150kWh per day in winter.

I don't know how big your house is, or how old, or how well insulated, or how hot for how long. This would be relevant to what amount of gas you use, which we will only know from the actual meter readings.

insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 22:11:19

I will go check now bbs.

specialsubject Fri 18-Jan-13 22:15:28

that is simply wrong. OP, you need to ask British Gas how much each unit costs on your current tariff, and don't get off the phone until they tell you. (this is the only figure that matters and it is so hard to get the energy companies to tell you) You also need this figure for your electricity.

If the unit cost sounds vaguely reasonable, start monitoring daily use.

Then you can compare units vs costs and see what is going on. You can also see how much gas you use and see if that is reasonable.

also - where is the the thermostat?

MikeLitoris Fri 18-Jan-13 22:18:55

Well first off you need to call them back, ask to speak to a manager. Calmly explain your concerns. Tell them you want a meter accuracy test. If they dont agree ask for your call to be escalated further. Do this until you get the job booked. Refuse to hang up.

It is important to know how much you use normally. How does this last weeks usage compare to say a month ago?

Yes it is cold this week but if you are using the gch in the same way as normal that shouldn't affect your usage.

PigletJohn Fri 18-Jan-13 22:21:11

I gather you have a Victorian, 3-bed, end of terrace, is that right?

So the walls will be solid, no scope for cavity insulation. Have you got ten inches of insulation in the loft?

Are the doors draughtproofed?

Have you got thermostatic radiator valves, and do you turn off the bedroom radiators during the day?

Do you use a tumble-drier?

You should set the night-time stat to 15C, then it will only come on if the house gets that cold (which it might do in this weather). Normally it is better to use the timer to turn the CH off half an hour before you go to bed, and back on half an hour before you get up.

BTW, people, even babies, did not evolve to live in centrally heated houses, and will not die if you turn it down to 18C and put on a vest (sorry)

insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 22:26:30

Meter index 04602.077m3 is that it?

House 3bed end terrace. It was built 1910 had dg and new ch system fitted about 3 years ago. It is large but not huge, loft insulated not sure about walls though. I have temp set at 18c on 24/7 at moment. It turns on if it dips below 18 and then goes off to maintain if that makes sense.

We have only used hot water to wash up last few days (shower is electric). I've just turned all but 2 radiators down to low as all were on full.

ihearsounds Fri 18-Jan-13 22:26:53

Change suppliers.
Not all companies charge more for their prepay customers. Some charge the me as their cash customers. It was a deal they did a few years back with energy watch (or similarly named).
That is an insane amount to pay, bg are unwilling to do anything be proactive and change. Do you get quartly statements? even on prepay you shpuld get these. Use the usage from them to use as a comparison.
If you want to stay with bg ask them about their social tariff. becuase you are paying more than 10% of your income on heating and it is making you fuel poor.

insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 22:29:36

X posted no Tumble Dryer or gas fires,cookers etc.

I live in a 4 bed new build and I put £15 a week on my gas meter. Over the summer I built up a huge credit on the meter. This week I have used the full £15. But know with the credit I had I can use my gas as I need. But yours seems way too high.

Fakebook Fri 18-Jan-13 22:30:33

My gas bill goes up and down every 6 months. I was paying £85 a month since last June, but BG phoned me the other day and told me my bill had gone upto £125 a month because we've been using it a lot. I'm about £300 in debit too, so it all needs to be paid off until we get around to summer again and I'll go back into credit.

MerryCouthyMows Fri 18-Jan-13 22:35:20

I'm fucking glad I'm not on a has meter!

My gas is just £7 a week, paid by payment card in the Post Office. I pay around an extra £10 a week when it is REALLY cold like this and I need my hearing on more.

I only put my heating on when we are still cold whilst wearing jumpers and fluffy socks.

I don't leave it on all day though - I put it on for an hour or two, then turn it off until it gets so cold that jumpers aren't cutting it anymore.

If you are keeping your house warm enough that you can walk around in a t-shirt in January, then that is one reason why you are spending more than you need to. You SHOULD be wearing a jumper in January - even indoors!

insprognito Fri 18-Jan-13 22:35:41

I asked for social tarif 2 years ago. They said they had too many people on it now and didn't have to let anymore on!

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Fri 18-Jan-13 22:35:44

I have a pre-pay meter.

I have put £20 this past week (which is £10 more than I normally would) have had heating on low during the day and usually push it up to 25 when DD is home from school.

I have a hot bath every night, plus washing dishes.

I am a mid terrace, new heating system and new double glazing.

I think British Gas are taking the piss.

Not that it helps you right now, but shop around and move to another provider.

Pre-pay meters are more expensive, but for me it works out more cost effective as I can control how much I am spending and am more likely to turn the heating down if necessary (also is just me and DD in house, so bigger family would probalby not be as cost effective)

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Fri 18-Jan-13 22:40:24

Also agree, extra layers are the way forward. Gas is expensive, regardless of which tariff/payment option you have.

Few tips (sorry if they are obvious..)

Keep curtains closed to exclude draft.

Draft exluders on exterior doors.

Interior doors closed, so each room retains the heat.

I have a thick (very naice) curtain hanging over my front door - keeps the draft out there.

You can get metal sheets to put behind radiators that ensure the heat is bounced back into the room and not soaked up by the wall - or you can get a big piece of cardboard and wrap it in tin foil, shiny side up, and put that behind radiator (as the previous tenants of this house had done).

Baby will be fine in a low heated house, with layers on, hat, blankets etc - central heating is a new thing remember (oh god I have turned into my nan!)

PigletJohn Fri 18-Jan-13 22:41:01

if it is Victorian it will not have cavity walls, hence no cavity wall insulation. Three external sides will lose quite a lot of heat. You do not mention a conservatory, which would lose tons of heat.

the reason I asked about a tumbledrier is that some people like to drape wet washing around the house and over radiators. As well as making the house damp, this means the heatring is on, but the energy is going to evaporate water, not to make the house warm.

Make a note of that meter reading, check it again in 24 hours, and then at least weekly. Keep the figures, and how much money you put in, in a notebook as you may need them in the case of a dispute. Do you happen to know the meter reading when you moved in, and told the gas company you were the new occupiers?

I would not be at all surprised if you meter had been set to recover debt by charging you extra, but that will soon become apparent.

You need to look up the prices on your tariff, but you probably have (in round terms) a standing charge of about 25p a day, even if you use no gas, and about 4.5p per kWh, which is about 50p per cubic metre. Your current meter reading is at 4602 cubic metres (the numbers after the decimal point are tenths/hundreds/thousands of a cubic metre)

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