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(***Mod Edit - Off-topic posts have been removed from this thread***)


I have just had to put my direct debit up to £145 a month with the Hydro to catch up with their low estimates.

We don't heat or cook with electric and are sensible with the use of the tumble dryer etc. The only 'luxury' is underfloor heating in the 2 bathrooms.

My wife has spoken with Scottish Hydro several times and the answer is that this isn't excessive.

However talking to neighbours etc they appear to use far more than me, ie heat/cook/light chicken coops with electric yet pay considerably less.

I suspect that the meter is incorrect and am aware of the fact that the Hydro will charge £160 if there is nothing wrong.

We are on a standard tariff at 12.79p per kw.

Any advice/experience of what to do would be appreciated. My home is newly constructed and there are only the three of us.

Oh and to make it even sadder we are more or less always in bed by 9.30pm.

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Thats does seem somewhat on the high side.


I'd suggest an old fashioned approach of spending the weekend checking each electrical item in turn to see roughly how much juice it uses and to check your electric meter reading every hour. (Eg. turn everything off, just turn on the one thing and see how much juice it uses per minute/10 minutes and watching the meter to catch any sudden jumps.)


You might find that something is running away with the juice. (I once found a house where the neighbour had wired in his electric to theirs to avoid paying.. or another where the hot water heater was on 24/7 and the bulb had gone to show it was on.)


My finger might point towards the underfloor heating myself, but I'm not expert, just a problem solver :-)

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We're paying a direct debit of £120 a month but we're still in big arrears due to estimated billing, and the Hydro says that the £120 isn't covering our monthly usage. We don't have a tumble dryer or anything extra like that. One storage heater in the living room is kept on all day to try and warm the cold wind that comes up under the floor, and two bedroom storage heaters and the kitchen heater are on timers plus lights (which are switched off when not required), electric cooker... washing machine (once a day), water heater (on a timer twice a day) and laptops. That's it. Oh, and Shetland Heatwise has already been to try and make the house warmer.


Oops... and now the Christmas tree lights :)


In Lerwick I had token meters for both the electricity and district heating and they averaged £10 each a week.

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Well the most obvious thing to say is that we should all check estimated bills when they arrive and notify the electricity supplier if they are too low or too high.


Other than that Nigel's advice to check on what is making the meter reading rise is a good idea. Underfloor heating is certainly a suspect and I do think you should be investigating on what you have available to control that in the way of thermostats and timers.


Perhaps hang damp washing in a warm bathroom to dry and throw out the tumble drier, see if the washing machine can use hot water from the heating system rather than heating it up on demand and indeed see if you can turn down the wash temperature.


There are two sorts of tests that can be done on a meter and it is possible that the fee quoted was for the "official" test. You can read all about it here.


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Guest posiedon
Just out of curiosity, what is the unit price for domestic electricity in the UK now?

We are paying 15.31p a unit on one of the new "key" meters, It's costing around £20 a week with no electric heating or cooking, but we do use a tumble drier maybe twice a week.

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If your using storage heaters then your most likely I imagine on Economy 7 tariff, and from what I remember thats very much more expensive per unit during the day, its only cheaper at night. So if you have heavy electric usage items on during the day, its costing you way more than you might imagine!


You might have them all on timers to run at night, but in case you don't, thats another thing to look at.



If there is a cold wind coming up through the floor, (wooden floor?) I'd suggest if you've carpet to lay newspaper under it, and if you can afford it, underlay. (You can sometimes get free 2nd hand underlay if you ask around, asking in carpet shops for example, they might give you a ring when they are next on a job where they are ripping out old underlay and you could go and pick it up, if no transport, then it might cost you a few tenners to get them to deliver it/etc. I got mine for free from a housing association that was refitting a home, or rubbish day in middleclass neighbourhood.)


Some fluorescent bulbs might help if your not using them. (But not on the stairs!)

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My wife, who knows more about these things than I do, says that the electricity is on a cheaper rate between 3pm and 6pm and then for most of the small hours in the night. She waits until 3pm before the tumble dryer gets switched on.

There are just the two of us and our monthly debit has recently increased from £88 per month, which brought about a bill with us owing them £269, to £119 per month.

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I've not heard of 3pm to 6pm before when it comes to Economy 7, its more like :




> It’s called Economy 7 because for seven hours every night

> (normally from 1am until 8am) your electricity will cost considerably

> less than the standard daytime rate. Although times can vary

> dependent on suppliers and regions.


I'd be most interested to know supplier so we can check to see if the times are the same. (They might recently have changed them and not told you..)




Also, your Economy 7 meter might be playing up, perhaps its not getting its radio signal to switch:




> The specific times when Economy 7 applies vary between different

> regions and at different times of year. Usually the seven-hour

> period starts at 1:30am during summer and 12:30am in winter.

> Some regions use radio teleswitching to control consumers' systems

> and vary the timing — this uses data carried on the

> 198 kHz BBC Radio 4 LW signal.


Lets hope its not an issue with the radio 4 transmitter..


(If I recal correctly, if that goes down, then our nuclear deterant is supposed to be fired..)




> Royal Navy nuclear submarines carrying ballistic missiles are

> allegedly under standing orders to monitor the BBC Radio 4

> transmission on 198 kHz in waters near the U.K. It is rumoured

> that they are to construe a sudden halt in transmission as an

> indicator that the U.K. is under attack, whereafter their sealed

> orders go into place.


I'm not familar myself enough to know if there is any indication on the meter or not to let you know when its working correctly.


Its also possible your storage heaters might not be wired into it, had anyone around to do wiring for you recently ? (Maybe check where the wiring ends up.)


Also, if you have a loft, check it! (Once someone I knew moved into a house and wondered why their electric bill was so high, they checked the loft and found a hot air heater had been left running 24/7!)

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Guest Anonymous


Wow,,, Given prices like those, no wonder people are complaining..

That's about a 50% increase since I had the good sense to escape from the UK.

Maybe it's about time to treat the UK energy suppliers with the same contempt as Shetlanders treat Selkies. :wink: :wink:

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I've not heard of 3pm to 6pm before....


Anyone here with the THTC (Total Heating Total Control) twin meter system gets much cheaper power for two or three hours twice a day, principally to recharge the storage heaters and heat water. If memory serves the timer switch kicks in between something like 4pm - 6pm and 4am - 6am every day in summer, and 3pm - 5pm and 3am - 5am in winter.


I can't speak for how all buildings are wired, only this place which is a strange set up, but I expect all are much the same.


There's a mix of storage, convector and storage/convector combo heaters fitted here, the storage ones, and storage parts of the combos can only recharge during the hours the cheap power is available. Likewise, the water heater can only be switched on during the hours there is cheap power. However, the convector heaters, and convector parts of the combos can be used 24/7, and are fed through the cheap power meter, and charged at that rate.


Anything and everything else is fed through the standard rate meter 24/7, so it's never possible to have heavy users like washing machines etc on the cheap power.

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