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Topic: Help with electricity choices  (Read 1253 times)

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Help with electricity choices
« on: June 24, 2018, 07:59:59 PM »
We've been using a top up meter for 3 years now and it is so expensive. Paying almost £120 a month for a 1 bedroom flat that is probably less than 400 sq ft.

I do not understand these tariffs and my choices. Can someone experienced in these matters help a girl out?

I'm in Central Scotland.

Thanks!

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Re: Help with electricity choices
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2018, 08:10:33 PM »
HOOLEY jeezus. I am in a 3 bedroom (at least 1,000 sq. ft.) flat and I pay  £40 a month! Are you on electric heating?

What energy provider are you on? Have you gone to any of the comparison websited? (uswitch, etc)?  I can refer you to the company I just switched to, but have to warn you that their customer service is abysmal - very slow, and you may spend some time on hold, and they have no real online presence other than an advertising site/switch to us site. But they are cheap - you can see the prices on their website.

The company is "Our Power" and are run by various social landlords that have gotten together to create a not-for-profit energy company.  I have a smart meter left from SSE, but am now back to phoning in and emailing (for good measure) meter readings every month. Literally have only been with them for a few weeks, and am paying direct debit, so we'll see how it goes. Saving about 100+ pounds a year on electric alone from SSE, supposedly.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2018, 08:19:33 PM by Nan D. »


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Re: Help with electricity choices
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2018, 08:18:44 PM »
We've been using a top up meter for 3 years now and it is so expensive. Paying almost £120 a month for a 1 bedroom flat that is probably less than 400 sq ft.

I do not understand these tariffs and my choices. Can someone experienced in these matters help a girl out?

I'm in Central Scotland.

Thanks!

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Generally speaking there will be a standard tariff which is the default and will be more expensive. Then you will have the cheaper tariffs but they can go up in price at the whim of the provider and finally the fixed tariffs which are guaranteed not to change until expiry. The longer the fix, the more expensive the tariff will be. I usually choose one of the shorter fixed tariffs as a good compromise.

Try plugging some numbers into a comparison site to see how much better off you will be!  :)

https://www.moneysupermarket.com/gas-and-electricity/

Paying by direct debit usually gets you a better price.

Also watch out for exit fees in case you later want to switch providers or tarrifs.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2018, 08:22:57 PM by larrabee »
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Re: Help with electricity choices
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2018, 08:51:03 PM »
Nan,

I just started my research and am overwhelmed already. I don't understand the billing compared to US.

We have electric heating, yes. No gas at all.

No smart meter or anything. Just a dongle key to add money on at a Pay Point.

We have to turn the boiler on when we want hot water and we do have an electric shower.

We only ran the heat in the living room, we don't even have a radiator in the bedroom. I don't use the oven very often, I use the pressure cooker mostly. I do run my ice maker but not that my iron is under control I won't need so much ice.  Lol

I'm trying to get it sorted now before winter rolls back around and I have to turn the radiator back on.
HOOLEY jeezus. I am in a 3 bedroom (at least 1,000 sq. ft.) flat and I pay  £40 a month! Are you on electric heating?

What energy provider are you on? Have you gone to any of the comparison websited? (uswitch, etc)?  I can refer you to the company I just switched to, but have to warn you that their customer service is abysmal - very slow, and you may spend some time on hold, and they have no real online presence other than an advertising site/switch to us site. But they are cheap - you can see the prices on their website.

The company is "Our Power" and are run by various social landlords that have gotten together to create a not-for-profit energy company.  I have a smart meter left from SSE, but am now back to phoning in and emailing (for good measure) meter readings every month. Literally have only been with them for a few weeks, and am paying direct debit, so we'll see how it goes. Saving about 100+ pounds a year on electric alone from SSE, supposedly.

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Re: Help with electricity choices
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2018, 09:32:42 PM »
Nan,

I just started my research and am overwhelmed already. I don't understand the billing compared to US.

We have electric heating, yes. No gas at all.

No smart meter or anything. Just a dongle key to add money on at a Pay Point.

We have to turn the boiler on when we want hot water and we do have an electric shower.

We only ran the heat in the living room, we don't even have a radiator in the bedroom. I don't use the oven very often, I use the pressure cooker mostly. I do run my ice maker but not that my iron is under control I won't need so much ice.  Lol

I'm trying to get it sorted now before winter rolls back around and I have to turn the radiator back on.
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Ok. I will, with my limited understanding, try to sort it a bit. As I understand it:

For a standard meter you pay a "standing charge" every day, regardless of what you use. (Not sure why. Possibly to cover upkeep of the system?) It's not huge - my standing charge with SSE (my last provider) was about 15-ish pence a day. Then you pay a charge per kilowatt hour for the electric you actually do use. Then there is 5% VAT added on top of the total of standing and energy charges. The total of all three is what you pay.

You would either be on a fixed tariff (agreed for a certain amount of time) or a variable tariff (can go up when energy prices go up). You can be on a direct-debit, pay quarterly, or, as you have, a pre-paid meter.  I am on a quarterly billing cycle, but agreed to allow them to average my bill for a year and take out 1/12 of the annual cost monthly. I got a discount for allowing them to do that, and another discount for paperless billing.

You are having to use the dongle thingy to pre-pay. You are buying a certain amount of electricity when you charge up the dongle. You're still paying the vat, standing, and energy charges, it's just all rolled into whatever you pay at the pay point. (Potentially with a service charge to cover the merchant's expense of using the pre-pay system? Don't know, just guessing.) It is my understanding that "prepaid" is usually some of the highest priced electricity.

The amount you are being charged for the standing charge and the energy itself is determined by the power company that your meter is associated to, and the specific plan you are on (if they offer more than one). You need to look at the amounts you're being charged for standing charge/kilowatt hour charge by your power company. You can then compare any other options you might have with other power companies.

You can check the rates for "Our Power", if you wanted to look at them, here https://our-power.co.uk/  plug in your zip and look for your options. Or go here https://our-power.co.uk/tariffs   They charge the same rate if you are on a pre-pay meter or a standard meter. Again, warning, customer service with them is irritating, but they are cheaper than a lot of companies.

You might want to read up -  https://www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity/guides/prepayment-meters/

It may be possible for you to have the meter changed out to a standard meter. You'd need your landlord to agree, I believe, and if you are with one of the major suppliers they might do it for free - especially if there's an upgrade to a smart meter at the same time.

[There is also something called a restricted meter, and the costs for power used by it change depending on the time of day/demand on the grid. I hope you are not on one of those, unless they were very clear in telling you the costs per time-of-day.]

The amount of insulation you have in your walls/ceiling and the kind of windows (single pane, double pane, etc.) you have will impact your costs, indirectly, as you'll have to run the heat more in a drafty, badly-insulated space. I am such a skinflint that I put packing bubble-wrap across the inside of my bathroom windows in the winter, even though I've got dual pane  glass, to cut down more on the heat transference (it did help).

Not sure if the above is TMI, but I think that uswitch link will help you out.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2018, 09:44:58 PM by Nan D. »


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Re: Help with electricity choices
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2018, 10:55:13 AM »
You are unfortunately paying what is likely the highest rate via that top-up dongle. If there is any possibility of getting a normal meter and getting on a decent tariff, that's about the only way you will realize any savings.

Electric heating is always more expensive than gas. We have a smallish 3BR detached, but gas central heating with a new boiler. Our estimated energy cost for the year is around £825, so a monthly DD of £68.40 at present. I have switched suppliers frequently, and use Money Saving Expert Cheap Energy Club (https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/cheapenergyclub). That alerts me when I am overpaying, and works out the cost to switch, taking into account exit fees (if any) and usage.
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Re: Help with electricity choices
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2018, 04:36:15 PM »
If, by chance, you don't know who your supplier is, you can call one of the following numbers:

Scotland North 0845 0262 554
Scotland South 0845 270 9101

for your electric and they should be able to tell you.


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Re: Help with electricity choices
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2018, 06:35:19 PM »
If, by chance, you don't know who your supplier is, you can call one of the following numbers:

Scotland North 0845 0262 554
Scotland South 0845 270 9101

for your electric and they should be able to tell you.
We don't!

Stuart and I are both off of work tomorrow so we can make some phone calls.

We will need a new electric box.  In Scotland,  you can choose whatever energy provider you want without prior approval of the landlord. However, we already checked with ours as he is a family friend. He responded like he always does, "It's your home. Do as you wish."

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Re: Help with electricity choices
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2018, 06:54:19 PM »
We don't!

Stuart and I are both off of work tomorrow so we can make some phone calls.

We will need a new electric box.  In Scotland,  you can choose whatever energy provider you want without prior approval of the landlord. However, we already checked with ours as he is a family friend. He responded like he always does, "It's your home. Do as you wish."

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True enough - who you use is up to you.

You might want to get an emailed acknowledgement that the landlord has no problems with a supplier changing out the meter, though. I believe the meters actually belong to the utility, but it might not hurt - for some distant day way in the future - for you to have it documented that you did do a courtesy check with the landlord anyway.  8)


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Re: Help with electricity choices
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2018, 09:26:18 AM »
Did you get your problem sorted, Tami?


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Re: Help with electricity choices
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2018, 09:54:25 AM »
Did you get your problem sorted, Tami?
Lol. No.

We figured out our carrier is British Gas BUT it was still under the councils account.  (Used to be temporary homeless council flat YEARS ago)

So we have to wait for a letter through the post confirming the account is now in my husband's name before we can switch.

Is anything easy here?

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Re: Help with electricity choices
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2018, 12:30:58 PM »
Oh heavens!

Well, at least the ball is rolling, albeit slowly. It will be worth it when you can get yourselves a cheaper rate!  ;D

No, nothing is easy. I am trying to get a driving license. Required I get someone who knows me who isn't a relative or who doesn't live in my flat to sign off saying I'm me. They have to provide their UK DL number. Unfortunately, everyone we know has some other kind of license, if any!

We got it sorted, finally. And now I have to send my passport in with it as well. (Sigh) So, pay for the DL, pay to ship it down signed-for, pay to ship it back signed-for, THEN I can do driver's ed.


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Re: Help with electricity choices
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2018, 12:40:49 PM »

Is anything easy here?


Betting....  it's the only thing that's easy!


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Re: Help with electricity choices
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2018, 02:02:30 PM »
Oh heavens!

Well, at least the ball is rolling, albeit slowly. It will be worth it when you can get yourselves a cheaper rate!  ;D

No, nothing is easy. I am trying to get a driving license. Required I get someone who knows me who isn't a relative or who doesn't live in my flat to sign off saying I'm me. They have to provide their UK DL number. Unfortunately, everyone we know has some other kind of license, if any!

We got it sorted, finally. And now I have to send my passport in with it as well. (Sigh) So, pay for the DL, pay to ship it down signed-for, pay to ship it back signed-for, THEN I can do driver's ed.
Why is it that much more complicated for you to get a license? Is it just a provisional? I just filled out the form and sent in my brp. I didn't have to do any of that other stuff.

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Re: Help with electricity choices
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2018, 02:05:52 PM »
I don't have a BRP.  ;D


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