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Preparing for High Electricity and Gas Charges in the UK.

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  • Preparing for High Electricity and Gas Charges in the UK.

    We knew the increases were coming, if we took notice, but they are still a shock to most folks here.

    In order to increase our reserves of electricity, several years ago the government offered assistance to homeowners if they would mount solar-voltaic generator panels on roof tops. Massive solar generating 'farms' have been installed all over Southern Counties, and our offshore wind farms are amongst the largest in the World. But these systems are expensive and the cost of power self-subsistence is the price we have to pay on top of inflation, a nasty war that we are giving aid to and the costs of the covid pandemic.

    All the above and more has raised the price of gas and electricity beyond easy reach of many households. In the spring we began our preparations for huge increases in electricity bills. In future posts I'll describe the many 'things' that we have done during this past summer, a list too long for an OP.

    In September a neighbour spoke about the massive increase that he had just been charged for his gas direct debits, and I told him that we would be expecting to pay up to 18 per day for our electricity by the middle of winter, and he told me that I was crazy to think so. On Saturday last our bill for the day was 17 and we haven't reached the January/February freezes yet!

    As from September I have recorded our electricity charges (to the nearest ) every morning and the meter was dropping by 4 each day. This rose steadily and by October we were spending 7-8 each day. November saw our meter dropping by about 9-12 each morning and when the December Freeze came along the costs increased up to Saturday's bill of 17. If the Government had not frozen all gas/electric charges until next April we would be seeing daily charges of 22-23 at present consumption.

    So the above info must produce the question:- Whatever are the Eiders burning!

    In future posts I'll be showing how much we have done during this last spring and summer to reduce electrical use. I can't imagine how we would have managed if we hadn't made so many changes.

    More tomorrow.

  • #2
    My electricity for last month was $4.5/day (but I have gas heat so that helps)
    Our electricity is billed all crazy. They have different prices for peak and off peak, and they have a bunch of riders and taxes added on, making it nearly impossible to read the bill.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by eider View Post
      We knew the increases were coming, if we took notice, but they are still a shock to most folks here.

      In order to increase our reserves of electricity, several years ago the government offered assistance to homeowners if they would mount solar-voltaic generator panels on roof tops. Massive solar generating 'farms' have been installed all over Southern Counties, and our offshore wind farms are amongst the largest in the World. But these systems are expensive and the cost of power self-subsistence is the price we have to pay on top of inflation, a nasty war that we are giving aid to and the costs of the covid pandemic.

      All the above and more has raised the price of gas and electricity beyond easy reach of many households. In the spring we began our preparations for huge increases in electricity bills. In future posts I'll describe the many 'things' that we have done during this past summer, a list too long for an OP.

      In September a neighbour spoke about the massive increase that he had just been charged for his gas direct debits, and I told him that we would be expecting to pay up to 18 per day for our electricity by the middle of winter, and he told me that I was crazy to think so. On Saturday last our bill for the day was 17 and we haven't reached the January/February freezes yet!

      As from September I have recorded our electricity charges (to the nearest ) every morning and the meter was dropping by 4 each day. This rose steadily and by October we were spending 7-8 each day. November saw our meter dropping by about 9-12 each morning and when the December Freeze came along the costs increased up to Saturday's bill of 17. If the Government had not frozen all gas/electric charges until next April we would be seeing daily charges of 22-23 at present consumption.

      So the above info must produce the question:- Whatever are the Eiders burning!

      In future posts I'll be showing how much we have done during this last spring and summer to reduce electrical use. I can't imagine how we would have managed if we hadn't made so many changes.

      More tomorrow.
      One thing about price controls in these situations is that they tend to exacerbate the situation by upsetting the supply and demand cycle.

      I'm always still in trouble again

      "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
      "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
      "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Sparko View Post
        My electricity for last month was $4.5/day (but I have gas heat so that helps)
        Our electricity is billed all crazy. They have different prices for peak and off peak, and they have a bunch of riders and taxes added on, making it nearly impossible to read the bill.
        Ah, yes........ we can choose a service that offers less expensive electricity at night-time, and I remember when many households had brick-filled radiators that heated up at night and released their heart during daytime...that kind of thing. We have one rate, fixed at a daily charge of 0.45p and a 0.35p charge per kilowatt, and our smart meter shows our usage to the penny.

        When our forecourt was dug up in prep for a concrete driveway the builder severed the gas pipe and when the gas board arrived to fix it I told the engineers to just plug it because we have never used gas. Everybody told me I was nuts at the time, but we have had two or three power cuts after storms and all the gas-using households haven't been able to use their gas central heating because the systems here are controlled by electricity.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
          One thing about price controls in these situations is that they tend to exacerbate the situation by upsetting the supply and demand cycle.
          Yes....... I expect that we will have power cuts during this winter, if it gets really cold. We had to prepare for those as well and I'll make a post about those.

          Comment


          • #6
            We have prepared for the very high energy price increases in many ways.
            Hot water cylinder work...... Our Water cylinder was a very large 48" high x 20" wide copper tank with an extra long 36" heating element. This tank didn't have an inner tube for heating via central heating., so the heating element needed to be as big as it was. In the spring I purchased a 36" high x 16" wide tank and this replaced the large one, this tank does have a central heating tube installed which reduces the volume of water which is held in the tank even further. The 36" element was replaced with a 24" element.

            We turned down the temperature on the heating element until the tank's water was just hand hot; for kitchen or other daily use this is fine, but we needed to do more if running a nice hot bath. The answer for hot baths is solved because we have two fast-boil kettles and these are so efficient that bath temperature and resulting water level is easily topped up as quickly as a bath can be run.

            The old tank now catches rain water from the right flank of our roof! Most useful!

            So now the cost of having hot water on demand at any time of day costs much much less than before, and with no problems at all.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by eider View Post

              Ah, yes........ we can choose a service that offers less expensive electricity at night-time, and I remember when many households had brick-filled radiators that heated up at night and released their heart during daytime...that kind of thing. We have one rate, fixed at a daily charge of 0.45p and a 0.35p charge per kilowatt, and our smart meter shows our usage to the penny.

              When our forecourt was dug up in prep for a concrete driveway the builder severed the gas pipe and when the gas board arrived to fix it I told the engineers to just plug it because we have never used gas. Everybody told me I was nuts at the time, but we have had two or three power cuts after storms and all the gas-using households haven't been able to use their gas central heating because the systems here are controlled by electricity.
              I think my electricity is around $0.15 per kw on average but as I said they add on taxes and other "riders" that cause the price to skyrocket. And you are right, if the power goes out, my gas furnace won't work because the blower fan is electric. But I could put in a gas fireplace and that would still work without power. Just don't really have room for one. I also have a gas water heater and I think that is cheaper to run than an electric one too.

              One bad thing about electric heat pumps (the combo air conditioner/heater units that are mostly used over here) is that they are not very efficient when the temperature drops too low. They have electric heater coils built in to compensate and they are expensive to run.

              this is my last month's bill

              Energy Charge 300.000 kWh @ $0.1487990044.64
              Energy Charge 362.000 kWh @ $0.1082970039.20
              Rider No. 60 Fuel Cost Adjustment 662.000 kWh @ $0.0459480030.42
              Rider No. 62 Environmental Compliance Adjustment 662.000 kWh @ $0.000738000.49
              Rider No. 65 Trans and Distrib Infrastructure Improvement Cost Rate Adj 662.000 kWh @ $0.000399000.26
              Rider No. 66 Energy Efficiency Revenue Adjustment 662.000 kWh @ $0.001772001.17
              Rider No. 67 Credits Adjustment 662.000 kWh @ $-0.00459100-3.04
              Rider No. 68 Regional Transmission Operator (RTO) Non-Fuel Costs and Revenue Adj 662.000 kWh @ $0.000172000.11
              Rider No. 70 Reliability Adjustment 662.000 kWh @ $-0.00009400-0.06
              Rider No. 72 Federally Mandated Cost Rate Adjustment 662.000 kWh @ $0.000106000.07
              Rider No. 73 Renewable Energy Project Revenue Adjustment 662.000 kWh @ $0.000153000.10
              State Tax $8.67

              Total: $132.57

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sparko View Post

                I think my electricity is around $0.15 per kw on average but as I said they add on taxes and other "riders" that cause the price to skyrocket. And you are right, if the power goes out, my gas furnace won't work because the blower fan is electric. But I could put in a gas fireplace and that would still work without power. Just don't really have room for one. I also have a gas water heater and I think that is cheaper to run than an electric one too.

                One bad thing about electric heat pumps (the combo air conditioner/heater units that are mostly used over here) is that they are not very efficient when the temperature drops too low. They have electric heater coils built in to compensate and they are expensive to run.

                this is my last month's bill

                Energy Charge 300.000 kWh @ $0.1487990044.64
                Energy Charge 362.000 kWh @ $0.1082970039.20
                Rider No. 60 Fuel Cost Adjustment 662.000 kWh @ $0.0459480030.42
                Rider No. 62 Environmental Compliance Adjustment 662.000 kWh @ $0.000738000.49
                Rider No. 65 Trans and Distrib Infrastructure Improvement Cost Rate Adj 662.000 kWh @ $0.000399000.26
                Rider No. 66 Energy Efficiency Revenue Adjustment 662.000 kWh @ $0.001772001.17
                Rider No. 67 Credits Adjustment 662.000 kWh @ $-0.00459100-3.04
                Rider No. 68 Regional Transmission Operator (RTO) Non-Fuel Costs and Revenue Adj 662.000 kWh @ $0.000172000.11
                Rider No. 70 Reliability Adjustment 662.000 kWh @ $-0.00009400-0.06
                Rider No. 72 Federally Mandated Cost Rate Adjustment 662.000 kWh @ $0.000106000.07
                Rider No. 73 Renewable Energy Project Revenue Adjustment 662.000 kWh @ $0.000153000.10
                State Tax $8.67

                Total: $132.57
                Our total bill for last month was 217, but our little bungalow is tiny! Our government has frozen (capped) the price of electricity until next April, otherwise we were expecting a huge rise, come January 23'.

                We had doubled glazed windows installed throughout in 2010, but last summer I installed doubled glazed residential doors at front and back of our little place. In addition to this I fitted 6mm acrylic panes to the windows at the Front (East facing) side. This must increase insulation efficiency to some level but the main reason was that a bin truck's tyre 'spat' projected a stone which cracked our neighbour's car windscreen and we can't afford for that to happen to any of our double glazed window panels. Still, it will help with heat retention slightly.

                In addition to the double glazing I fitted clear plastic secondary glazing inside any windows which we seat directly inside.... aior can still cool against double glazed panels which then falls away from the window and on freezing nights this is noticeable, but the plastic secondary glazi9ng stops that very efficiently.

                You may not know of such a product, but for a few ($s) you can buy a roll of glazing 'film' tofether with double-sided sticky tape and just cut film and tape it inside a window's frame. A hair dryer then warms and contracts the film until drum tight.


                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by eider View Post

                  Our total bill for last month was 217, but our little bungalow is tiny! Our government has frozen (capped) the price of electricity until next April, otherwise we were expecting a huge rise, come January 23'.

                  We had doubled glazed windows installed throughout in 2010, but last summer I installed doubled glazed residential doors at front and back of our little place. In addition to this I fitted 6mm acrylic panes to the windows at the Front (East facing) side. This must increase insulation efficiency to some level but the main reason was that a bin truck's tyre 'spat' projected a stone which cracked our neighbour's car windscreen and we can't afford for that to happen to any of our double glazed window panels. Still, it will help with heat retention slightly.

                  In addition to the double glazing I fitted clear plastic secondary glazing inside any windows which we seat directly inside.... aior can still cool against double glazed panels which then falls away from the window and on freezing nights this is noticeable, but the plastic secondary glazi9ng stops that very efficiently.

                  You may not know of such a product, but for a few ($s) you can buy a roll of glazing 'film' tofether with double-sided sticky tape and just cut film and tape it inside a window's frame. A hair dryer then warms and contracts the film until drum tight.

                  My house is fairly new (about 18 years old) and has the double-paned windows and high efficiency insulation. I was looking into solar panels at one time since I have a great roof for that, but it would cost so much that I wouldn't see a benefit for another 10 or 15 years. At least at the energy prices a few years ago. If they keep going up, I might have to revisit it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sparko View Post

                    My house is fairly new (about 18 years old) and has the double-paned windows and high efficiency insulation. I was looking into solar panels at one time since I have a great roof for that, but it would cost so much that I wouldn't see a benefit for another 10 or 15 years. At least at the energy prices a few years ago. If they keep going up, I might have to revisit it.
                    Many homes around here have had Solar Panels installed. My neighbour had a medium (intermediate) system installed on her South Facing roof. It cost 10,000 to install. She has about 16 large panels on the roof, the electricity generated flows in to a large voltage regulation system which then sends a 60volt charge to two 50volt 100amphour lithium batteries. The same regulator inverts their power in to a 240volt current for domestic use.

                    She asked the installation engineers lots of questions which she should have asked before deciding upon such a system (!) and they explained that if she wants to take a long luxurious shower every morning that such a system as hers will not be able to support much after that. What it can provide is free electricity for moderate use, and brilliant provision in the event of power cuts and extreme price rises. But this neighbour has lots of money that she doesn't really know what to do with, she is in her late 50's and a widow with a generous pension and lots of other funds, and she tells me that she certainly won't be worrying because she has lots of funds and remembers those days when she worried because she had none. She replaces her nice car every three years and takes long holidays, so for her the whole solar system was not a dissimilar purchase when compared with me buying, say, a jump-starter that I might never need.

                    I've learned quite a lot from her installation. They are good stand-by systems for folks (like us) who still have power delivered by overhead poles.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      When I was at a boarding school during the 62' UK freeze I learned quite a lot about keeping warm in very cold rooms. I remember that my house master used to wear his heavy dressing gown over his clothes in the evenings when he was patrolling our frozen dormitories. My wife purchased two luxurious dressing gowns for just such use and they are marvelous. I'm wearing one at this very moment in our little office and the temperature in her is a reasonable 10*C but they are comfortable in rooms at 0*C.

                      So we don't need to turn fires on in every room on frozen mornings. But I suffer from Reynaud's a condition where fingers lose circulation in temperatures under 20*C; if I could sort them out then I would be fine. The answer is to use pet heat-pads.... with 3-4 minutes of microwave heating these pads stay hot/warm for a very long time. If I go out I always take a battery hand-warmer in a pocket.

                      A very important addition is in warm insulated slippers. Warm hands and warm feet are a must in a home using little or no heating.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by eider View Post
                        When I was at a boarding school during the 62' UK freeze I learned quite a lot about keeping warm in very cold rooms. I remember that my house master used to wear his heavy dressing gown over his clothes in the evenings when he was patrolling our frozen dormitories. My wife purchased two luxurious dressing gowns for just such use and they are marvelous. I'm wearing one at this very moment in our little office and the temperature in her is a reasonable 10*C but they are comfortable in rooms at 0*C.

                        So we don't need to turn fires on in every room on frozen mornings. But I suffer from Reynaud's a condition where fingers lose circulation in temperatures under 20*C; if I could sort them out then I would be fine. The answer is to use pet heat-pads.... with 3-4 minutes of microwave heating these pads stay hot/warm for a very long time. If I go out I always take a battery hand-warmer in a pocket.

                        A very important addition is in warm insulated slippers. Warm hands and warm feet are a must in a home using little or no heating.
                        You just need to be careful of excess moisture in your house if you keep it too cold. Could cause mold or mildew.

                        I have diabetes and have cold toes all the time so I know how you feel. I wear warm socks in the house and have footwarmers in my bed.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sparko View Post

                          You just need to be careful of excess moisture in your house if you keep it too cold. Could cause mold or mildew.

                          I have diabetes and have cold toes all the time so I know how you feel. I wear warm socks in the house and have footwarmers in my bed.
                          Our one luxury is that we have two 250 watt dehumidifiers, one runs permanently in our bathroom, drying washing overnight and raising the temperature by a degree, the other one is used around the home. You are right...I found that the roof void was dripping in condensation and so ran the second 'dehum' up there for 24 hours, during which time all condensation disappeared.

                          Two summers ago we purchased a small wood burning stove, I cleared out the chimney (5 sacks of twigs, birds' nests etc) and installed a chimney balloon to seal it temporarily. I fitted a 'log fire simulator' light in the stove for effect and it just waits there for the day that we might need some heat, in the meantime it looks great.

                          I took down the 2.4 kilowatt bathroom wall heater (which was hard to clean) and installed a 1.2 kilowatt portable fan heater which works brilliantly for us....I installed a wall socket for 240volts about 20 years ago and it is off the floor, so we don't mind having it.

                          We got rid of a small oil filled electric radiator which had run permanently through winters in the center of our place and instead we purchased a 500 watt fan heater....very rare. We just run it all the time and it moves warm air more efficiently than the radiator did.

                          My wife purchased 4 very warm 'throw' blankets and these lay around in our lounge, folded and ready-use. I struggle to stay awake when under one of these....so comfortable, so when on my own I don't bother with the heater.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Power cuts!
                            Because our electricity supply is delivered overhead on wooden poles we seem to get more power cuts than other areas. Last winter in a storm a pole snapped of at the base and dropped the power cable down in a field. I reported the break and gave the pole number to the electricity board and the power was cut off within a few minutes. It took a day+ for an emergency team to repair and restore our power, and during that time a support vehicle came to the area to charge resident's phone batteries, give out hot drinks and to pay special attention to residents who use life saving equipment at home.

                            We did have stand-by paraffin and gaz-fire heating/cooking at home but we decided to prepare a little more thoroughly for any next power-cut event.

                            We purchased a 6in1 Jump-starter power pack from our local vehicle-supplies store and this has a 100watt inverter and plug suitable for powering lighting or laptops, and with usb sockets for mobile charging, etc. We also purchased three clip-on lamp sockets to use directly from this unit. It has proved to be excellent in short power cuts and has jump started a couple of neighbours' vehicles already.

                            We also purchased a larger system, a 100 amp.hr 12volt deep cycle battery to drive a 3000watt pure-sign wave inverter for the purposes of powering stuff like hairdryers or whatever else might be needed in a power cut. I have bought a 4'x2' Solar Voltaic generator panel with regulator system for recharging all this gear in any emergency but so far we have never needed to use it. After power is restored we have an intelligent battery charger for fast recharging all this.

                            All these new items, plus our two emergency gas heaters, one cooker, a few oil lamps and a supply of gaz bottles and paraffin....we feel more or less ready for any future power cuts.

                            We also have that delightful little wood burner which we've never yet used.

                            But there's bound to be something I have forgotten!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Dang it! I ended up leaving the back door open a bit last night. I wonder how much that's gonna cost me.

                              I'm always still in trouble again

                              "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                              "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                              "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                              Comment

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