How can I use more cheap rate electricity?

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Annpan
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How can I use more cheap rate electricity?

Post: #133007 Annpan
Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:11 am

..... and use less peak rate electricity?


I have just taken my leccy readings as part of the electricity usage club

I have used 79 peak rate units and only 16 cheap rate units....

I have tried before (on several occasions) to get Scottish power to put us on a regular meter, but they refuse.... so how can I use more of my units at night?

I am in the house all day, I do all my cooking in a freezing cold kitchen (literally, last year I scraped ice off of the inside of the windows on several occasions) So I usually have the heater on while I am in there.
We have a superduper wood burner which keeps the livingroom toastie but because of the shape and poor insulation in the house (along with the excessive damp) if we open the doors the heat doesn't reach the furthest parts of the house.
We have no hot running water - so the kettle gets overfilled and I store the excess in flasks and use it for cleaning.
We have a de-humidifier, which is on all the time.
We have a storage heater in the livingroom and the bedrooms but the heater in the kitchen and the hall are plug in ones.
I have a toddler and I can't just stop heating chunks of the house (lived like that last year and was miserable as hell... but a lot colder)

We plan to start building work in the summer, so any long term plans would be pointless... the kitchen and bathroom will be knocked down and replaced, we will also be putting in solar hot water and insulating till it hurts.

So tell me how I can do better? Doesn't help that OH forgot to switch on the breadmaker last night and I am having to use it during the day.




While we are at it.... I don't know when our cheap rate is, and no-one will tell us.... is there a way to find out from our meter?
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Re: How can I use more cheap rate electricity?

Post: #133011 kiwirach
Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:30 am

not sure if i can be much help......

can you buy night store heaters over here?. in nz we have night stores that charge up at night on the cheap rate and discharge their heat during the day without taking on more electricity(thats my understanding anyway).....think they have ceramic tiles in them that get heated.

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Re: How can I use more cheap rate electricity?

Post: #133014 Annpan
Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:58 am

Yes, that is what we have in the bedrooms, and one in the livingroom - they are pretty old and crappy though. If you have them turned up, the heat runs out before evening, You can't turn them up just for the evening as they need to be on the setting for a day or so before it kicks in.
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Re: How can I use more cheap rate electricity?

Post: #133016 Odsox
Mon Dec 01, 2008 10:09 am

We have 3 storage radiators, but the best one is the tiny one in the bathroom, keeps it nice and warm all day.
The other thing we do is run the washing machine at night ... we used to have it on a plug-in time switch, but our new one can't do that, so my OH starts it up in the wee small hours when she has to have a wee in the small hours.
We also have a dehumidifier on a time switch and the immersion heater of course. Later on, from January onwards we will have some form of night heating in the conservatory to raise plants
Make porridge in a slow cooker overnight, get an electric blanket, stay up all night and sleep all day .......
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Re: How can I use more cheap rate electricity?

Post: #133020 Annpan
Mon Dec 01, 2008 10:35 am

Yes, I think I need to get a timer for the dehumidifier. I
am also going to have a chat with OH about making sure he switches things on before going to bed, and I'll try harder to get everything organised during the day so they just need switched on (filling a bread machine at 1am is not advisable)
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Re: How can I use more cheap rate electricity?

Post: #133538 Big Al
Fri Dec 05, 2008 10:14 pm

Annpan wrote:Yes, I think I need to get a timer for the dehumidifier. I
am also going to have a chat with OH about making sure he switches things on before going to bed, and I'll try harder to get everything organised during the day so they just need switched on (filling a bread machine at 1am is not advisable)


It's been said allready to do the washing and clothes drying at night. Do you have tostop in the kitchen when you are cooking ? Is there room to put a table in the wood burning room and do the preperation of veg etc there then transfer to the kitchen to do the cooking ? That would cut down on the heater.

would you be able to buy one of those kitchen water boilers and put that on overnight for hot water during the day ??

Also about the meter, if you are not in debt to Scotish electric then can you transfer to another supplier and get them to change the meter?

Is anyone on benefits or oap in the house?? If so have a look at eon for their staywarm tariff.

You could always ring up your supplier and as soon as they answer the phone ask to be put through to the customer retention department. Then politly tell them that you have the duel meters and would like to swap to a standard credit meter. Say that you are very happy with Scottish power but you really need the meters changing and If they cannot change the meters then ask how you can complain to ofgem.

The last thing they want is a letter from Ofgem. Ofgem is often said to have no teeth but as an industry insider the power companies are fearful of ofgem as they only have 7 days to deal with a customers complaint or they get fined auotomatically.

Of course you can complain direct but it will get knocked back if you don't approach the company first.

HTH

Alan

P.S. you could also use the formula I posted in the electric club to really scare yourself or your OH....
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Re: How can I use more cheap rate electricity?

Post: #133540 Rosendula
Fri Dec 05, 2008 10:59 pm

Annpan,
I might be mixing you up with someone else: was it you who said that when it comes to cooking you like to make big pots of things like chilli? Could you make up a big pot, part cook it on a night, and then while it's still hot put it in something like a hay-box until morning? (I don't have a hay-box - I wrap my big pot in lots of towels, stuff it all in a big black bowl, put another big black bowl on top and dump it in the airing cupboard with a load more towels on top). I haven't tried doing this overnight, so I don't know if it would work, but it might be worth experimenting along these lines.
Rosey xx

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Re: How can I use more cheap rate electricity?

Post: #133548 Clara
Sat Dec 06, 2008 8:51 am

Does your superduper woodburner have a flat top? Can you cook on that? When mine doesn't have something cooking on top I always have a large pan that holds enough water for washing the pots - gets warm enough in spookiliy quick time!

OOH and I just saw a thread on the RC forum about baking bread on an open fire, so I reckon that's possible in a woodburner too - I'll let you know how I get on.

I think the problem you have is that turning electricity into heat of any kind is the biggest energy guzzler, so the more ways you can find around doing that during the day the better, but I'm not au fait with any of the heating things you mentioned so I can't help really with that - sorry. And of course it is during the day that you need heating.
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Re: How can I use more cheap rate electricity?

Post: #133609 Annpan
Sat Dec 06, 2008 9:13 pm

Oh yes... I do some of the cooking on the wood burner, and there is a kettle too, I decant that into my flasks for hot water for cleaning, AND I have a big pot for heating water for washing dishes/pots with (it is a big stove) I do also have a haybox cooker (made out of insulation, in a storage box) but I tend to use it more in the summer, when the stove isn't lit.

The problem is I can't cook pasta or fry an onion on my stove, or any of the things you would stand over, it doesn't get hot enough, hence having to be in the kitchen a certain amount it works great for slow cooking though....I'll plan lots of soups and stews I think.

Yes Clara as you say, my biggest problem is heating - it is the shape of the house and lack of insulation - as I say, major re-furbishment to start in the summer.
I guess I might just have to concentrate on the smaller things, and ensure I design the best extension I can (passive solar, insulation, etc, etc) I hope, in a few years we will only be using half that amount of leccy.
Ann Pan

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Re: How can I use more cheap rate electricity?

Post: #133639 Clara
Sun Dec 07, 2008 1:23 pm

Well if you're still designing might I suggest you try to have one big main living area. For heating we have one woodburner, it doesn't have a backboiler, so we have a very warm living space that incorporates lounge, dining room and kitchen. Even in this space I find that in the nooks and crannies the temperature difference is quite noticeable even with the woodburner going full pelt. Our bedrooms and bathroom are unheated, but that doesn't matter because you're either in a warm bath or under a thick duvet (having a cuddle if needs be :wink: ). IME heat just doesn't travel well so if you need to use several rooms then it might be best trying to open them up to each other as much as poss.

The village houses here are like rabbit warrens, wonderfully quirky but always freezing in the winter.
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Re: How can I use more cheap rate electricity?

Post: #133646 Graye
Sun Dec 07, 2008 4:03 pm

Here in France (well certainly this part), electricity is relatively cheap, although we have a fixed standing charge which is a bit of a nuisance. Electricity used at night is around half price so I have a campaign going to use as much as I can then! Unfortunately I'm convinced the electricity people reduce our power at night so that if we are not careful the whole lot trips out. So.... not to be beaten we now have three timers all set for different time slots. One for the washer, one for the tumbler and one for the breadmaker. Seems to work a treat!

A sytem we discovered in this house after we moved in was ducted hot air - we had no idea and I think the people we bought from hadn't found it either! I would imagine it could be copied easily enough. The actual fumes from the woodburner go up the chimney but then there is a big void in front of the chimney behind the actual chimney breast. This is obviously going to get very hot and the hot air goes firstly through a decorative grille in the chimney breast into the living room and secondly, via silver concertina tubing into the loft. These tubes then fit to little outlets into the various rooms in the house and the hot air decants into them. I thought it would not be efficient (Oh is convinced the hot air is mostly up on the ceilings) but it does seem to keep the rest of the house really quite bearable even when it's really chilly outside.

Is your loft well-insulated? Ours back in the UK (it's an 18th century cottage) had no access to the loft space and when we had a new roof fitted the builder told us there was no insulation up there of any description. He stuffed it full of insulation and the place is so hot (the only heating being a gas fire inthe living room) that we have never got beyond a summer duvet since it was done, whereas we shivered in the upstairs rooms previously.

Is there any way of squeezing a small wood burner into your kitchen against an outside wall? You could have one with an outlet high up in the wall so that you have a long length of heat-giving pipework. We had one in our dining room in Spain (notorious for chilly houses in winter) and it was toasty. We seemed to have an endless procession of Spanish friends arriving with little plates of snacks (they never did believe Veggies could thrive), who would then sit in front of it for a couple of hours with their feet on our "tasteless" rugs, extolling the virtues of bare marble floors etc!
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Re: How can I use more cheap rate electricity?

Post: #135061 gdb
Sun Dec 21, 2008 7:58 pm

The biggest single cost for electric is usually heating. So if at all possible avoid electric heating. Old night storage heaters are a bit poo. And I'd definitely consider replacing them with something better. If you cant afford to do that, turn them down a bit and insulate as much as possible. 25% of the heat of any wall mounted heater is lost to the wall.

Cooking with gas is cheaper and more efficient - the food is better cooked too.

On the other hand most modern devices like Fridges etc.. are cheap to run.

Savings are a funny thing too; Turn the storage heaters on a bit later and down a degree or two you might save 1p an hour. That isnt much is it? Or is it... in fact if you can save 1p an hour that's 87£ a year!
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Re: How can I use more cheap rate electricity?

Post: #135067 Marc
Sun Dec 21, 2008 8:40 pm

You should be able to tell from looking at the meter which tarif it is working on at the time. I can't be sure as there are lots of different types of meter. Look for an arrow pointing to a reading, or a little light with 2 positions or the number 1 or 2 somewhere near the readout. There maybe a button to press to change between readings/displays. If you can find an indicator then you could concievably watch or keep looking at the meter to see when it changes. My night-time used to start at 11.30pm and run till 6.30 am.
Have a look see :wink:
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