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My gas bills have become outrageous. We have a 3 bedroom semi and it's just two adults, a small child and a baby living here. We get our gas from British Gas.

 

On the 6th of Feb this year we got a quarterly bill for £682.56. On the 11th of May they estimated another £540.28. I checked the meter today (26th of May) and their estimate for 11th May was high, but now two weeks later it is pretty close.

 

Our usage is (in Kwh): Jul - Sep1352.28 [2012]Oct - Dec9651.26 [2012]Jan - Mar13994.18 [2013]Apr - Jun4642.55 [2013]

As we pay £100 per month direct debit for gas we are now £1200 in debit to them - we are struggling to find a way to afford more. Isn't this a ridiculous monthly gas cost for an ordinary 3 bed semi? We have hot water on for four hours a day and heating is also on a timer combined with a thermostat. We cook with gas but only have a mini oven as the main one has a fault with the safety device. Our friends tell us they only pay an average of £45 for gas.

 

An engineer has checked the meter flow with the boiler and says it's right. He detected no leaks through the test, the boiler is regularly serviced.

 

What are we doing wrong???

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Crikey, it certainly does seem incredibly high.

 

Will try to find someone to help.

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Have your boiler checked out. Perhaps it is staying on to long due to a fault. It should only be on for as long as it is required to heat up to a certain temperature, but if a part is not functioning properly, perhaps it is burning gas for four hours solid.

 

Something is wrong somewhere and I think you will need to a do a little bit of detective work.

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http://www.britishgas.co.uk/HelpAndAdvice/LookUp/?tate=102,Event=0000000000005361104,Key=5582,SXI=1,USETEMPLATE=Main.tem,query=I have a dispute on my bill,LBound=01

 

Question 6 has a link where you can provide them with an accurate reading.

 

I am not sure whether BG prices have gone up or not.

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BCOBS

 

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3: Banking Conduct of Business Regulations - The Hidden Rules

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Advice & opinions given by citizenb are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

 

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Hi Eddy and welcome to CAG

 

Are you on a Dual Fuel tariff with BG.

 

Have you checked to see if there's a better tariff using a price comparison site.

 

Cooking with gas is likely to make no difference to the bills - this is all about your CH and water heating costs.

 

1. How old is the boiler approx.

 

2. Is the house double glazed.

 

3. Is your loft properly insulated with at least 100 to 200mm of insulation material.

 

4. Do your rads all work well, heating quickly and with no cold arcs across the rads.

 

5. Is your hot water cylinder reasonably modern with a factory applied foam covering all over.

 

6. Is your boiler checked annually as this should ensure it's burning gas efficiently. If not, when was it last serviced or repaired.

 

:-)

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Thanks for the comments so far...

 

Spoke to British Gas today, something about 4.2 units a day average, said our bill was high (but not massively apparently) and offered us a meter accuracy check that if it found nothing wrong would cost us over £700. Our quaterly bill for Nov 2012 to Feb 2013 was for £682.56 using 14666.59 kWh of gas. That is £56.88 per week or £227 a month just for gas!! The most recent bill is for £542.94 using 11349.57 kWh of gas. That is £38.78 per week or around £170 a month. This seems exceptionally expensive for a 3 bed semi. I've checked the serial number on the meter in case it's a billing mistake but it's the right one. I can't imagine what it is that is causing such high bills! Most people pay for a month what we pay a week!

 

Q. Are you on a Dual Fuel tariff with BG.

A. We are. We are going to check for a better tariff with BG though as we were on their essentials tariff (which has now stopped) and now we are just on standard.

 

Q. Have you checked to see if there's a better tariff using a price comparison site.

A. There are cheaper tariffs but we are in so much debt to BG we can't change.

 

1. How old is the boiler approx.

The boiler is an Ideal fitted 6 years ago.

 

2. Is the house double glazed.

Yes, with only one small single glazed in the bathroom.

 

3. Is your loft properly insulated with at least 100 to 200mm of insulation material.

The loft is insulated but we have been approached by a company who will upgrade it via a grant. They are also insulating the cavity walls.

 

4. Do your rads all work well, heating quickly and with no cold arcs across the rads.

They seem to be fine, all get very hot. They were cleaned and had new valves when the boiler was fitted 6 years ago. Some sort of inhibitor was used as well.

 

5. Is your hot water cylinder reasonably modern with a factory applied foam covering all over.

I don't know how old it is but it does have foam cladding all around it.

 

6. Is your boiler checked annually as this should ensure it's burning gas efficiently. If not, when was it last serviced or repaired.

 

British Gas service it annually. I dunno what the engineer did last service but it seems to get the water much hotter despite the settings being the same.

 

What to do??

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How hot is the water? turning the thermostat down so it is 50-60 will save you a fortune. Likewise check how long the hot water is on for, a short period will normally do otherwise it will be constantly reheating. Also, theck the hot water tank thermostart is in good contact with the tank otherwise it will be miles off its setting

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Hi Eddie,

 

If you are on a Dual Fuel tariff but it's reverted to their standard version, I am sure you could get a better deal even if you remain with BG.

 

Your answers about the boiler, rads and insulation don't suggest any obvious problems although the increased loft insulation and wall insulation will improve the thermal efficiency of your home.

 

Ericsbrother's suggestions are good, about ensuring the thermostat is set at 50 to 60C and checking it is tight against the metal body of the cylinder. I would even say take the stat down to 55C.

 

Do you have a room stat for the CHS. Check it is set at a temp that's as low as you can be comfortable with, given your family circumstances.

 

:-)

We could do with some help from you

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Assume you've checked the meter type (metric or imperial)?

 

The bills you mention do seem a tad high, I baulked at mine in April at over 600 quid but it's 6 beds and I can't remember switching the heating off for a good few months.

 

There's a few consumption calculators on the web, no idea how accurate they may be, but it may be useful to take readings whilst operating the boiler etc individually and compare against expected consumption rates.

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Checked boiler stat, it was at 65 and i've dropped it down to 55. I'm not sure where to go from here. I'm going to take daily readings from the meter and keep a diary of what I use during the day. I've turned the heating off entirely and set the hot water for just two hours a day. If the sun appears for a decent amount of time it won't be quite as chilly in the house. We can hit the 1 hour override button if necessary and make a note of it. We've applied for a Charis Grant, this might help. We will look at BG tariffs as well. But to me there is something fundamental wrong to use so much gas in this very ordinary house.

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