View Full Version : Lecky bills

22nd Apr 2004, 06:41
Whirlygig moved into a new house about 6 months ago and has just received an astronomical lecky bill.

Could any JB'ers out there please give me an idea of how many units of electricity various appliances would use per hour? Typically, convector heaters, washing machine, fridge/freezer, immersion heater. Apparently, I have used 11,434 units in 6 months and was wondering whether that is usual for the type of heating installed in a two bed cottage. Or am I possibly paying for the whole street?



22nd Apr 2004, 07:38
Ms Whirlybird has a very useful card in her house which gives the usage of various appliances.
You haven't got a mains-operated vibrator have you? :confused:

22nd Apr 2004, 07:43
You appear to be using 2.6kw 24 hours a day, this does seam a bit high.
Do you have the immersion heater permantley on? That uses 3kw and would send the bills sky high. Perhaps a timer fitted to it would solve the problem.
The washing machine will be around 3kw for part of its cycle as well, are you taking in laundry?
The fridge freezer is a lot lower (cant remember how much) but if for some reason its constantly running (damaged seal) it will mount up. You can get a device called something like a saverplug that reduces fridge/freezer consumption.

22nd Apr 2004, 07:52
Sounds like you need to call the leccy company rather quickly.


22nd Apr 2004, 07:56
There aren't cables going through the wall to the neighbours are there?
Or do the street lights come on whenever you switch the cooker on?

22nd Apr 2004, 07:58
There is a calculator here (http://www.ukpower.com/running-costs-elec.asp) . This is for UK domestic use, with some typical appliance values programmed in. Strangely the mains operated vibe is not on the list?? :p


The Doc

22nd Apr 2004, 08:08
Despite sounding complicated it is relatively easy to work out.

1 unit of electricity is 1 kilowatt (1000 watts) burned for 1 hour.

E.g. a 100W lamp on for 10 hours is the same as a 1000W iron on for 1 hour.

The big users are electrical heaters, which generally range from 1 - 3 KW; Immersion heaters, 3KW; Irons, 1 - 2KW. Fridges, TVs and other appliances are down in the 200 - 300W range but for anybody that interested there is nearly alway a rating plate on an appliance giving the relevant numbers.

If only AMPS and VOLTS are shown on a rating plate multiplying VOLTS x AMPS = WATTS.

Hope that is useful.

22nd Apr 2004, 08:20

Is your house heated with Storage Heaters? Do you top it up in the winter with electric fan heaters in the winter?

A couple of weeks ago I got a Powergen Bill for £105 for the past three months or so. I noticed that the last proper reading they had taken was 14 months previous. I then read my meter and imaging my surprise when my night rate reading was 70000Units and the estimate was 54000. My day rate reading was 41000 and the estimate was 34000.

I called the company and I can now see via the Powergen web site that my next bill will be £684.31.

I sat down and worked out what I needed to be using for that to be true and it worked out to an unbelievable amount of Electricity. I then sat down and checked all the power ratings of all the electrical items in the house. Tempsford does not have mains Gas. My figures suddenly became a whole lot more believable!

Still haven't got the bill through but I am saving hard!


22nd Apr 2004, 08:24

You did get the electric count zeroed for when you moved in?? Sure you've not been billed for previous occupants last six months too??

One check to see of there is something strange..
turn off ALL the electrical appliances in the house you can think of then, with a flashlight, see if the meter disc still turns...if so recheck everything or isolate areas using circuit breakers to see where the drain is. you may find a single item is drawing way more current tnah it should. e.g. freezer working overtime etc...

And thanks for the reminder, one must pay one's bill tomorrow :=

22nd Apr 2004, 08:30
Electric heating of your whole house will far outweigh all other uses of electricity in winter.
An immersion heater will switch off anyway without a time switch when the tank reaches temperature. Otherwise your tank will be boiling exactly like your kettle!
A measurement with my multimeter on all the devices on standby in my house eg tv, digibox, pc and peripherals plus the never disconnected charger for my mobile reveal a hidden electricity charge of about sixty pounds a year.

22nd Apr 2004, 08:44
First off, get the reading you took from the meter when you moved in (you did read the meter didn't you?) then deduct that from your current reading - this will ensure that you are being charged for the correct amount of leccy.

Secondly, as M Mouse has already pointed out the big users of leccy are the immersion heater & convection heaters - between 1 & 3 Kilowatts per hour EACH!!

Assuming the cottage is pre 1970, it probably won't have very much insulation in the walls or ceiling & any heat that you produce with the heaters is probably going straight out through the walls etc.

If you are planning to stay for a while, you could try dry lining the walls or even just laying some high density insulation board between the ceiling joists (not expensive) & either get your landlord to install storage heaters (that use the cheaper night leccy rate) or get a gas fire plumbed in. The best solution would be to get a proper heating system installed but this will cost a lot.

Best of luck.


22nd Apr 2004, 10:38
Thanks for your help everyone.

Part of the problem was that I moved into a rented cottage that was newly renovated by Bodgit & Scarper. So there is no previous tenant and it has taken me a few weeks for Lecky Board to even recognise the property since it had been previously derelict; meanwhile meter whizzing away!!

They installed the most expensive form of heating imaginable and I don't have it on upstairs as I can't stand stuffy bedrooms(therefore only upstairs power consumption is mains op vibo and bedside light!!).

Better get my calculator out!



22nd Apr 2004, 10:55
I heard of 'elecrtical leaks' but not sure how it would effect your bill.

An 'electric leek' is something entirely different!;)

22nd Apr 2004, 11:46
An 'electric leek' is something entirely different

Could be a novelty version of wot Aerbabe was on about?

22nd Apr 2004, 18:10
Sounds like you need to invest in a diesel genny!:ok:

22nd Apr 2004, 21:11
Not into recreational bauxite-smelting are you?

22nd Apr 2004, 21:13
Or influenced by the new techno-speak about hydrogen, and running a backyard electrolyser either ?

don't you think that the end of this sentence sounds awful ?

22nd Apr 2004, 21:47
A paltry six months without a bill, pah.
For some unknown reason, we slipped through the cracks of Powergens billing system when we moved. We thought we were paying our leccy bill from the joint account, but it turned out that we were not. Fast forward SIX YEARS. A bill for £1350.
They did let us pay it off in installments though.:ok:

22nd Apr 2004, 22:53
OK, now Whirlygig turned EVERYTHING off in the house, took a note of the meter reading (12249 - for my records!) and went orf darn the pub for a couple of hours. Didn't change, so doesn't look like there's an extraneous drain on my power resource.

So, could my mistake have been that I believed it was cheaper in the long run to keep the immersion heater switched on all the time - thermostat not high? It is rated 3kW but does it use all this power if on all the time? or only when it is heating the water to the correct temperature.

Would anyone have any idea of the average involved in this case as this seems to be the only thing that could be causing such a high bill. The convector heaters ain't cheap but everything else is negligible - I don't cook much ('cos I can't!) and only need to use the washing machine once a week. I am a stranger to the ironing board and was brought up to be anally retentive about leaving lights switched if they are not being used. Neighbours bills seem to be panning out at about £50 per month which is less than half mine.



Six years lecky for £1,350 sounds like a bargain to me - wanna swap?

23rd Apr 2004, 07:49
Whirlygig, My immersion heater was on a timer, the timer freaked out and kept on all the time, I did not notice, the electric bill arrived, I freaked out.

23rd Apr 2004, 08:02
The short answer is it depends!

How well is the tank is insulated? Even if it is well insulated by the usual abysmal British standards you are still going to be losing heat 24 hours a day that is being replaced by the immersion heater switching on. If poorly insulated you are using the hot water tank like a room heater!

It is impossible to be absolutely clear but if you live on your own I would suggest that a timer would be an excellent investment because otherwise you are keeping water hot for 24 hours of the day and actually needing a lot of hot water for about 30 minutes of those 24 hours.

3 units every hour that the thermostat is demanding heat can be a lot of electricity over a quarter.

You can of course choose a couple of days when you will be out all day and note the meter readings at the beginning and the end of each day with the immersion switched off when you go out on the first day and left on when you go out on the second day. Then note the amount of electricity consumed and compare. Not precise in scientific terms but might give you a pointer.

You also mention convector heaters, they are not cheap to run and are a comparitively inefficient means of heating by electricity.

23rd Apr 2004, 08:40
Best way to cut down on lecky bill is to use candles will provide you with light and heat at a reduced cost. Also when not lit (unless you are adventuous) you can use as sexual aid no need for mains or battery operated equipment :D

23rd Apr 2004, 11:09
They also have the advantage, as a friend of mine found out, that after a romantic candlelit dinner for two, while he and his beloved were upstairs, they set the house on fire.

Splendid, no house so no electricity bills.

Problem solved.

23rd Apr 2004, 16:05
See my point M.Mouse should have taken the candles with them :eek: :)

But at least the earth moved for them :ok:

23rd Apr 2004, 18:37
I believed it was cheaper in the long run to keep the immersion heater switched on all the time - thermostat not high?Are you aware that the immersion heater stat is actually inside the immersion heater cover? You undo a small screw holding the cover, and there'll be a small indicator with a turnable pointer. Mine goes 40º to 80º, and is set at 60º. There could be one strapped to the side of the cylinder, but that is usually to do with a central heating boiler.

You can get a hot water cylinder with a foam-sprayed jacket already on it, which is excellent for insulation.

A friend of mine moved into a house where the previous occupant had been fiddling the meter with some sort of magnetic coil. Unfortunately when removed, the meter went crazy, clocking up huge bills. You can get the meter checked for this sort of problem.

23rd Apr 2004, 19:52
Wash in cold water.
Wear a jumper.
Buy a clockwork vibrator.
And some candles.

And SOD the electricity company

23rd Apr 2004, 19:56
Candles can also set fire to the cat. This happened to our unfortunate feline, and I nearly died laughing.

Money saving measures:

When cold, warm oneself by a candle

When REALLY cold, warm oneself by a lighted candle.

23rd Apr 2004, 23:42

Make sure you're on the correct tariff. I moved into a brand new house a year ago and the bills were much higher than I'd ever experienced. Turns out that most house builders opt for the "no standing charge" tariff - in other words, they pay no standing charge (per quarter, or whatever), but a higher rate per unit of electricity used because they use relatively few units during the construction of the house. For the longer-term occupier, this tariff is ridiculously expensive.

Compass Call
24th Apr 2004, 00:57

You must be living in the past! Leccy meters with a spinning disc went out with the Ark;) All modern leccy meters have two flashing red lights, one for peak rate and one for cheap rate. The faster they flash, the more power you are useing:{ If they stay on rather than flash, I would suggest that you re-mortgage your house to pay the up and coming bill :E


24th Apr 2004, 11:49
Don't forget that your supplier has an obligation to help you use electricity wisely and economically, so you can ask them for assistance. And, Compass Call, you have to live in the age inflicted on you. My meter has a spinning disk and it was only recently put in as a replacement.

Interestingly, quick calculations using Ohm's Law throws up points like a PC Monitor equates to 10 light-bulbs being on. Food for thought, as you can easily set the monitor to power-down after say 10 mins of no PC activity. For a typical PC, around two thirds of the energy used is used by the monitor. Looking at power requirements, just leaving a computer monitor on overnight (for one night) wastes enough energy to laser print 800 A4 pages.

I found this useful (University of Oxford) website (http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/survey/environment/energyandw.shtml) quite easily. It's loaded with hints and tips on savings to be made.

24th Apr 2004, 14:41
throws up points like a PC Monitor equates to 10 light-bulbs being on

Are you sure?

My monitor (19" CRT) uses 1.6A at 240V that is 384W or around 1 unit every three hours.

If your calculations are correct you may have stumbled on the answer - use your PC monitor to heat the room!

24th Apr 2004, 15:29
If you're at 1.6A that is 384watts as you say. That’s 9.6 40w bulbs, or 6.4 60w bulbs.

I have a 21” monitor, and it does heat the room (small room, big monitor). When I finally change to a TFT I'll probably have to upgrade the central heating in here. Interestingly, a cool-running 15” TFT we have is rated at 2.6A. I would have thought that less heat = less power, not more.

Checking all the monitors we have around the house, they vary from 1.4A to 2.6A. I suppose it depends whether those plated ratings are nominal or typical usage. It makes you think when you walk past a college classroom at 9pm and 25 monitors are sitting there glowing away. No wonder we can’t afford our education bills!

Overall, I just wanted to make the point that something fairly innocuous can be using a lot of electricity. As you pointed out earlier, heating appliances like a kettle are heavy on power but not usually in use for extended periods of course.

24th Apr 2004, 19:11
what type of meter do you have? If its an older metal disc type its possible that there is a replacement date on it somewhere. If you can find one and its expires then get on to the elecky supplier and demand its changed. Don't take no for an answer, its their kit and their responsibility.
In the meantime it may be worth you getting an electrician to check the current flow at the intake, this may help to show up any potential problems.

Edited to say no pun intended, potential or otherwise:rolleyes: