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Overpaying electricity + gas

Question

Hi,

looking for some advice. Have been renting a place in tervuren for 5 years and I am paying too much on elec/gas - around 235 a month. There is no one in the house during the day and apart from a couple of computers (one with no sleep) and a tv and fridge (normal stuff). 3 floors, old house but not that big. Oh and it's above a shop.

I have called Luminus and they said to contact my provider - Iverlek - and ask them to come by to see if there is a problem but Iverlek said it would cost 500 euros if nothing was found.

Is this something an electrician could do? Check the elect/gas and my bills to see what is wrong? Iverlek didn't sound like they really wanted to help.

If yes to above, could anyone please recommend someone to check all this?

TIA

Answer
R Aug 7, 2017 18:26

start with a very simple test. shut down all the computers, fridges, tv, stand-by red lights, lamps etc, absolutely everything. Check if your meters are still running, both gas and electricity. If so, you definitely have a problem.
Do you have by chance electric heating or something that might consume much electricity?

FYI : 110 sqm in apt block, 2 people out all day like you, gas and electricity 35 EUR a month. (but we have central heating provided by the building and that is expensive)

In any case you wouldnt be the first case where you are paying for other people consumption, maybe it might be worth investing on thos 500 euro

Answer
rose waisberg Aug 7, 2017 19:33

Just a thought: if you change your provider to a well-known one- ie Octa or Engie- perhaps they could help you..they could read your electricity meter to see your real consumption and you could take it from there AND i doubt they would charge you..

Answer
Emille B. Aug 8, 2017 00:50

maybe you can buy some energymeters ( 10 euro ) , they plug in on your fridge , and other appliances , so you can check .
Also , on some websiets like engie or other , you can check how your heating , and electric consumption relates to the normal pattern.
Do you have an EPC , for your place , it gives an indication .

Answer
kasseistamper Aug 8, 2017 08:46

Your bills are always based on the meter reading so unless you can show that there is usage when you have turned everything off, you have got to risk the €500 to have the meters checked.
You could also check what the balance is between your electricity and gas bills. Mine is about one third for electric and 2 thirds for gas but I've no idea whether that is normal. My point is that it would be very odd indeed if BOTH meters were faulty.
You could also try reading the meters on a daily basis to see what that tells you. Does your usage plummet on a Sunday when the shop below is closed? Indeed, was the whole building originally a shop and home for the shop owners which was later separated into two properties. If that is the case, will Luminus/Iverlek tell you whether the shop gets a bill. (This was a situation I encountered in a previous place - we were paying for the water used by the folk downstairs.)

Answer
anon Aug 8, 2017 10:38

You can monitor electric and gas usage by ensuring that everything is turned off, ideally actually physically unplugged, when you leave the house every day. Read the meters before you leave, and when you get back.

Electric meters read kilowatt-hours (kWh). So if you have to leave the fridge on, a typical fridge is rated at something like 100-200W, so for 8 hours while you're out during the day, with nothing else plugged in apart from the fridge, you should very roughly use something between say 1kWh to 2kWh. If you're using significantly more than this, then you may have a problem.

There are other things you can also do to really significantly reduce energy consumption, such as lower the temperature of your hot water. You can easily lower it to 50C and still have perfectly good hot water.

Another thing to check is if you have a circulating pump in your hot water system. Ensure that it is on a timer, and active when you are likely to need instant hot water, such as in the morning when you get up. Otherwise you are just constantly heating water and circulating it around your hot water system for no reason.

Many people don't realize that stuff on standby like TV's or computers when they're "off", or phone chargers that are plugged in but not being used, are still consuming electricity. You can easily use 5-10 euro's of electricity a year just by leaving a few phone chargers plugged in around the house, even if you don't use them. It's only a small amount, but as they say, watch the pennies and the pounds will watch themselves.

The other thing to remember is that they are charging you for your annual usage. Although you may not be using much right now, during the winter, you may be using massively higher amounts of energy to keep your house warm. Is your house properly insulated? When was your boiler last serviced, and have you asked them to look at and explain the various timer and temperature settings?

So, to sum up, unless you have some sort of data to back up your claim, the electricity company isn't going to really listen. Read gas and electric meters every day for 2 months, and put the results in a spreadsheet, then you'll have something to talk to them about.

Answer
notnormal Aug 8, 2017 13:45

Thanks a lot for all these comments, very helpful. I know what I have to do now. I will update it later on.
Interesting point about the:

'was the whole building originally a shop and home for the shop owners which was later separated into two properties.'

The shop owners are the landlords for the house I rent as well and it's the same building. But I wrote to my landlord about high usage and he said it was perfectly normal and about the same as his at his place, which I believed..

Will have to do the checks, no other way.

Think others will find your posts useful in future as well. Thanks again.

Answer
kasseistamper Aug 9, 2017 12:15

Another though which might answer your question very simply.
If you have a mains power switch next to your electric meter, turn it off when you know that the shop downstairs is using power - lights and so on.
If it shuts off power to the shop you know that you are paying for their usage; if it doesn't, you have lost nothing.

Answer
xynitta Aug 22, 2017 14:46

I used to pay a lot for electricity, finally we discovered that the neighbors (flat above us) were using ours as well.

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