I thought this would be a better place than Facebook for people to discussion East London Energy. As you may know, we previously wrote a letter to them, which can be found at: http://www.E20.org/ELE.
The initial response was very much a line by line answer to the points - nothing particularly new or interesting. Following this I followed up to request an in-person meeting, and was given a positive response. The first attempt got cancelled, but a new meeting is in the diary for 9am on the 1st October. Myself (Ian King), Jess Shankleman and Rob Vesty will be going as residents, and on behalf of others. ELE will be represented by their CEO, Julius Brinkworth, and their Head of Billing, Donna Crossan.
I see this as a first meeting, so very much relationship building and fact finding. Rob, Jess and I are still to agree the points of focus, but clearly they will revolve around the cost of heating and the excessive temperatures in the building.
I will also be pushing for a town hall type meeting, and for resident education on the use of both the heating system in our homes, and our flats in general. It’s important to realise that these flats are very well built, at least in terms of insulation. Not many people in East Village will have lived in such property (if any), and we need to help in using these modern buildings, which will react differently to old leaky properties. An example of this is that it is probably reasonable to expect a different profile for our heating bills. In a leaky building you would expect the winter bill to be much higher than the summer. In these building I would think that the change should be much smaller, so that the difference between summer and winter won’t be so big. I know last winter some people did not find this, but that was before people really got to grips with the heating controls in the properties. We need help with this, so we are not using lots of heat unnecessarily at any point during the year.
The Government publish data, known at NEED (National Energy Efficiency Data) annually (link at the bottom). Using the dataset known at ‘gas and electricity consumption multiple attributes’ (link below) it is possible to look at the mean and median gas uses for London purpose built flats, and houses, post-1999. The mean and median are different ways of calculating the average, with mean being the value people usually mean when they say the word average. However, the median is typically more representative of the data. This is the most comparable dataset to our properties, even if it not a perfect match. This shows, for example, a one bedroom flat has a mean of 7,800kWh of gas use, and a median of 7,000kWh. Some of this will be cooking, but I believe heating is only around 2% of gas use (ref to follow), which would mean the values change to 7,644kWh, and 6,860kWh. kWh stands for kiloWatt hour, and it is a measure of the energy we use.
For ELE we pay £0.06728 / kWh for heat. If we used the median gas use (6,860kWh) for our heat we would be paying £461.54 for our heat, plus standing charge (12 x £17.48) of £209.76, plus CHAC (guessing at 12 x £13) of £156. This would result in an annual bill of around £827.30 annually. This would compare unfavourable to a London gas average (not clear if mean or median) of £762 using the Government data set of ‘average annual domestic gas bills by home and non-supplier (QEP 2.3.1)’ (link below).
However, before you panic, the likelihood is that we should be using less energy in our wonderful highly energy efficient flats (B-rated), if we use them properly.
We must also remember that our standing charge covers the maintenance cost of the boiler, so if we assume (very roughly) this equates to £9/month, or £108/year.
If we factor these two things in we would be looking at a bill that would be lower, ON AVERAGE, than the average.
However, there is still a long way to go to get to that point. I have seen some bills for the winter which were quite unbelievable, and that scared me quite frankly. So, I think this is about education on the use of the heating and the properties, as well as better understanding the pricing of the CHAC and the standing charge - the underlying cost of each unit of heat is actually OK.
Sorry if this is a bit long, but I wanted to try and be open about my thinking.
Along with the others, I am doing this out of my own time and am happy to try and answer questions. I will also try and provide a different view point to any arguments put forward, rather than always simply agreeing.
While I am happy to take this forward, I’m very keen this doesn’t become a big long list of moans. I want this to be about being positive how we can all work together as a community and with ELE, to get a better outcome for us all - I really think this is possible.
Ian (refs below)
Gas and electricity consumption multiple attributes (same link as NEED data): https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-energy-efficiency-data-framework-need-report-summary-of-analysis-2014
Average annual domestic gas bills by home and non-supplier (QEP 2.3.1): https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/annual-domestic-energy-price-statistics