@Samuel - no idea, although they are already insulated.
I’m not the best person to ask at all but the answer from GLL was no you can’t, no you shouldn’t and it doesn’t work like that . Sorry, I can’t find the email about this to confirm exactly what he said. I do however remember that a big problem with heat in the summer is down to building insulation, hot water pipes being close together, how close you are to the lift and the obvious thing of glass and sunlight. He also said it’s something they’ll keep monitoring because all of it is new to everyone. That doesn’t mean they can do anything of course. As long as I’m not paying for it I can open windows! Winter is a different matter entirely!
A quick check on Google suggests the average hot water cylinder loses about 5 kWh per day. So the ones installed appear to perform quite favorably. I guess this benefit is negated by the considerably higher charge per kWh that East Village residents are subjected to compared to your average gas user.
Assuming the 1.65 kWh figure is correct I wasted ~£3 in May, however this represents ~28% of my usage! As for adding additional insulation, the tank is relatively cool to the touch so it seems to be well insulated, I imagine the main heat loss is through the exposed pipes into and out of the tank.
I’ve just had a feel of our tank and I’d say tepid. That makes me think cupboard pipes are the problem when if gets warm in here.
Good, this is what I’ve been doing.
Hi Ian_king thank you I will have that on mind. Thanks for replying. Best
I just received a letter from East London Energy advising that the CHAC will be the same amount each month now (based on the average from the last 12 months I assume). So we won’t be paying any more or less over 12 months but at least it will make budgeting easier each month without the CHAC jumping around.
Are people of the opinion this is a good thing?
I tend to think that the problem is the hallways and communal areas are too hot, being heated more than they need to be, hence the heat loss that gets included in the CHAC.
Received the same letter yesterday and have just received our bill. The CHAC is now £6.16 a month, which sounds about right for an average over the last year off the top of my head.
I didn’t think CHAC had anything to do with heating in the hallways, I thought it was to do with heat loss between buildings and from pipes underground going from the plant. If it was related to heating outside of your flat in shared areas we’d be screwed in Vesta with our Vortex. You need brute strength to open doors again due to air pressure.
Received topday’s bill and the estimated annual cost has gone up to £600 a year from £450 it predicted last month. I had been wondering how they thought the full annual charge for 12 months would be less than what I had paid altogether in the previous 8 months since I moved in.
Hopefully this will go down for next year if the CHAC stays on this low level and now that a draft at the balcony door has been fixed.
So, you should all have seen the letter about the change to the CHAC that ELE sent this week. This is my personal attempt to explain it.
What does this change mean?
Previously we paid the CHAC charge for any given month in that month, i.e. we paid the July CHAC with the July bill. The CHAC varied on a month by month basis.
ELE have calculated the average CHAC for each block and will now charge the CHAC at the same rate each month. Note, the CHAC will be block specific, and ELE will have used last year’s numbers to give them an idea of what to charge your block. For new blocks I would assume they have used all the data they have to provide them with a good estimate.
A worked example:
If the CHAC for your block totalled £120 for the last 12 months, going forward you would pay £10 a month. Previously you may have paid £20 in August and £0 in January (NOTE: this is a random example.)
Why has this changed?
Previously the amount we paid for CHAC each month varied and appeared to be kind if random. Lots of people complained to ELE about this randomness as they felt it made it difficult to budget. This is ELE’s attempt to listen to their costumers.
What is CHAC?
In simple terms, the CHAC is the heat loss in your building. The cost of this is then divided equally amount the properties in the building.
In more detail, the heat that goes into (and out of?) the building is measured as is the heating in each of the flats. These data points can be used to calculate the heat loss in the building. ELE pay for the first 15% of the heat loss, and residents pay the rest.
Is the CHAC fair?
To provide context, every heat network in the UK will have heat loss and their customers will pay for this. Unlike ELE this cost is hidden in the standing charges and/or the unit charge. ELE were told by the Olympic Legacy folk that they had to separate the charge in the interests of transparency, i.e. this allows us to see the inefficiencies with the whole network. However, basic physics means there will always be heat loss, although the exact amount will of course vary.
We also all pay for losses in our water and electricity bills, but again these are hidden within the bill. For water this comes from burst pipes – especially bad in the Thames Water area where many pipes go back a LONG time. For electricity this is mainly in the loss of electricity in transporting it to your home, plus a little from where people steal it.
Won’t we lose transparency on the heat losses because of this change?
ELE have agreed to continue working with EVRA and to share block data (i.e. no data in individuals!), in confidence. This means as a community we will still have a route to push them on the inefficiencies, at least for now (not being a god means I can’t promise what will happen the future!).
Is this a chance for ELE to profiteer?
I don’t think so – heat networks are a major business opportunity in the UK and it is in the interests of Cofley to help make them work. Dodgy business practices would not help this.
At least the estimate now seems to include the CHAC - previously the amount was 12x standing charge plus estimated use x the unit rate, assuming CHAC was zero. This seems a good change to make bills more understandable, but ELE really could do with getting a decent comms person to look at their letters and website FAQ, unlike @ian_king 's summary they’re rather difficult to understand.
My girlfriend and I bought our flat in Festive Mansions on 26 February, and we moved in a couple of weeks later. Before that, we lived for 7 years in an old house which was built in the 1870s, with not much insulation etc. Our average gas bill (i.e. for hot water & heating = equivalent to the ELE provision) during those 7 years was £25 per month. Now we got our first ELE bill, and although our heating is constantly on 5 degrees (=off), our average monthly costs have more than doubled.
I think it would be worth enquiring if ELE are willing to check the Honeywell Smile SDC heating and district heating controller. Ours is always operating on “automatic” and I would really like to use other operation modes e.g. when I’m on holiday. Has anybody asked ELE to do have a look at the thing?
Any comments on the Honeywell controller would be much appreciated.
@Falco - sorry for the slow reply. Read the instruction manual, you’ll see that you should not be touching the Honeywell controller. These are set to get the entire system set up as best as possible. If you play with it and break it you’ll be liable.
If you were paying just £25/month in an old building you can’t have had your heating on much, or someone must have put in a lot of insulation? The average UK gas bill is something like £600/year, so £50/month. Plus £9 of your monthly bill would’ve been for the gas network standing charge, so you had a stupidly low bill (lucky you). If you read back through this thread you’ll see you also need to account for the lifetime cost of the gas boiler, etc., to get a better comparison to the heat network.
The cost of boiler repairs is of little relevance to those of us who rent directly from GLL. It just means our bills are considerably higher than using gas.
Just for comparison, if I used the same amount of gas in kWh as the heat system during June, on EDF’s dual fuel tariff my bill would have been £14.47. On ELE it’s looking at the ~£32 range. I also suspect that a combi gas boiler would be more economical as it wouldn’t be keeping a tank of hot water at upwards of 60’c all day long! Scandalous really.
@l_yates - so your counterfactual could be wrong, in that the landlord could potential charge a higher rent if we had gas. This is an unknown, but a possibility…you’d imagine across a portfolio this big they are looking at a set profit margin per property. So if the cost of maintaining the property were higher they’d charge more. Not necessarily true but neither is your scenery. The gas network gets a £2.3 billion subsidy each year, ELE get £0. Also, gas is likely the wrong comparator. Given the number of floors it’s reasonable to guess we’d have electric to heat which is substantially more expensive per unit than gas.
Lastly, the GLL planning process meant there simply had to be a heat network here as its a new development.
I agreed it does ‘feel’ expensive and certainly it’s more than I’d like to be paying for the units of energy that I actually use, so it does need work.
But it isn’t as clean cut as you’re suggesting.
You make some good points, and I agree it isn’t as clean cut, many unknowns like you say. I’m simply comparing it to previous rented properties where i’ve had access to a gas combi boiler, therefore living in EV ‘seems’ expensive in terms of the heat element, and i’m sure many people are shocked by the cost of it, especially during the summer months.
So long as we agree that the prices are not particularly competitive!
Just in case someone else is as interested in this as I am:
About the Honeywell controller, yet again.
I contacted both Triathlon and ELE about it. ELE emailed me and wrote that they’re not responsible for it. After that, Triathlon stated the contrary. I then wrote to ELE again, informing them about Triathlon’s view. ELE replied:
“As mentioned earlier we do not provide advice on settings for the Honeywell controller, we do repair and replace Honeywell controllers if there is a fault present but as your query was regarding the setup this would not be something we can assist with. Triathlon should have provided you with operating manual and may be able to assist with the demonstration but I do not know if they still provide this service hence why I referred you to them.”
On 20 July, I contacted Triathlon again, and as I have not heard back from them yet, I sent a reminder today.
Update to follow.
@Falco - I’ve asked ELE to provide some clarity, but basically I won’t advise playing with your Honeywell box - there is no need to, and they’re set up to work across the whole system, as detailed in your info pack for the flat.
Re the latest bill
ELE seem to have missed off the direct debit discount. I have asked for a new bill but may be worth checking. 2% across the board will add up for them! Don’t know if it’s just mine or everyone’s bill they’ve missed it on