East London Energy


#104

Hi All,

There was a lot of noise around Jan bills not being sent out but direct debit amount’s taken out a few weeks ago, I just wanted to say that I also did not receive my Jan bill and had my direct debit taken out on Feb 26th. I wasn’t too concerned by this as my ELE direct debit goes out on the 26th of each month so this was expected.

I called up ELE on the 27th in the morning on 0800 520 2002 and informed them that I hadn’t received my Jan bill - they apologised for the error and emailed me right away, it took about 6 minutes of my time luckily! I would recommend that you all ring ELE and provide your Account number and request for your Jan bill email.


ELE Consumption YTD

Trawling through the various facebook threads It’s become apparent that people often blame ELE for issues that are often the responsibility of Triathlon/GLL/EVM.

I have done some more analysis on my ELE bill since I moved to EV last spring in addition to what was used by Ian, Jess and Rob at their last meeting with the ELE management.

As you can see, I had a huge spike in my consumption during my first few months and then in Dec + Jan. At first, like all of you I blamed ELE for this until I realised that from April – June my heating was actually on full blast whilst I was away at work. This took me a while to figure out because whenever I looked at my settings before and after work it always said 5 degrees, so I couldn’t understand why my flat was roasting and I had to keep the windows open at night to get any sleep. Its only after one of neighbours came round and set my heating to 5 degrees for ALL time periods did I see my bills steadily decrease until Nov – Jan.

In December I was stumped by my consumption spike, my usage habits haven’t changed at all since I moved in and I couldn’t explain it. However I later realised that a faulty valve was causing my Towel Rail to come on and it was literally on for hours during the day which lead to increased usage.

I was anxious about my Jan bill, but pleasantly surprised to see it wasn’t too far off my December one as I had actually been my heating quite a bit, especially in the evenings setting it to 22 degrees.

I am pretty sure I have got the hang of my system now, as a test I will keep the heating “off” ie at 5 degrees all of March, if my bill reverts back to the £35 – 40 mark then I can safely assume the towel rail and my deliberate use of heating were the causes of my spikes.


#105

Ok, so I have just received my Feb bill and I am a little stumped.

I expected a sharp fall in my consumption due to using little to no heating and having my towel rail turned off, which is exactly what happened, BUT my CHAC has shot up from £5.66 to £12.95, the highest its ever been in the 12 months I have lived here.

My bill would have been £43.12 if my CHAC remained the same as last month and that would have been very reasonable.

So atleast this proves that my consumption spikes were caused by:

a) incorrectly having the heating on during April - June 2014 and
b) A faulty valve causing my towel rail to come on Nov-Dec

I used the Heating considerably during Jan so that is fine. I had little to no heating in Feb and that is reflected in my bill however the CHAC is something I have no control over and that has pushed my bill higher this month.

@ian_king any thoughts mate? ie what could have caused the spike in my CHAC?


DATA NEEDED: East London Energy
#106

Hi @NiK — Could you send through your Excel document? I would like to try the same for our household. I take it your formulas would work by me replacing the information you have inputted.


#107

Sure @Lee, just emailed it to you… and you’re correct - just update the numbers and the graph will amend accordingly.


#108

@NiK Shouldn’t the CHAC just track the total consumption in your block. i.e. the more total heat used, the more heat losses, and hence the larger the total CHAC (of which you pay a fixed share)?

http://www.eastlondonenergy.co.uk/common-heat-availability-charge-or-chac/

The above article describes how the heat losses are shared between the number of apartments.

I still am somewhat surprised by your Feb CHAC (mine also increase by about £10 in Cavesson).

All I can suggest is that a lot of people switched on and turned up the heating in Feb, perhaps too much, and there was a lot of heat loss.

I hear what you say when you say, “I have no control over the CHAC”. At some level that need not be true since given enough time, residents might work together at the block level to prevent losses (if it is indeed the case we are overheating our apartments).


#109

CHAC is the total consumption in the block minus the individual consumption in all of the flats (basically the heat that is lost between entering the building and entering the system in each flat). It’s difficult to model exactly what behaviour would reduce the CHAC - the general assumption is that if people heat their homes less, less hot water is demanded and it sits in the pipes and cools (causing higher CHAC) - whereas if flats use more heat, the water is constantly flowing around and incurs less loss. However the CHAC seems to often change quite significantly from month to month and it’s difficult to know what factors are actually causing this.


#110

East London Energy meeting, Wednesday 18 March 2015

East London Energy, 1 Waterden Road, QEOP, E15 2GP

Rob Vesty and I met with ELE and @TriathlonHomes this week. Unfortunately @GetLivingLondon couldn’t attend on this occasion. Rob is in the process of writing a short statement up, which we’ll agree with ELE and Triathlon (and maybe GLL). The good news is that ELE are working on a few things. My understanding has been developing quite a bit over the months.

We can split the issues everyone is complaining about into roughly five pots:

1. The size of the bill
2. Cases of problems with installation of the kit / equipment
3. Lack of education on how to best use the heating within our homes
4. CHAC
5. District Heating across UK

Bill Size

Now, we can either compare to gas or electricity; while it is impossible to do a proper comparison we can do some rough stuff. However, to give you a few things to think over, for gas we would have a BOILER. The average life of a boiler in the UK is 11 years and if you divide the lifetime costs of a boiler (checks, maintenance, replacement, etc.) it equates to an average of around £250 a year. As we are on a heat network we do NOT have this cost, so a better comparison is to therefore subtract £250 from your annual bill, so £20.80 a month (this isn’t perfect but you get the picture - owners would pay this directly at some point, while renters would pay through their service charge I would imagine). For electricity, the unit charge is double that of the heat network, at 14p/kWh, and the kit (e.g. electric radiators) are likely to also add to that bill over time, although I am not sure how much. However, it is widely believed that electric heating is one of the most expensive ways to heat your home. So, if you account for these costs that suddenly makes the bills here not quite so bad for most (not all) people; but certainly too expensive and not the kind of ‘cost saving’ we were sold.

Kit / Equipment

The heat system we have involves different bits. The easiest way to look at it is the bit up to the flat, and the bit inside the flat. Up to the flat is ELE, inside the flat is the landlord or owner. The obvious exclusions are the Honeywell box, heat meter and the heat interface unit (HIU) which are ELE but live inside the flat. So, if you heating is off and you are getting high bills because sensors in the flat are broken, etc, this is not necessarily for ELE to fix, but for the landlord/owner. Sadly it is not clear cut, but many of the problems will be the landlord. They are working on having a much better process for this. I think Rob will point to the Triathlon complaints procedure in terms of what we believe is the best course to try and get compensation for bills WHEN it is down to a fault which has been logged and an engineer has had to fix something. PLEASE NOTE that not all faults will lead to a higher bill. So that gives the different avenues of the Energy Ombudsman (for ELE), Triathlon complaints procedure and the House Association Ombudsman (Triathlon) and presumably trading standard for GLL?

Education

For me this is a big thing. ELE, Triathlon and GLL understand this as well. It is worth noting that whacking you heating on to 21’C+ is going to lead to a high bill and that up to residents, not ELE or anyone else. Assuming your system is working properly then most people are unlikely to need their heating on above 18’C, and many will have it on at around 16’C if not lower. This is something to play around with to see what works for you. This would be the same whatever heating system you had.

CHAC

In the winter we all ‘benefit’ from any heat loss as it the heat will naturally help warm our properties a bit. Clearly in the summer this isn’t quite so ideal. The best way of trying to understand the CHAC is that when no-one has their heating on the water is standing in the pipes rather than being used in the properties. This means it just loses heat and so the CHAC goes up. When lots of people have their heating on, the water is flowing through the system and being used, so the CHAC goes down. My guess for February is that lots of us turned our heating off, or changed our heating patterns quite a lot, which meant the heat wasn’t being used and hence a high CHAC resulted. Bit odd for February to be honest.

District Heating UK

Many of us residents have been directing our frustration at ELE, but it would be fairer to direct it to the District Heating industry UK-wide. We are paying towards the infrastructure costs involved in this new technology. The heat network is here because of City Hall’s planning requirements rather than anything else. Heat networks are potentially one of the biggest opportunities in the UK right now and so it is very much in the industry’s interest to do things properly. If it’s any consolation, ELE are listening and they ARE working with us on this, and I believe, that although changes are slow (largely due to the amount of different organisations involved in the Olympic Park, legacy, etc etc) they don’t want to rip people off.

Let’s keep sharing data on this private thread:

https://yonder.e20.org/t/data-needed-east-london-energy/1466?source_topic_id=224

Please get help where you can to set your heating temperature regime efficiently.

We realise this isn’t ideal, but hopefully it does mean things will improve with time.

Rob is in the process of writing a short statement up, which we’ll agree with ELE and Triathlon Homes (and hopefully Get Living London ).


DATA NEEDED: East London Energy
#111

Interesting piece in the Standard tonight on District Heating - we are not the only ones suffering … not that it’s a consolation!


#112

Well spotted @lindyloospice

London Evening Standard
31.03.15

On the Money: Households face high costs and low satisfaction with district heating


#113

Although the Which? report didn’t quite say that, I think it says percieved high costs, which was indeed sometimes high, and sometimes not. It is very difficult to do proper comparisons though, but taking into account all costs heat networks were competitive in many cases I think. I’ll try dig out the ranges at some point.


#114

Dear all,

Many thanks for your help and input into our report, which we published just before Easter: http://www.staticwhich.co.uk/documents/pdf/turning-up-the-heat-getting-a-fair-deal-for-district-heating-users---which-report-399546.pdf

We found high levels of dissatisfaction at a number of district heating schemes across the country. Concerns ranged from poor customer service and inadequate complaints handling procedures, to a lack of transparency around bills and unfair standing charges.

We also highlighted that while a number of schemes were performing well on price, others were not. Some district heating schemes were costing consumers up to 25% more than if they had a gas boiler fitted. We’ll be calling on the next government to introduce more effective consumer protection and undertake a full review of fair pricing.

I’d encourage anyone who wants to raise any issues with district heating to respond to our blog on the subject: http://conversation.which.co.uk/energy-home/district-heating-problems-gas-electricity/ We’ll be taking comments from the blog to our future meetings with government to highlight some of the challenges facing consumers.

Regards,

Matt

Dr Matthew Aylott
Senior Energy Policy Adviser
Which? The Consumers Association


#115

Thanks for this Matt
Certainly recognise a number of comments being either from or relevant to E20

The feeling of mis selling and poor customer service ring true (just received my one month’s notice of price changes. Letter dated day before they came into force eight days ago…)

And I was definitely struck by the promises in the energy efficiency certificate for the flat compared to the bills in reality

Taking into account not paying service and replacement costs for boilers is obviously relevant and complicated, but I wonder if GLL and Triathlon have reduced rent charges accordingly since this is something landlords would normally pay for if you’re renting
Jools


#116

I received a letter yesterday, from ELE, saying they were putting their tariffs up!!


#117

@debbsp67 Are you sure? the letter I had (surely they must realise when they write ‘30 days notice’ that they’re not meant to be sending it the day before…) had an increase in monthly standing charge of 21p, but a fall in the usage tariff of ~10%, so it should result in a reduction for pretty much everyone.


#118

This is the letter that I received yesterday. I would have thought everybody received the same content.

Standing Charge increased by 0.9%
Consumption Charge decrease by 10.6%

I am interested to see what’s our CHAC this summer going to be like because last year it was mind boggling & frustrating…


#119

The letter received either yesterday or this morning is dated 31 March and is re charges that come into effect on 01 April. They may have notified the same by email on the letter date but I haven’t been able to check yet.

The standing charge has increased by 0.9%, consumption charge decreased by 10.6%.

Unit charge - per kWh of energy - previous 6.728, new 6.018, new inc VAT 6.3189
CHA charge - per kWh - previous 6.728, new 6.018, new inc VAT 6.3189
Standing charge (fixed) - previous £17.48, new £17.69, new inc VAT £18.57 per month.

Swings and roundabouts on this but your consumption charges inc CHAc have gone down per unit, fixed charges up by 21p plus VAT.

Edit - definitely didn’t receive anything from them by email about this, just checked in case they sent something out ages ago - didn’t!


#120

This is the same letter I got yesterday.


#121

Got this yesterday also. Happy to see a reduction in charges for energy use. Is a 10% drop consistent with reductions in gas prices (as 66% of our energy is from gas)?


#122

Agree with @ah00198: Ideally it would be great to understand the rational for these changes in consumption and standing charges: in essence (and at least broadly) what data these changes were based on, and how they were calculated.

There is a legal statement about the changes as ‘being in accordance with our contract’ but what I would expect as common sense for communication with customers on a subject like this is a plain english explanation for those changes.

Has anyone contacted ELE to enquire further, as they propose at the end of the letter?


#123

@Ben @ian_king Do we have available some basic facts and figures about the losses? These are the main ones I am wondering about right now:

  1. What is the ratio of total heat loss to total heat consumed? Are we talking about 0.5%, 1%, 10%, 20%? It would be good to know what level of loss we are talking about.

  2. Any guess what the ratio of the volume of water in all our Elson storage tanks to the total volume of water in communal pipes is? I am just trying to gauge how important this argument about the flow of water is (i.e the greater the volume of pipe work, the greater the potential for loss).

  3. Is there any possibility that under some circumstances ELE overproduce heat? I grant you that they ought to have ‘real time’ knowledge of our consumption patterns through their meter readings. However I seem to remember a few reports of the temperature in the tank varying a bit between 50 and up to 65C. So if there was an overproduction of heat I would expect losses to be greater.