@matthew_aylott do you know how the East London Energy scheme did on price? Or are you unable to give specifics?
@Samuel - these are difficult questions to answer in a quick manner. Always happy to meet to discuss. I think what needs to be separated is people who have high bills due to a system fault, e.g. the landlord not having set up the system properly, and the bills for those properties where the system is properly set up.
The discussion around system set up is one thing.
But taking properties where the system is set up properly, then we’d need to delve into what the actual cost is compared to gas, as it would seem your questions arise from the feeling the bills are too high. A good starting point is the consider the cost of a boiler, when considering lifetime costs, if £250 a year, and the standing charge is £108 a year, so being on gas costs £358 a year before you start, IF AND ONLY IF you consider whole system and whole lifetime costs. If you don’t do this you simply cannot compare, and even when doing this the comparison is difficult as the Which? report acknowledges.
Anyway, on your points, I totally agree on the letter. My first thought on reading it was ‘wow, they really need a comms person’…this has been obvious for a while. The legalistic language does them no favours, but I would assume it is legalistic as we have a signed contract in place. The equation they refer appears to be in the contract between them and a supervisory board, who I assume is LLDC. From a conversation in the past I think this is large part connected to a gas price measure, although I do not know which one - there are a number of different gas indexes, and it will almost certainly be the gas price on one index on a particular day of the year. The gas market is hugely complicated, you can buy at most points from three years ahead. It may well be the ELE will bulk buy on the one year ahead gas market. I have no insight to their biomass contracts, but they said the price was done on gas.
For the heat loss, again complicated. It would be good to understand more on your line of questioning, as I am not sure where you are going with the questions.
There was a request by @nigelgodfrey a year or so ago to the previous supervisory body, the Olympic Delivery Authority, which revealed that the standing charge change is based on the BEAMA Labour and Materials price indices, and the consumption charge is based on the ICIS Heren wholesale gas price index amended by RPIX (although at the time it was undergoing some sort of renegotiation). Not that this information is particularly useful in itself, but the consumption prices should vary in line with wholesale prices. I would imagine that a large part of the standing charge is repaying GDF Suez’s initial investment in the plant and heat network, so is unlikely to change in the short term.
It would be interesting to know how the efficiency the system is achieving compares to what it was designed to do, but I’m not sure how freely they would share such information.
@ian_king I am just trying to understand the physics of the loss at the moment, since I reckon if there is some way the community can reduce the loss, then it would be good to have an understanding of that. I hope you can bear with me while I get my head around this new tech. I’ll do some Googling about the physics!
There is probably some way the loss term could be derived using ‘dimensional’ analysis - a technique from physics. I’ll give it some thought later.
Just to show you where I’m coming from, here is some data I’ve been taking once or twice a week since January using an app called Meters (highly recommended app for measuring meters and predicting bills!). What you see is my daily heat usage in kWh:
My best recollection of my use of the thermostat is the following:
What you see is my thermostat on a constant 13C up to January - little or no heating except for running hot water usage. Then I switched the heating onto the daily cycle presets to warm the apartment. Then in February my apartment was a little cooler than I wanted, so I decided to give the apartment a continuous heat with thermostat somewhere in the low 20s over a weekend. But then when I took a reading I thought “Oops, I’m soaking up way too much kWh!” - this is the spike you see in Feb - and moved the system back to a cycle, before moving it back to constant 13C in March, finding the temp to be too hot.
This is partly why I have a speculation that there may have been other similarly inexperienced users of the heating system who did something similar to me.
Perhaps the total consumption was higher that predicted by ELE in early Feb, but then there was an overproduction of heat as people like me figured out how to use the system. I may be completely barking up the wrong tree though. Did ELE mention anything about overproduction of heat in their meeting? I am basically assuming that they must surely have a prediction of the heat they need to generate each month or even week of the year.
Would definitely recommend new people in apartments to take measurements of the heat usage, since it is an early warning sign of over consumption.
@Samuel - I can’t answer this on a forum as it’s quite a complex subject in and of itself and would take me ages and we’d be going back and forth for ages on it. Easier to meet and chat.
Remember the system sort of have three bits, the primary system which ELE probably were responsible for, the secondary system which is the pipework within the blocks which the builder put in (they have looked at how efficient this is or isn’t) and the third system within the flats, again, which the builder put in. So, it’s quite complex even at that basic level.
Companies shared information with us on the basis that it remained anonymous, but as you’ve been kind enough to share data with us directly and publically I see no reason not to give specifics. I’ll check with our legal team and get back to you.
I got that letter too - similarly confused but giving one hand, but taking from the other … I don’t think I will ever understand this system or how to get the most economical use of the heating, water and towel rail! Rather just have it all turned off ;-(
I know what you mean @lindyloospice
Throughout my stay here, my bill ranges from £32.00 - £40.00 & that’s for 2 bedroom, 1 person living. No heating was used for the past 2 winter. However I did test out the system for a few days to see if the heating works in all parts of the flat & that’s when the bill hit almost £40. To me paying these amount does sound a lot for just hot water per month but there’s nothing else that I can do. I do feel cheated by Triathlon…
@Yasmin @lindyloospice - I would first say the ‘system’ within the home isn’t that different to any other heating system, in so much as it is about trial and error on the users part (assuming the system has been set up properly in the first place). The most economical use it a challenge with any system. I’d suggest a rule of thumb in these buildings is that you’d want your heating off most of the year, and when you do have it on you want the temperature set at around 16 to 18’C.
Yasmin - for the bills, if you had gas and considered the cost of boiler maintenance and replacement (the replacement is every 11 years on average) then the cost would be £250 before any gas. You could then add £108 gas standing charge, so that would be £358 a year before you use any gas. If sounds like you’re currently paying around £400 a year, so not that much worse off. Additionally as you are top floor you are getting all the heat that rises, which is why you don’t need any heating in the winter, although I realise that in the winter this isn’t so great. So basically, you’re probably paying around the same with ELE as you would have with gas, it’s just instead of paying for a boiler replacement once every 11 years that cost is effectively averaged over time.
Thanks @Yasmin & @ian_king - I think I need to make some time to try and analyse this a bit more to make sure I can reduce my costs a bit next year. I find it hard to believe that this wonderful 1-bed apartment can cost MORE than my 100-yr-old 2-bed GF place with rubbish radiators! Need to find time …
Hi @lindyloospice - it probably isn’t. How much have you been paying, and what heating settings have you been using?
At the meeting Ian King and I attended with ELE and Triathlon last month we agreed to put out a joint communique. It got delayed, perhaps by Easter, but also by slow response times, so apologies. Here it is in any case:
We, Ian King, Robert Vesty (on behalf of EVRA), Bernadette O’Shea (Triathlon), Julius Brinkworth, & Donna Crossan (ELE) met on Wednesday 18th March 2015 in a session independently chaired by Charlotte Johnson (Research Associate at UCL). This was the first time that EVRA had met with both ELE and Triathlon – GLL were unable to send a representative due to a staff meeting. The meeting was fruitful insofar as some joint understanding of the ongoing problems in East Village were arrived at in respect of the heating supply. We focussed on the very immediate issue of high and errant bills and some actions were agreed.
Triathlon to provide information on the checks they conduct pre-let and how support is given to residents in the weeks following occupancy to ensure the tertiary system (internal to the apartment/house) is working.
ELE and Triathlon to look into the feasibility of an independent audit of a sample of units in East Village to check how systems have been set-up. Reporting on this by third week in May 2015.
ELE to confirm how the towel rail is set up and connected to the system and whether this is universal across East Village.
EVRA to encourage residents to follow the dedicated complaints procedures with their landlord (Triathlon or GLL) if they want to seek compensation.
EVRA to review the draft ‘easy’ one-stop instructions (prepared by ELE with Triathlon & GLL) on how to set their heating to the most efficient settings. These instructions have been drafted, and should be released after a testing period.
ELE to review default settings.
EVRA encourages all residents who are concerned that they are using heat inefficiently, or that their systems are not set up properly to use the revised instructions (mentioned above). In cases where there is clearly an issue with the system, even if this is inside the home, residents should report in the first instance to their landlord. In certain circumstances it may be possible to consult with ELE’s technical team and they may attend the home to check the system.
EVRA will press Triathlon and ELE to provide a short turnaround for each of these actions, and hope to engage GLL in this process too. Meantime EVRA will keep East Village residents informed of any continued process. We agreed to have a follow-up meeting in the near future.
Robert Vesty, Ian King, Bernadette O’Shea, Julius Brinkworth, Donna Crossan
Is there any info on what billing date is? This seems to vary every month and I have no way to know if yet again the email hasn’t been sent/received other than to chase or wait and wonder.
I don’t know any other provider who doesn’t just have a set day, with variability for bank hols and weekends of course. Tbh, any national energy supplier would have online portals but ELE don’t offer this.
That’s fine, if billing dates are clear and consistent. As it happens I pay a fixed amount so have no fear of a shock leaving my account BUT my bill is my only straightforward way (barring hovering over the Honeywell box obsessively) to keep track of my usage and spot any worrying trends.
@Rebecca_Bell - I’m talking with them today, and this is one of the things I had planned to ask (great minds and all that)…as for the online portal, I know they are working on it…
For a while it’s been c12th of the month. 15th and nothing…(assume you haven’t had one this month?!)
As far as I can see, there seem to be no pattern or fixed date for their billing system whatsoever. I just checked my record ( not all bills are here as I was slacking initially ), apart from the invoice date all over the place, the date they email you the invoice also seem to be inconsistent. It can be send before the invoice date or out the same day or it can even be a few days after! Makes me think like they are carrying out this process manually, instead of automated…
Oh interesting - mine are often received completely different days to yours - must just be fluke that for months I’ve had on 12th or 13th mostly!
(When I first moved in, was like yours and received early in the month, now it’s slipping later and later so any change to settings, you don’t potentially see the impact on your bill until up to 1.5 months later I don’t think…)
Hi @ian_king - I will DM you at the weekend - I don’t really want to put too much personal information in this domain!
Speak of the devil, the bill just arrived. After having engineers out in mid Jan I’m finally seeing the benefit from having the valves actually turned on (bedrooms were freezing and we’d increase temp and get nowhere) - now March consumption is less than a third of January’s