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  1. I don't know what the extent of knowledge on here is for this sort of thing (probably deep and wide) but all opinions appreciated as always... We're properly off-grid as far as electricity goes. The quote for connection was well over £20k eight years ago, the nearest juice-poles are half a mile away and coming off the back of a few years living off all of the grids on a sailing boat it made sense for us to remain un-connected - we were familiar with the demands and had got used to a low-consumption boat-based existence. Our current P.V. array is only 1kW but together with a small wind turbine it easily keeps up with our demands living in a caravan. Once we're in the house the array will increase to 4kW and I don't anticipate problems with juice abundance. The fly in the ointment is the battery bank. We currently have a 345ah, 48V bank of flooded, deep-cycle lead-acid batteries made by Crown. Despite regular equalisation and diligent maintenance we've had two fail in two years necessitating a eight hour round trip for a replacement in the first instance and in the second recent case the purchase of a new battery - £170. I'm contemplating replacing the bank with something more robust, reliable and if possible lower maintenance. I've thought about AGM, about lithium and about NiFe... I'm wondering if anyone has any opinions or even better - real world experience - of living with a bank?
  2. Hi! I am having real difficulty in finding local tradesman to provide utility connections for our new build project in Dunblane. We are after Electricity, Water foul and water supply and potentially telecoms. We are right beside the (quiet, normal, residential, 2-way) road where all the connections lie - electricity on the far side and water on the side closest to us. And a temporary supply to help with the build will require roughly 6m distance at the most from electricity at the far side of the road to within our plot. I have a quotation from Crown Energy for ~£11k for all connections which seems massively expensive - but Crown inform me they subcontract everything so I'm not entirely sure why I need them. I am therefore trying to find a local (ish) contractor who might be able to do this for me (the disputables) but I am having trouble sourcing one. Can anyone provide any recommendations? Thanks so much in advance!
  3. And it starts. Notice the £160 standing charge per year! A mere 80% increase. For what? And what's your letter say?
  4. Hey everyone, Our electrician has finished the work at our house but disappeared. We are looking to get it signed off ASAP. Does anyone know what we would expect to pay for that service, roughly? Had a few quotes and they're very different so just want to get a feel for what it should be... Thanks Joanna
  5. Hi All, long time lurker and learner. I'd like to pose yet another 'dropping an electricity supply into the ground' question - I've been through the threads and theres a lot of info but I'm a little stumped about my next move. Apologies in advance for this rather long post. We're in the planning stage of our self build having gained the necessary planning authority permissions and one of the issues is, we have a small equestrian property (around 3.5 acres of paddocks with stables and our annex) that will need a line dropped into the ground We divided up the property and sold off the semi detached house to fund our build so the retained land has an annex with a single SSE (LV) power supply which we would like to retain, however the line is strung directly across the building plot so will need it to be moved. The other issue is it's strung between 2 poles on our property and through our mature trees which again is not ideal as it is difficult to find reasonably priced three cutting services to maintain trees that are requiring work (SSE came out and cut back a few branches off a mature tree that has split through the centre so we have had to find a company that would work near power lines to get the tree removed even though it could be considered dangerous to the line and 1 of the poles if it was to come down). So fast forward to now, I've contacted SSE to discuss the possibility of dropping the cable into the ground but the neigh on useless fool I've been assigned has sent a quote through of £10k for the work with me doing all the trench digging. He has the audacity to start every communication with "not to worry!!" which annoys the hell out of me! He refuses to send a surveyor out at my multiple requests to discuss what I need done (his plan is not correct and I have mentioned this three times to which I get"not to worry! its only indicative, let me know if you want to accept the quote". Now why would I accept an indicative quote that could go up if when they get onsite requires additional work (the quote says its for the cable and supply switch off and connection costs). So I have asked multiple times for SSE to send a surveyor out, I've asked to see the way leave cert for the property which he will not do, how do I move forward? Another consideration is - I read on one of the threads that you can't build / dig footings within 6 metre's of a line in the ground, this is not possible on our site as we will need to run the line up the drive to the annex to the side of the proposed build and will probably be sited within around 1 metre so the question is, is this doable then? There a re a thousand other questions but I'll limit this post to save you all from 'war and piece' ? Cheers Deacs
  6. Hi, We probably have the highest electricity use of anyone on Buildhub. I am coming in at around 17000kWh per year, maybe 25% of this is for our Tesla. We generate around 3500kWh from out solar panels, he 17000 is a net number. We have a pool and the pump and dehumidifier use a to of electricity, but I wanted o get an idea if there were other things in the house using an unexpected amount. I bought a WiFi plus that monitors energy usage. They may not be that accurate, but I wanted to get an idea. I will put this into a spreadsheet once I have more data. I was pleasantly surprised to find the usage from our MVHR was very low. We have 3x Dantherm HCV/HCH5. Yesterday, I tested one of these and on the lowest speed setting, which I have them set on 90% of the time, it was only using 14W. My suspicion was that watching TV on our projection screen, which is pretty much standard practice was using a lot of electricity, so I wanted to check. The sound system uses around 100W, which is less than I expected, the projector uses 280W or 350W in HDR mode. The shocking thing is that if the screen is blank and it has gone to sleep it still uses 280W so that you don't need to wait for the bulb to warm up. I reckon that especially during lockdown it is on around 10 hours a day and often people just leave it switched on when they leave the room or don't realise it is on as the screen has gone to sleep. So watching TV is using 380W, which means it is using around 4kWh per day, or 1500kWh a year. So almost £200 a year. The one that surprised me was the Sky Q box which uses 27W whether or not it is on standby, so double what the MVHR uses. It goes into eco mode for 3 hours a night which won't really make much of a dent. So just over 200kWh a year. We have 2 network switches, 9 WiFi access points, a DSL router, a smart light controller and 4x CCTV cameras with a PVR. All these use 114W, so that is 1000kWh per year. I am trying to think which of these devices could be put on a smart plug and turned off at night. The trouble is that someone is bound to want to use something at an odd hour and complain. I need to check various Alexas, Sonos speakers, Sky Q minis etc which are all on 24 hours per day. Having looked up the specs the Alexas only use a few watts, I am suspicious of the Sky boxes but they don't have a hard drive in them like the main box so hopefully will be a lot lower. One thing I have done is programmed all the main lights in the house to switch off at 8.10 am during the school run and 10pm after bed time so that if anyone leaves lights on they don't stay on too long.
  7. This story seems to come up every so often, regarding people with electric boilers and massive electricity bills. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-7966625/The-eco-boilers-cost-5K-year-green-energy-deal-gone-wrong.html It allows the Daily Mail to pander to their older readers who believe everything new is bad. Reading this story though, I couldn't help but wonder did Falkirk Council deliberately install boilers that would be very expensive to run as I suspect installing electric boilers was a lot cheaper for them than installing gas boilers and the running costs weren't their problem. It is now exacerbated by people being locked into some very expensive electricity pricing, but anyone who knows the price of electricity versus gas knows that this would create a massive increase in heating costs. The story keeps calling them eco boilers. In no way should an electric combi be called an eco boiler, clearly people have no idea of the difference between these and ASHPs. The DM then have a further story today about banning every new home being connected to the gas grid, that ASHPs will cost £10k to fit and that they won't work in older poorly insulated houses. Assuming that gas boilers are eventually banned, then over time they can be replaced with ASHPs, however, I was thinking is this as simple as it seems? Even relatively modern houses will have heating systems designed to use 75C hot water from a gas boiler. Is the replacement of boilers as simple as it seems?
  8. Having installed my elderly parents in a nearby bungalow, we are trying to sort out the heating systems and electricity costs. It is a bit of a conundrum and maybe someone has an idea what could be causing the problem. The bungalow is heated by one night storage heater in the lounge and a rather large night storage system in a central cupboard, (left photo) through which air is blown when required into all the rooms, incudling the back of the lounge. This is controled by a thermostat in the lounge. The place also has a very large hot water tank in another cupboard which is also on the Economy 7 night time tarif. The econmy 7 stuff (tank and two NSH's) is on its own fused thing in the fuse box. Before buying the place, I asked about electricity bills and was informed that the average winter bills were about £90. Hhh. Dont think so! We were taking reading of the electrcity over the course of the first couple of months as it got colder to make sure we had an idea of costs. Here is the spreadsheet. As you can see, the costs are far higher than expected. and I havent the foggiest what happened on the21st and 22nd Nov! Why did the night reading suddenly quadruple! parents assure me that nothing changed from normal. then we had two night really low! Our idea was to turn off each unit in turn to see how that effected the readings but 'something caused a major hiccup and they certainly cannot afford to have occasional costs of £12 anight. On Sunday (yesterday)after a few evenings of relative similar readings, we turned off the heater to the hot water tank. And the evening costs did drop. On feeling the tank this morning, the bottom third was cold, middle third warmish and the top hot. So we are leaving it another night before turning it back on. They dont use much water at all as they cannot get into the bath and apart from the washing machine occasionally, they use a sinkful per day washing dishes. The heating is set quite high as Dad feels the cold and the house is certainly warm when I go in but not excessively (usually around 21oC/70oF in the lounge). They turn the thermostat up for about 10 mins in the morning then a bit more in the evening when the other nsh is probably not putting as much out. Any ideas what could have caused the sudden increase the other evening? Thats a lot of electricity to use. And are we doing the right thing to try to calculate what each unit is costing to run? I think we shall seriously be looking at replacing it all with a simple gas combi boiler in the summer. There is gas in the street and we can see many similar bungalows are it connected. And if we plan it with a future kitchen extension in mind, it will save us having to do it in a few years time.
  9. A while ago on this forum the price cap that Ofgem has introduced was discussed. I wasn’t sure what it would mean for me but I wasn’t expecting a huge increase, however today I learned that my ‘heating’ tariff is rising by 77% as a result. Ouch! Bearing in mind that in Jan 18 I was paying 6.132p and that’s increasing to 14.468p in Jan 19. So it’s more than doubled in a year! I’m paying 8.157p at present. The letter is wrong as they haven’t returned me to the tariff I should be on and the ombudsman has instructed them to return me to, but that rate ends in Dec so I suspect that I will be shoved onto this rate in January. What are people paying on a ‘normal’ tariff for electricity? Their letter says that I can switch supplier without having to change my meter but I assume that means ‘if you can find another supplier that will accept you’. Given that I have 2 meters here do I have any options other than getting the whole lot ripped out and rewired? Originally the numbers didn’t quite stack up to install an ASHP but now I’m thinking that might be more feasible. @PeterW fancy a weekend of McEwans and bacon? ?
  10. Just a quick heads up for anyone who may need to change the location/route/type of electricity supply over the next couple of months and how long this may take. My supply currently comes in via an overhead line attached to a pole very close to the new build. And it's very ugly. Therefore, I plan to get a new pole on the boundary of our property then run the line in via a trench that the groundworker will dig. I already have my quote but thought I better call Dave, my friendly local DNO installer, to see how busy they are. Good job I rang! The earliest he has available from today for this type of job is 17th October and he's getting booked up quickly. This date works out okay for me as there's lots of groundworks to be done between now and then, but it could catch you out if you are in a hurry, so always best to check as early as is feasible.
  11. Not surprisingly, I've been pondering the dilemma of the overhead electricity lines near/over my proposed garage. I'm still waiting to hear back from MBC and I suspect my request for a call has got lost in the works somewhere, so I will chase it up. In the meantime, I've decided to take another course of action in parallel as, given the choice, I would very much prefer the overhead lines not to be there, or at least not so close. The immediate thought that comes to mind is £££££. As many of us know, anything to do with moving electricity supplies tends to be expensive. This is a slightly different case to the usual one, however, in that the overhead cables don't supply me or my property so I'm not over that particular barrel. On the deeds to my property is a copy of a fairly ancient wayleave agreement, made in 1958 between the then land owner and what was the Southern Electricity Board. The key term here is "wayleave". If it were an easement, I would really be in a spot of bother, as an easement is agreement made in perpetuity, as the legal bods like to call it. To us laypeople, that means forever. So, the fact that I have a wayleave is a good start. So what's so good about a wayleave, then? Well, I can serve notice to the electricity board that I am going to terminate it and they have 3 months to do something about it or respond in some way. That's not to say that the response will be the one I want, but it gets the ball rolling. It seems that this not an uncommon request from developers and farmers and there is a well laid out process for it so I shall get things started today - no time like the present and all that. I will update as and when, but my knowledge is sparse at the moment so I shan't go into too much detail that may be a load of rubbish. Once more unto the breech! Quick update: of course, everything has been done before on BH! Here's a link to a previous thread for Lucy Murray's build in Scotland but with English cases cited from Peter Stark. Just love this place! Burying electricity supply
  12. Electricity: Well, we applied for electricity to be connected in March of this year (It is late August as I write this). Made a couple of calls to see how things were progressing, but never got any call backs. It would have been great to have an electricity supply for the a lot of the work, but in the end I had to buy a generator, which has been a godsend. So come August and we are now living on site in a caravan. I've been in for the last couple of weeks and last night my wife moved in too (we are doing the final move from the old house this week). So a couple of weeks ago we tried to ring Northern Networks new connections office - only to be told repeatedly that they were too busy and were not taking calls! So had to tell a receptionist who was fielding their calls the whole story - but still not allowed to speak to the new connections department. So over 2 days, my wife and I tried several times a day to get through since surely they must put the phone down at least once in 48 hours? Well, according to the receptionist, not. I asked if I could 1speak to some manager who may be able to help - no, we were not allowed! a flat refusal! I got an email from our original contact engineer to the effect that they had not received our acceptance of the quote in March! (in reality, things getting "lost in the post" is vanishingly rare, in my experience, certainly here in the North East, though I know it can be an issue in parts of the South). So I resent a copy - a week or two later we get it back with scrawled "OOT" - and a letter saying We were Out Of Time to reply! - and must start again from the beginning, getting an engineer to check the site etc. etc. By means I'll not disclose, I obtained a managers name in the new connections department and managed to bluff my way past the guard and was actually able to speak to him! He at least seemed to sympathise that 5 months is too long and I got him to promise he would watch to see this latest application didn't get "lost in the post" for 5 months yet again. Either way, I had to reapply - I pointed out to him how silly it was for the engineers to have to look at it from scratchy and could they not just resurrect using the map and details they already have? He agreed, and so after a week and a half another quote came - exactly the same as last time. So I've posted 2 copies of our acceptance in separate post boxes AND emailed both the department, and the person named on the letter, and got read receipts and delivery confirmation emails. Meantime, if we want a shower in the caravan we have to nip out and turn the generator on - which is noisy for our nearest neighbours, and whilst they have not complained, I am very aware of the noise. As at present I got to work around 0430, I really cannot in fairness run the generator, so it makes things pretty difficult. I'm sitting in the new house shell writing this with the generator running so I can use the computer and internet with ear defenders on! We run the genny in the house to try and cut some of the external noise down (with doors/windows open of course). Its not conducive to thought though to be honest. Unfortunately mobile data is so bad here that web sites time out, so this is the only way we can get on the internet from the site. I really wish they'd hurry up with the connection! Water: Curiously, we have had the same lack of response from Northumbrian water. They like to see the service pipe running into the house, but no way could I keep the trench open for 6 months safely so eventually, I filled it back in when they'd done nothing for 3 months (its a mere 1 metre from our boundary to the water main) . Chasing them up again, they were very good and apologised profusely and promised a guy out that week, they also said they quite understood that it was dangerous for me to leave a trench open 6 months on a building site. when the guy came I was at work, so when he turned up and said he needed to inspect the pipe (I've actually even pressure tested it myself) was deep enough and bedded properly she handed him a spade and told him to help himself . Strangely enough it then did not need inspecting - funny that! When they come to connect to it (the end is sticking out of the ground of course) and dig down, they will see the depth and the sand bedding it is in anyway. Openreach have been OK. PlusNet cut our business internet connection off 2 weeks before we moved (and that's a business connection!) and said it would be 3 weeks before they'd switch it on, despite Openreach having connected us up! In the event, they did it a couple of days early, but knocking business accounts off for 3 weeks is simply not good enough - that could destroy some businesses completely. We have ADSL rather than fibre, but actually, since the rest of the village is now on fibre we have it all to ourselves and so far it's pretty reasonable speed-wise (when the generator is no to power the modem of course). As for the house itself, the builder tells me that he should be starting the stonework in 3 weeks now the roof is 90% finished.
  13. I'm trying not to laugh, but to ensure a temporary connection, I've been told I need a brick built cubicle. These are screenshots from the quote I have just received..... and here's the object of desire.... All for the knock-down price of £4000 I've missed something haven't I? Tell me it's not true, give it me straight men, I can take it. I'm ugly enough. It's the brick-built sh1t house that gets me...... Ian
  14. Does anyone have any ideas about the likely direction of energy prices? My current dual fuel deal is up for renewal in April. I am paying £65 per month which is slightly above usage which would be £60. I am inclined to go for the longest fix possible which would be 2 or 3 years, as I think we may be due for some volatility. I am keen to avoid smaller players. I will take a bit of an increase of £100-200 no matter who I go for, and I am happy with my current supplier First Utility. The renewal offer is +250 ish with a £50 cash back sweetener. Any comments are welcome. I am inclined to negotiate the renewal offer to see how much leeway they have. Ferdinand
  15. I have just had a quote from SSE for a single new house connection of over £12,000. Just wondering if anyone has had any success in reducing these costs significantly by outsourcing the non-contestable works to a ICP or IDNO?
  16. I looked into the technology being used and the data collection and security, some time ago (probably around 4 or 5 years ago now, when the first "smart" meters were being rolled out. There are a stack of issues with them, even though the intention is partly good. The major one hitting consumers right now is that each supplier came up with their own implementation, so when you change suppliers (as we're all encouraged to do to maintain competition in the market) then the meter needs to be changed as well, or you just lose the "smart" meter "advantages". The more serious flaws were that the entire system, from the meter data link to the storage of data by the suppliers and intermediaries, was open to malicious attack. In fact the protocol was so insecure that it was laughable, with virtually no security provisions at all at the meter end. Whether consumers would have trust in the data collection end, run by the suppliers is open to question. Right now there's no significant problem there, apart from the frequent "computer errors" that seem to effect the billing part of the systems some suppliers use. With the advent of control of meters and supplies by the suppliers, using their systems, there comes a whole new set of security issues that some could choose to exploit to there advantage (anything from crooks fiddling usage data to malicious interference with supply control). The annoying thing is it wouldn't have been at all difficult to make smart metering effective and secure. Adding hardware encryption to the data link would have been easy, cheap and effective. Making the metering systems all work to a common standard, with rigid controls to ensure interoperability between suppliers would have been easy, and not added significantly, if at all, to the cost. Focussing on effective incentives, rather than replicating existing energy usage displays and hoping that will change behaviour (for most it won't, as has been shown) might have given real benefits. For example, EDF in France charge different prices for electricity to all domestic consumers depending on their forecast load. It's not smart metering, it relies on radio, TV and internet warnings of the days/times when prices will be high. We have friends who lived in France for years, and they would always watch out for the price changes and plan their usage pattern to avoid using things like the washing machine during high price periods. From what I gathered from talking to them, this was commonplace; lots of consumers were used to just adjusting things around the varying energy price. Smart meters would have allowed that easily, and a simple display showing the consumer the current price and usage, with a short calendar of forecast prices over the next few days, would almost certainly start to do the same as what has been happening in France for some time (I think the reason for doing it in France had lot to do with their shortage of short-term fast ramp-up generation; they use a lot of very slow to respond nuclear plants). The real nail in the coffin seems to be that widespread roll out of smart meters in other countries hasn't resulted in any saving, if anything it's produced the opposite effect!
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