Sudden High Usage?

Hi all,

First post. Thought I’d head here as something doesn’t sit right.

So, live in a 30’s Semi, 3 bed, house of 4. Me and my partner, and our 3 and 6 y/o daughters. Used to be with EON, moved to Bulb about 3 years ago. Really happy with the service, a few issues with DD hikes but a quick email to CS has always resulted in DD’s being reduced.

However, the last few days, the Smart Meter is displaying a big hikes in usage. I have the smart meter set to display total price for gas and electric each day.

Now, we leave the home about 7.30am, we get back around 4.30/5pm each weekday. Heating isn’t on during the day, nothing is really running during the day other than stuff like the fridge etc. But, I can find that I’ll get home and the meter will show about £1.20 worth of use. Not too worried about that, most of that will be the standing charge and a bit of heating/kettle etc in the morning. However, tonight, I’m going to bed and the meter is showing £4.22 worth of G&E use-meaning I’ve used about £3’s worth since getting home (slightly earlier) at about 4pm. But even more annoying than that, is that Friday night is pizza night-the oven was on for about 15 minutes, and we’ve been that lazy today, we haven’t even washed up because there’s only 2 mugs and 4 plates! The heating has been on since we got home, but was set to 18°c so it’s not even been working that hard.

My issue is, I’d expect to see usage like this in the depths of winter for a few days, but our house is generally quite warm, and we’ve not been here for most of it. We even sat in the lounge in the dark with no TV on for an hour to watch the neighbourhood fireworks. And I mean the dark: not one light on. We even ate pizza in the dark as we have a street lamp out the front of the house, and the volume of fireworks going off meant we didn’t need lights. The TV didn’t get switched on until about 7:20pm. On the flip side, yesterday, the price was about the same, yet TV was on, cooked for about 45 mins in the kitchen using oven and gas, TV was on from about 4:30om, plus boiled the kettle twice for a cuppa in the evening. Price pretty much the same total.

Our DD is £100 a month, having recently increased it from £90. But even now we’re £97 in credit, £90 a month has always been more than enough to cover us-but I’ve never seen costs and usage like this, and nothing has changed. We had two months (Dec & Jan) where we used about £145 each month, but it got really cold and we had a few electric heaters on to help out. But we’d never do that ordinarily, and we’re not even close to using the Gas and Electric amounts now that we did then, yet I’m going to bed in the evenings approaching £4.50 a day.

I don’t understand how it’s that much. The boiler is a 3 y/o Bosch Worcester which has just been serviced, all the radiators and thermostats are under 8 years old-I just cannot get my head round why there seems to be this massive jump in cost/use.

Wanted to see really if anybody else has seen or experienced sudden jumps recently?

Sorry for the long post, well done if you’ve gotten this far!


Hi Dan,

We have had the same situation. One bedroom flat, our gas and electricity in the summer was £40 a month and that was when we had fans on etc. At the moment we don’t have our gas heating on as we don’t need it and same as you, no one is in all day. We are not doing anything different yet our bill has suddenly hiked up to £71 for the last month. No clue what is going on.

Hope we can get to the bottom of it!

Hi Dan, just some things to consider.

First of all, because of the wholesale gas prices going though the moon, the price of leccy and gas has shot up quite a bit, that means that things could be a quite a bit more expensive as they used to be.

Next up, you have a smart meter with a leccy and gas supply in the house. What’s causing that usage? is it the leccy or the gas? If it the gas, that could be pointing you in the right direction as to what is wrong.

How warm was the house before the heating was on? if that house was 14c, its heating that house by 4c. Saying you have a 30kW boiler, that’s going to use quite a bit of gas to do so.

This sort of thing is making me think it is the heating in your home that’s causing the increase in cost. If you have an IHD6 or an IHD3 with wifi, id consider connecting it to samsung smartthings on your phone to see what time this spike in usage is happening. It may give you a few hints.

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I do appreciate that those are valid points, however, the boiler is set to kick in at 16°c, and is only set to take it to 18°c.

So, this weekends use was all over the place. We had the open fire on in the lounge from about 10am, the heating wasn’t used once. The only items we had on were the TV, and the tumble drier twice, for half hour at a time. That’s enough to 80% dry the clothes, the remaining dries on the airers. The boiler came on for our 4 showers, probably 25 mins all in. Either way, usage at the end of the day was still £3.60-and we were here for the whole day.

Sunday was even more strange. Bar one trip out for about 1 and a half hours, we were in all day. Yesterdays use was £2.89. That figure is where I expect to be this time of year.

So, we seem to use less when we’re here than when we’re not. Don’t understand. Especially as the heating isn’t set to come on during the day during the week.

This morning, the smart meter was showing 86p of use when I got downstairs at 6am. That’s fine, the heating was on. I turned the little electric fan on Just to take the edge off the lounge/room as the heating wasn’t long on. It’s a Dyson floor standing fan-it can consume a lot if left on all the time, but if it’s used, it’s on a timer of 10mins as usually that’s all it needs. We’ve had it for a couple of years and it’s not something that generally consumes vasts amounts-it does use more electric and we’re aware of that, which is why it’s use is minimal. I then went to the kitchen to put the kettle on. The kettle takes about 2 minutes to boil. The meter is in the kitchen-in the space of 5 mins, with the fan and heating on, it had increased by 2p-which is also fine! I then watched the meter jump from 88p to £1.30 with my own eyes in the time it took to boil the kettle. 2 minutes!

I know kettles use a lot-but not that much. That’s an unreal jump. At £1.30, 30 mins in to the day, we’ve already used half the amount we did in a full day yesterday?? That’s doesn’t seem right to me.

Also having major problems. Had smart meter fitted just under two weeks ago. I had to put 20 on each on 1St Nov another 10 on each 3Rd Nov and now both out of credit again. I only live it one bedroom flat on my own. This is stupid I can’t afford to put this much on per week. I’m disabled

So the plot thickens.

Heating came on before bed last night for about half an hour. It goes off about 11pm, quite normal at the moment.

This morning, stone cold radiators: went down stairs, as expected, the house is sitting at about 19°c as it is very (unseasonably) mild outside. When the heating goes off at 11pm, it’s not due to come back on until around 5:45am, but only if the house is cool enough.

When I get in the kitchen at about 6:10am, the Smart Meter is already showing 98p worth of use. I’d expect this (recently) if the heating had been on and we’d had the electric fan on when we get up. But, nothing has been used since the heating went off at 11pm-nothing. I’d expect to see the meter showing about 60p worth of use on a morning like this (and that’s a generous 60p, in the summer the meter would read about 35p first thing in the morning-and the house conditions this morning are basically the same). This just doesn’t make sense.

In relation to my kettle conundrum the other morning, I and my partner did separate tests. Ran the kettle with the heating off, and later, ran the kettle with the heating and electric fan on. With the heating off, the amount rose by 2p. With heating, kettle and fan on, it raised the total by 5p (roughly two minutes on both counts). The same scenario earlier this week saw a 40p jump in the space of 2 minutes.

That’s not me being paranoid, that’s something both I and my partner have seen with our own eyes.

Don’t get it.

Why don’t you try switching everything off, including the fridge, for half an hour or so. Then check if the meter has shown any increase. This will prove if the meter is faulty. Then just put the fridge back on. Check usage after half an hour. Similarly, one appliance at a time - if you know the wattage, you can work out how much the meter should increase per minute, or five minutes, or ten minutes, etc. It’s a bit of work, but you may find which appliance is misbehaving. It may even be the meter!!

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1st question what tariff you on and how much, im seeing this all over the internet, electric has risen so much in 18 months, people are only just waking up to the fact how much. good luck finding the problem

Great idea @Anton59 !

We call this a burns test @dmoore81 . This is an easy way to confirm if the meter you are reading is connected to your property and the meter is recording properly.

Follow the steps below to carry out a Burns Test:

  • Take a picture of your meter reading
  • Do you know the neighbour whose meter may be connected to your property?
    • If you know, kindly ask your neighbour if you can take a photo of their meter reading
    • If you’re not sure move onto the next step
  • Turn on appliances in your property that use lots of electricity:
    • this could be a kettle, an oven and electric heaters
    • when you go to the meter you should see the meter reading increasing
  • Wait a few minutes and take another photo of your meter showing how the readings have increased.
  • Turn off all electricity in your property at the fuse box.
  • Wait 30 minutes and take another photo of your meter
    • If you took a photo of your neighbour’s meter beforehand, ask them if you can take another photo of their meter.

Confirming if the meter reading has remained the same

Now you’ve carried out the burns test, did the meter reading remain the same after you turned off any electricity appliances?

Let us know how you get on and we can investigate further for you

– Daisy :bulb: