Energy companies

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Rainbow
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Energy companies

Post by Rainbow » Sat 07 Jan, 2023 2:08 pm

Following on from my comment on the "7000th Member" thread about how off-topic chat kept a different forum alive and vigorously kicking, I thought I'd give it a go to start a thread in "After Hours".

So this is about energy companies, and domestic rather than business. I changed fairly recently from EonNext to Octopus. I'd heard/read that energy companies weren't accepting new customers because of the volatility in the market, but this turned out not to be the case and I was accepted without any difficulty. The unit rates were lower for both gas and electricity, and I worked out that switching would cost nearly a couple of hundred pounds less with Octopus than with EonNext.

I joined Octopus's scheme to save electricity when the National Grid asked for it, and I've had some rebate from that scheme.

Octopus also have what they call a "Wheel of Fortune" which you can spin every month to win up to £512 rebate. Needless to say, the default is £0, but it's fun to do and there's always a chance of winning the top rebate.

The other thing I like about Octopus is that they make it easier than some energy companies to see what their actual tariffs are so that you can compare like-with-like on the unit rate, and so get an accurate picture of whether you will save money or not.

So if anyone wants to change energy companies, I can recommend Octopus (at least for domestic supplies).

Other people's experiences of Octopus or other energy companies welcome :)
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Re: Energy companies

Post by Bobble » Sat 07 Jan, 2023 5:28 pm

I've been with Octopus for a couple of years, with domestics dual fuel monthly readings. I don't have or want smart meters. So that's about 50 unlucky spins with zero winnings.
I still play it of course, has anybody ever won? Otherwise no complaints so far with this energy company.

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Re: Energy companies

Post by theframer » Sat 07 Jan, 2023 5:53 pm

Thats interesting i use one of the energy comparison sites that is supposed to let me know the cheapest supplier, i'm with british gas at the moment and they have not informed me of a cheaper tariff,
I was led to believe that all the companies was the same price at the moment.

Also why are the bills so hard to understand they might as well be in chinese :head:

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Re: Energy companies

Post by fusionframer » Sat 07 Jan, 2023 6:05 pm

I switched a while back to Bulb and we are still with them although i believe Octopus are buying them from the government so we will become Octopus

When we first switched, we were getting 9p kwh for electricity. Now i think it is closer to 33p. My only issue with Bulb was they would put up your direct debit (apparently computer calculates this) and we ended up with £400 credit. They wouldn't reduce our monthly direct debit though, but we could claim it back. I would rather have left it in and had lower monthly payments. It seems that people can't override the computers which is slightly annoying. Doing a reading is easy though. You scan it in the app.

We are on oil for heating and water rather than gas and this has gone bonkers. Back in first covid lockdown, we got 1000 litres for £280. Our last lot was £540 for 500 litres and the price had come down a bit from its high point. I replaced the immersion heater in September as even with the high electricity prices, popping the immersion on for 30 minutes will give us a decent tank of hot water which may be cheaper than 2 hours of the boiler burning kerosene.

At work, my landlord agreed a 2 year deal at 28p kwh in March so that is not too bad. Not sure who that is though.

Good idea to post this Steve. I discovered lots of useful tips etc on woodworking forum, no reason why we can't do that here. I am not a great lover of social media. I have just set up a facebook page for my business, more for future customers to see photos of previous jobs than advertising. But i like popping on the forum.

Cheers

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Re: Energy companies

Post by Rainbow » Sat 07 Jan, 2023 7:43 pm

Bobble wrote:
Sat 07 Jan, 2023 5:28 pm
I've been with Octopus for a couple of years, with domestics dual fuel monthly readings. I don't have or want smart meters. So that's about 50 unlucky spins with zero winnings.
I still play it of course, has anybody ever won? Otherwise no complaints so far with this energy company.
Yes, I won the other day - the grand sum of £1 :lol:

I was always adamant that I wouldn't have a smart meter but I had to get one if I wanted to take part in the National Grid rebate scheme and it doesn't bother me now.

Good idea to post this Steve.
Thanks, but I’m Rainbow and I'm female :D
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Re: Energy companies

Post by fusionframer » Sat 07 Jan, 2023 8:07 pm

Apologies Rainbow, i was chatting about someone with my wife called Steve as i was just finishing typing and typed Steve instead of Rainbow!

I turned 50 last week so it appears i am going senile already!

Still a great post😁
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Re: Energy companies

Post by Justintime » Wed 11 Jan, 2023 12:32 pm

I'm on my 3rd or 4th supplier in as many years always having preferred to use green energy companies. Sadly we got bumped to Shell on the last wave of green company crashes, who have the worst history for abuses around the world during oil extraction.
Has anyone gone for battery packs with or without solar to take advantage of cheaper night time rates? It's obviously playing the long game, with some years for payback of the costs, but with no easing of electricity costs in sight, im considering it.
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Re: Energy companies

Post by vintage frames » Wed 11 Jan, 2023 1:07 pm

Like everyone else, we looked around for ways of saving electricity when prices went up. Apart from all the usual saving tips like LED lighting and insulation etc, the biggest saving we made as in putting a large stove-top kettle on top of our wood-burner and saving the hot water in one or two thermos flasks.
We found that most of our energy costs were going on leaving the immersion heater on too long. In fact, by heating and saving hot water on the wood stoves, we actually saved 30% of our energy usage.

Another thing some might find useful is to have a back-up power supply when the lights go off.
If you live in rural Wales, as we do, the power is regularly interrupted when the power companies are repairing or upgrading overhead lines.
We bought a Power Inverter from Toolstation-
https://www.toolstation.com/streetwiz ... ter/p70061

Connected to a 12V car battery and then connected to the TV, table light and broadband router/terminal with long extension leads.
That way we get 4 to 5 hours use before bed time.
The lights may never go off where you are but then,
Putin wants to be our best friend
and there are loads of windmills to keep us all warm on those still frosty winter evenings.
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Re: Energy companies

Post by mikeallen » Sun 15 Jan, 2023 12:46 pm

I use Octopus as well - and they are a breath of fresh air compared to others. EG They do not charge extra if you arent on a direct debit. Every month I give a meter reading - and then get a bill to pay for exactky what Ive used. And their system / website is simple toi understand and use.

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Re: Energy companies

Post by vintage frames » Tue 24 Jan, 2023 11:49 am

Here's something new to worry about.
The price and availability of energy next winter.
This current winter the continent is using its large stored reserves of Russian gas, so there hasn't been much competition for supply so far.
By the summer, much if these stored supplies will have been used up.
Now the only way to get gas into Europe is by boat (LNG).
There are pipelines from Norway and the North Sea, but the bulk of supply will have to come from the Middle east and America.
And all that comes in by boat - a bit crazy when you think about it.
Although we have our own North Sea supply, there's going to be a huge world-wide bidding war to secure supply.
Will GB have enough gas to meet our energy needs?

Don't even think about renewable energy.
It's all an illusion.
Currently renewables supply only 25% of our energy requirements.
To meet the majority of our needs, we would have to cover our whole island in windmills and solar panels.
If there is no wind, and its dark, there is nothing.
Renewals make only a beneficial contribution to our energy needs. They are a dangerous distraction from the reality of our energy needs.

The only way the world is going to move away from the now diminishing supply of fossil fuels is to solve the Fusion Energy problem.
The world currently spends less than 5 billion$ on Fusion research.
That's ridiculous. No wonder they haven't cracked it.
And the guys who will crack it are the Americans. And they're not bothered at the moment because they have loads of available energy.
Short-term thinking I know but that's the way things are done.
Perhaps one benefit of the war in Ukraine will be to focus minds a bit more on the energy problem. Be truthful about renewables and get on with some proper research.

But quickly back to next winter. I'm sure we'll all muddle through.
If you have any spare cash, sort out some sort of reserve supply for your winter energy. There may not be all that much to go around.
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Re: Energy companies

Post by Justintime » Tue 24 Jan, 2023 12:41 pm

And to counter that, I say start taking some responsibility for your own energy needs. Install some solar panels on your roof (they have never been this cheap) and a battery pack, using your own energy when available and taking advantage of lower cost off-peak energy to top up the battery system. Battery pack installers advise a system that will cover 2-3 days of average household usage, protecting you from power cuts.
https://www.wired.co.uk/article/the-uks ... the-sahara
This sounds useful.
"Currently renewables supply only 25% of our energy requirements." I have to question that figure.
According to nationalgrid.com "2020 marked the first year in the UK’s history that electricity came predominantly from renewable energy, with 43% of our power coming from a mix of wind, solar, bioenergy and hydroelectric sources..."
According to https://assets.publishing.service.gov.u ... r_2022.pdf
"Renewable generation grew 18 per cent on the same period last year due to
both increases in capacity (wind generation grew by a record 2.8 GW) and
more favourable weather conditions. Fossil fuel generation accounted for a
46.6 per cent share over the quarter (up 0.5 percentage points on last year),
with renewables at 36.3 per cent (up 1.1 percentage points). Low carbon’s
share fell by 0.5 percentage points from 50.8 per cent to 50.3 per cent."

So rather than writing off renewables as some childish hopeful distraction, perhaps we should actually start to embrace it and like I said, start to take some responsibility. Invest in making our homes more efficient, with more insulation, energy efficient lighting, draft proofing!

Is nuclear power and all of the associated toxic waste really the legacy that we want to leave future generations?
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Re: Energy companies

Post by vintage frames » Tue 24 Jan, 2023 1:56 pm

Whatever figure you can supply for renewable energy's contribution to the grid and in best case conditions, what happens when there is no wind and at night?
You burn gas and loads of it.
I'm not saying that's OK or the right thing to be doing but it is the present reality of the situation.
Telling people that everything is going to be OK because we've got loads of windmills is not telling the truth.
And I consider it a dangerous distraction from the real need to invent a more reliable source of energy.

Nuclear power is all we have at the moment, otherwise.
We do get exercised by the nuclear waste issue but seem content to have vast mountains of landfill waste buried around all of our major cities.

But I was talking about Fusion Energy.
There is practically no waste involved with respect to the huge amounts of energy released.
Until America feels the need, there will be no great advances made.

Otherwise, I agree with everything you say Justin. Insulate, save, have solar panels whatever, but don't pretend that is going to keep all the lights on in the future.
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Re: Energy companies

Post by Rainbow » Tue 24 Jan, 2023 8:58 pm

There was an article on one of the online news sites the other day about a new proposal to capture wave energy, which apparently had been given the go-ahead. But wave energy has been talked about for decades and none of the proposals ever seem to lead to a revolution in energy production.
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Re: Energy companies

Post by Justintime » Wed 25 Jan, 2023 3:27 am

Sadly wave energy is on the periphery of funding allocations. There are mothballed wave energy systems off the coast of Pembrokeshire at this moment. The potential return on investment is massive.
I'm sure Dermot would agree that wave energy is more dependable.
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Re: Energy companies

Post by Tudor Rose » Wed 25 Jan, 2023 8:46 am

We live in a seaside town with a fantastic tidal estuary. The power of the water as it funnels through a fairly narrow channel to fill the much wider space behind, is phenomenal.

We visited Brittany last summer and the tidal barrage across The Rance river. near St Malo. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rance_T ... er_Station

Could see something like that working really well on our river. I know hydroelectric schemes work across the UK. Visited the Dinorwig one in North Wales on a geography field trip back in 1985! But it’s such a shame the investment in more tried and tested renewables wasn’t being focussed on many years ago.

The tides are pretty dependable, even with the variations in Spring and Neep tide heights and water volume.
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Re: Energy companies

Post by vintage frames » Wed 25 Jan, 2023 10:21 am

Look there's nothing wrong with the concept of renewable energy. They all work in that they all generate electricity.
But every successful society requires a reliable and constant supply of energy, otherwise nothing works.
No food on the supermarket shelves? - sorry, not today, maybe tomorrow when it's a bit windier.

For every Gwatt of renewal energy built you need an equal amount of reserve fossil or nuclear back up.

I worry that the whole renewable energy schtick is being used as a virtue flag, hoovering up vast quantities of subsidies then selling the resulting intermittent energy at the same price as the gas burners.
Yesterday the Welsh government made this virtuous pledge to increase its reliance on renewables to over 75% in 10 years or so.
They didn't detail quite how they were going to do that.
Where were all the generators going to go?
They just made this vanilla statement that there would be a 'review' of planning laws to enable this.
So that little rural community will now have a forest of monster turbines swishing away in their back garden.
But hey, the company will build them a nice new community centre.

As I said, we need to get real about the science and not be distracted by Mad Max post-apocalypse solutions.
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Re: Energy companies

Post by fusionframer » Wed 25 Jan, 2023 3:40 pm

On nuclear fusion as a clean source of energy, see this article.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.imperi ... nergy/amp/

It is the first time in 70 years of trying that the energy output has been greater than the energy used to create the reaction. Perhaps with this success, more may be spent to develop further.

Like vintage frames says, it will be the Americans who crack it, but a lot of British university academics are doing a lot of work.
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Re: Energy companies

Post by vintage frames » Wed 25 Jan, 2023 4:27 pm

During World War 2, the Americans rounded up all their best scientists, corralled them in at Los Alamos, gave them all the money they needed but refused to let them out until they had solved nuclear fission.
We need some of that urgency now.
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