The Financial Jigsaw Part 2 – ENERGY ANALYSIS - Domestic Energy-use Optimisation Plan 2022-23 – [12-29-22]
The worst of the UK cold weather can be expected in January & February – so now is the time to review our energy consumption and optimise for best effect whilst the weather is clement
BEFORE WE LOOK at our 21st century conditions, perhaps it would be instructive to find out how our ancestors managed in the cold and dark winters on this miserable island. In this 5 minute video, you will go on a journey through the darkness of winter in the past. You'll see how people, like medieval peasants, would have spent their time, what they ate, and what clothes they wore. You'll also get an idea of how they found entertainment in their everyday lives:
"Generations ago, it was not so easy to function during the winter. Survival was anything but guaranteed. People had to take extreme measures just to get through the cold and snow for months out of the year. How people survived the winter, from the Middle Ages to the last century, might surprise you." If you did but know it, we live in a cosseted bubble environment today which would have been unimaginable a mere 150 years ago. It's a shocking revelation: https://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/how-did-people-survive-the-winter-years-ago/
How did medieval people keep warm? The short answer might be they didn’t, but that’s only half the answer. Certainly, in medieval Wales like in modern Wales, people didn’t have to deal with extreme temperatures of say – Minnesota – but they did have to deal with snow and cold in the winter - and occasional heat waves in the summer. This article will give you clues as to how we might manage better today: https://www.sarahwoodbury.com/how-did-medieval-people-keep-warm/
So now we have some clues about the basics of surviving in the hostile British winter climate, let's see how 21st century humanity manages.
My Personal General Situation
I can only use my personal circumstances as an example of the logic and data about how to optimise my own energy use. Hopefully, readers can use this data and adapt it for their own situation.
My wife and I live in a, '2-up-2 down' 17th century stone-built cottage, fully insulated plus double-glazing, in a large village (officially defined as a small town because it has a town council), with a population of around 3,000, deep in rural SW England. We grow some of our own vegetables and flowers and have a river nearby, yes with trout! There are multiple sources of local produce from farms and much foraging and gathering opportunities in season.
There is no gas supply, thus we are all electric, with 3 (7kVA) elderly night-storage radiators for semi-central (convection warm air) heating, known as Economy 7, and an immersion heater for running hot water. We have disconnected the immersion, using the kettle instead, as we only need hot water for hot drinks and washing-up, because we have a power-shower, no running hot water is required.
We have set the radiators to average 18deg C and supplement colder evenings with an electric fan-stove. Over many years our average annual electricity consumption has been: 9,000kVA (units) for heating and 3,000kVA domestic use. After a mild autumn followed by a short cold snap, we are now back to mild conditions for January 2023, and we hope it holds.
We rarely use the oven; the hobs occasionally with a 3-tier vegetable steamer. My wife is South African and uses 'pot-roast' joints of meat on the hob as opposed to the traditional British oven-roast, often supplemented of course with the SA gas Braai (BBQ); they love their meat roasted on a grid. Also we cook in bulk and freeze using the two deep freezers.
We have a back-up camping gas stove, chargeable lanterns and the usual heavy weather emergency gear which we used on our yacht for many years. We are ready for power cuts and anything else the weather will throw at us. I will never give up my trusty diesel car whatever HMG implements. I will use a horse in extremis - (I have owned horses for 30 years when I had my small-holding).
My operating year is April – March; I read my meter quarterly; keep detailed records and avoid the use of a 'smart meter' at all costs as I don't wish to give over control of my power supply to GloboCap. I pay by DD an amount which I determine in conjunction with my current supplier, E.ON Next from time to time, and is currently £220/mth based on the previous average consumption levels over a full year.
Energy Budget Plan 2022/3
E.ON tariff until January 2023 is 44.06p Day and 13.88 Night. There is also the 'standing charge' of 44.5p/day. Therefore my year's budget calls for: Day: 3,000 @ 44p = £1,320 and Night: 9,000 @ 14p = £1,260 plus SC £162 = Total: £2,742 (£228/mth). E.ON has advised that in January 2023 their tariff will increase 10% during the 3 months to March 2023.
However consumers are getting government help with a one-off £400 cost-of-living grant (paid at £67/mth) and a £500 one-off (in my case) pensioner's 'Winter Fuel Payment' plus a £150 rebate from UK local Council Tax. Thus my annual energy bill will be a net £1,692 as of today. https://www.yourmoney.com/household-bills/seven-ways-to-get-help-with-energy-bills-this-winter/ I will not adjust my budget until April 2023 when new rates will be known.
TEST - Autumn Quarter – 14th October 2022 – 13th January 2023 Next Flex Tariff – E.ON Next provider:
Day rate: 44.06/kVA - Night rate: 13.88//kVA - Standing charge: 44.50 p/day
As at December 23 2022 – Usage Estimates for Quarter Q4
Kettle – 5 boils/day @ 3kVA, 5mins ea = 1.26kVA/day x 90 days @ 44p = £50 115kVA
Shower – 15mins/day @10kVA = 90 days = 22hrs @ 44p/ x 10 = £100 220kVA
Toaster - 10 mins /day @ 2kVA = 90 days = 15hrs @ 44p/kVA x 2 = £15 30kVA
Lights – LED – 3 x 0.02 kVA x 12 hrs/day x 90 = 65hrs @ 44p/kVA = £30 60kVA
Computers – x2 PC Desktop 24hrs @ 0.1/kVA/hr x 90 = 216hrs @44p/kVA = £95 215kVA
Fan Heaters – (cold spell) 4kVA/hr x 3hrs x 30 days = 360hrs @44p/kVA = £160 360kVA
TV – 0.065kVA x 12hrs/day x 90 = 70 hrs@44p/kVA = £30 70kVA
Washing M/c – 2kVA x 2hrs x 3 days/wk = 12kVA x 13 = 156hrs @ 44p = £70 155kVA
Drier – 2kVA (full ) x 2hrs x 3 days/week = 12kVA x 13 = 156hrs @44p = £70 155kVA
Sundries /hob/chargers/fridge/Mwave (est)6kVA/wk x 13 = 78hrs @ 44p = £35 80kVA
Night Storage – off-peak
3 units @ 7kVA total – 50 days autumn average 8hrs/night = 56hrs x 50 = 2800hrs Night storage rate = 13.88p x 2800 = £400 2800kVA
Day rate: £655 – 1,460kVA (actual kVA Q4/20; 880 – Q4/21; 1,067)
Night rate: £400 - 2,800kVA (actual kVA Q4/20; 2,811 – Q4/21; 2,734)
Total net account estimate: £1095
NOTE: For the 2022 year I have added a new stove-type electric fire and a second PC, increasing our consumption by approx 300kVA/quarter, accounting for the increase this year. I will report the actual account for Q4/22 on January 21, 2023 in my regular ‘Letter from Great Britain’.
Here are some tips and information links:
E.ON – Blog: https://blog.eonnext.com/entries/92-Meet-Andrew
Small items add up: https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/eight-items-drain-your-bills-25260825
This was the situation in April 2021. We have moved a long way from these figures but the basics remain the same: https://www.homeserve.com/uk/living/electrical/what-uses-the-most-electricity-in-the-house/
Five ways to keep your house warm: https://theconversation.com/five-ways-to-keep-your-home-warm-this-winter
GOOD LUCK – I hope the weather holds for us and we have a mild winter – but anything is possible in this God-forsaken island. Can't wait to get back to the sun!
AUSTRIAN'S NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE: https://www.theburningplatform.com/author/austrian-peter/
Useful figures, thank you. I assume that you cannot use a wood burner.