So much for my advice on trimming energy bills. I thought I was being clever recently changing gas and electricity suppliers from Npower to Scottish Power through USwitch. I felt smug when details of the new direct debits came through and they were much lower than our previous ones. And when Npower generously sent us a cheque for £132 for overestimated use of electricity I was very happy. What nice people they must be.
But that changed this morning when the post arrived with yet another envelope from Npower. What did they want this time? They must be missing me already. When I opened it, I had a bit of a shock. It was a final gas bill for £171. The sting in the tail. I had to sit down for a minute.
Our previous bills were based on estimated meter readings, but now they’d received my actual reading, quite different from their estimated one, and it seems that the direct debits for the year were nearly £200 out. Fortunately the electricity rebate will cover most of the bill, but I thought it best to query it.
Danielle in customer services was surprisingly polite and efficient, but as I’d suspected she said my meter reading confirmed we’d used more gas than they expected us to. There I was kidding myself that with the loft lagging and cavity wall insulation we’d put in a couple of years ago (by the way – nobody tells you but you end up with giant marks on your outside walls from where they pump in the gunk, so it looks like your house has measles) DJ and I were at the forefront of environmentalism, when all the time we’re two big fat gas guzzlers and part of the problem. I was still a bit confused as we’ve not had the central heating on for months.
But then it occurred to me – the one difference between this year and last year is that I’ve been working from home and – during the winter – using the heating during the day, which must be why the bill is so big. I am the gas guzzler. Oh dear…
The good news, for me at least is that, besides the electricity rebate which will cover most of the bill, because I’m self-employed I can claim a percentage of our heating bill as an expense from the taxman. I’m lucky – other people out there who are struggling won’t have that luxury faced with a £200 bill. But with prices soaring, I have to make a bigger effort to conserve energy during the day in the coming winter. Time to take my own advice I think…
Have a great weekend, Piper xxx