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How is my gas costing me £0.34 a day when I’m not here


I’ve been away for a few days over the hottest weekend of the year. Central heating is off. No hot water is being used. Hob is off. No other gas appliances on site. Our boiler is modern (6years old) so does not have a pilot light.

But we’re still recording 1.93 kWh of gas useage per day. We never noticed this with our previous supplier.

How can we check our meter is recording correctly or that our tariff is set right?

Thanks
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Best answer by EddieD 13 May 2018, 19:25

Sorted it all out

First off the IHD has the standing charge built into it so there’s a base figure at the start of the day.

Secondly, our boiler was knocked off of economy so it was firing up every few hours to keep the water within warm. Putting Economy back on reduced gas consumption to zero

Take those two things into account then everything is as it should be.

Thanks for everyone’s input
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Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Oh-er, @EddieD! That doesn't sound right, does it?

I don't know what tariff you're on, but give us a bit more background info please.

- Are you on a standard meter or Smart Meter?

- Where are you reading the 1.93kWh figure from?
On the meter or on your My OVO account page?

- what is your gas meter box like?
Can you stick your nose in and smell any gas?

Thanks...
... oh, and could you fill out your Forum Profile please?
That's where I first look to find out basic info about those posting. It's very helpful! 🙂
Hi

We are on a smart meter

The details are from the IHD

There is no smell of gas from the meter cupboard

And I’ll update the profile ASAP

Thanks
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Hi @EddieD.

Firstly thanks for completing the online profile.

I see we're both on a 2-year fixed-price contract. However, the actual prices will vary according to when the contract started. Mine began in Nov17.

1.93kWh of gas equates to around 6p. So finance isn't the major issue.

That leaves two things to consider:
  • Safety - do you have a minor gas-leak?
  • Accuracy - is the Smart Meter and/or IHD giving valid readings?


Safety first (!)
Gas pressure for a domestic property is surprisingly low. It's the equivalent pressure to that from about 250mm height of water!

No gas system is completely gas tight. When an engineer takes a pressure test at your meter he used to employ a manometer filled with water and watch to see if the levels fell over a minute or so. Nowadays it's done with a digital device, which doesn't give as a clear a demonstration of the principle.

My gas installation has a very small leakage, but well within the safe limits. I have purchased a bottle of the relevant fluid and applied it to all the accessible joints. None create bubbles and there is no smell of gas. My very-minor leakage is therefore most likely spread across the entire in-house pipework and appliances system.

It's cheap and readily available if you want to try this yourself. Here's the product from Toolstation.

I would need a gas-engineer to tell us here whether 2kWh of leakage per day constitutes a "fault". It's equivalent to 0.2 cubic-metres, which is roughly the volume of your kitchen sink bowl.

I would have thought this is enough volume per day to actually leave a smell if it was coming from a single point in the pipework or boiler.


So, turning now to meter accuracy:
I don't (yet) have a Smart Meter, so I can't see the displays and read-outs that you can.

However, does the 1.93kWh also appear on your My OVO page for the days you were away?

The readings taken by OVO from your Smart Meter are separate from those sent to your IHD, so there may not be an exact match. The IHD gets updated in real-time, whereas it is usually the case that OVO sends the command for your Smart Meter to upload its data just once per day.

Let us know here if the online readings vary from those on the IHD.

Thanks.
Sorted it all out

First off the IHD has the standing charge built into it so there’s a base figure at the start of the day.

Secondly, our boiler was knocked off of economy so it was firing up every few hours to keep the water within warm. Putting Economy back on reduced gas consumption to zero

Take those two things into account then everything is as it should be.

Thanks for everyone’s input
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Ah; thanks for researching this @EddieD.

Good news about the IHD displaying usage inclusive of standing charges.

Funny you should mention your boiler being mis-configured out of Economy-mode:

I'd spotted by own gas usage is significantly higher than expected during the last month. Yesterday (Sunday) I woke before the heating day-cycle got triggered and found my boiler already firing. After delving a bit further I found two faults...

a. An intermittent contact on a 2-port valve switch, which wouldn't always stay off when the valve was shut. Fortunately I always keep a couple of spares "on the shelf", so I replaced it in 10-mins flat.

b. An incorrect zone-valve replacement where the plunger was too short to fully turn off that circuit. Aagh!

So I've apparently been heating part of the house needlessly overnight for about 2 months.
Next job this morning is to locate a supplier of a zone-valve with the correct serial number.

If I hadn't been using the OVO Usage histograms, I probably wouldn't have noticed there was a problem for a lot longer.

On the forthcoming SMETS2 Smart Meter software there are some commands which can allow customers to set usage-thresholds and receive notifications when these are exceeded. The intention is to allow customers to set budgets, but in both of our cases this system might have better alerted us to unexpected boiler firings.

Of course, there's no onus on Energy Suppliers (OVO et al) to actually implement these new SMETS2 commands, but I hope they do.

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