search for tag 'Family' requested

Expensive hobbies, general updatiness

2011-09-23 17:21:00 - by alisonw Personal Family

(I initially titled that "expensive hoppies" which gave me visions of lots of energizer bunnies everywhere. hmmn.)

Anyway, my mum received her gas and electricity bills at the weekend and they seemed very high. Worse, British Gas (who are the supplier of both said services) included an "annual statement". Leaving aside that in 2010 the annual statement was made in December and it is currently only September, it did again draw our attention to how much we're paying here.

So I dumped all the bills since the start of 2009 into a spreadsheet and set to work. First thing was I discovered how *really bad* BG are at estimates of usage. Even though they have past actual readings to calculate from they seem to ignore them and use some far lower figure instead, meaning that we then have to play catch-up on a later bill. At one point this meant a gas bill for £50 per day to get it right again!

Anyway, I went through the lot and calculated how much we'd actually used in the last twelve months. Well different to what BG had stated (those estimates again) and an awful lot of money to boot. It also showed how massively cheaper gas is as a fuel than electricity as the bill for the latter is about double that of the former yet the usage is actually 30% less!

This meant that last night I was looking at alternatives, from wind turbines on the roof to gas-fuelled electricity generation. The wind was almost 'a goer' expect the wind speed here is only estimated at 4.7m/s where you need at least 5m/s for viability. A combined heat & power gas 'boiler' though seems a possibility, though it is limited to a 1kWh output limit, alongside the heating & hot water, which isn't really enough.

The problem is, of course, my computer servers. There are five of them running 24/365 along with a couple of switches and a modem, and they are costing around £100 a month in power. I did spend some time looking at colo options last night but couldn't find anything cost-effective so I guess I'm sticking with the servers-in-the-garage-server-room approach.

All this meant that we were prime targets to switch suppliers and, after further research online, I put in a transfer request to a fix-rate deal this afternoon which I estimate to reduce the bill for the next year by at least £685, which seems a pretty nice reduction; something around the 20% mark.

In other news, I'm doing some messing around online work for someone in New Zealand at the moment and have been asked by a more local company (well, London) to go meet with them about some stuff too. Trouble is, the latter one is rather an unknown quantity and after agreeing to meet with them when they phoned I'm now getting all rather panicky about it. Not sure I'll go through with it therefore. The NZ one is fine as that is mostly on my own schedule so I can relieve the pressure when I need to.

The car has been behaving badly of late, being very jerky when pulling away. A service has been booked for Monday which, given it has been quite a few years since the last one, should sort it out.

September has so far been an awful month for my RedSox. I'm hoping we still make it to the post-season though and then come good. 04+07=11 and all that!

Back in London next week ;-)