First of all, the electrician has been and completed the wiring, so we have lights in the kitchen, bathroom and back hallway. Secondly, I've managed to plug a few more holes to cut down on the draughts, so it is steadily becoming less of a trial trying to heat Frugaldom.
Out of interest, I searched out my past accounts to compare electricity costs. I've only looked back as far as 2008, as the other files are backed up on a different system, but what I did find reminds me sharply of the costs incurred when you have no fixed abode and need to rely on private rentals!
In 2008, we lived in a 4 room, 3-storey, terraced house that relied solely on electricity for heating. This was supplied via storage heaters on an Economy 7 electricity meter and that house was very cold in winter! During 2008, the household budget had to cough up £1,311.40 in total for fuel and energy - a fair whack when working on a budget of just £4,000 for the year. £1,218.90 of this was electricity.
In 2009, we lived in a 3 room, semi-detached bungalow that relied on storage heaters on Economy 7 style electricity meter and had an open coal fire in the living room. That house was equally cold in winter! During 2009, the household budget had to cough up £1,336.82 in total for electricity, coal and logs out of a challenge budget of £4,000 for the year. £1,030.00 of this was electricity.
In 2010, we were still in the same house, under the impression that we had a long lease. We eventually got permission to install a log burner in the kitchen, which previously had no heating in it at all. It was an extremely long and freezing winter. Excluding the purchase price and fitting of the stove, I spent £1,533.00 in total of my £4,000 budget on electricity, coal and logs. £1,190 of this was on electricity.
In 2011, we bought our 4 room, fixy-up, end terraced cottage with an open fire and back boiler - no other heating. I stuck with my challenging £4,000 per year household budget and have now spent everything that needs to be spent on fuel and energy. Despite the latest price increases, the overall cost of electricity, coal and logs has amounted to £1,305.87 and that includes two months when we were running two houses. £877.67 of this was electricity.
There is still a great deal of work to be done in our new home but every step of the way includes investigating how we can best cut our energy and fuel costs, while trying to create a warm living environment - something that can be very difficult to achieve if you are living in someone else's house, paying them rent.
The first steps have been taken, getting the place watertight, dried out and aired. We have begun the long task of draughtproofing and insulating, along with planning on how best to improve on the heating. It may take another few of years of scrimping, saving and creative DIY, but it's all progress along the way.
In 2012, my challenge is to keep with my £4,000 household budget (excluding council tax) and try to get the cost of fuel and energy below £1,200.00 It's a tall order when living in a fairly rural part of Scotland with no access to mains gas and no conventional central heating system, but I feel that it is within reach and, as we invest in improving the house, I'm sure savings will be easier made as each improvement project is completed. £780.00 of this is allocated to electricity
For now, I'm happy to be heading in the right direction and hope to cut down on coal use in favour of burning logs, which are reported to be carbon neutral. But we need a dry log store before that will happen.
How much has electricity increased in price since 2008?
I raked out an old electricity bill from 2008 just to see how things had changed and was rather surprised by what I found.
In November 2008, we were paying 21.9p per day standing charge and 13.52p per kWh
In December 2011, we are paying 25p per day standing charge and 12.24p per kWh
If we estimate costs over a year at 5000 units or kWh ...
2008 costs = £755.94
2011 costs = £703.25
In money terms, our electricity has reduced in price since 2008, unlike the price of coal, which has increased by around 40%. Talk about needing a naths degree to work out how best to save and spend?
Frugal living combined with a curious interest in numbers certainly has its advantages! :)