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Ideas for dodging the upcoming peak tariffs

  • 13-10-2021 8:11pm
    Registered Users Posts: 10,230 ✭✭✭✭

    I thought this might be a good thread to post ideas and advice for avoiding peak energy tariffs

    It seems with the rollout of smart meters and all this talk of energy shortages that we're going to be getting higher electricity prices in the evening, probably between 5pm and 9pm, but maybe longer

    Since that's when people seem to be doing a lot of energy intensive stuff (cooking, heating the house/water), it seems some changing habits are going to be needed

    I was thinking people could post ideas of how to move their energy usage around and what impacts they've seen from it

    Personally I've always thought the biggest domestic consumer of electricity is anything that produces heat. When you look at the power consumption of a TV versus an oven, its a few hundred watts versus 2-3kW

    So I was thinking one idea would be to try and cook meals during the day. A lot of ovens have built in timers so you could prep a meal in the morning and set it to a low temp for the day and slow cook one or two meals

    Microwaves are generally quite energy efficient compared to ovens. So batch cooking a few meals and reheating them should save a few euros each day

    The other obvious candidates is the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer. Personally I think they should all be sold with delay timers at a minimum (most of them are now it seems) so they can be run during the night

    Heating the house and water is a tricky one. If you're heating your house with a heat pump then it's generally better practice to keep it at a set temperature rather than running it for short bursts of time. You could build up some heat before 5pm and then turn it off for a few hours. If the house is well insulated then it should keep warm until the night time

    Hot water is a bit more demanding, especially of you need to run baths for the kids in the evening. Only idea I have there is to shift your showers to the morning, or maybe get a bigger and we'll insulated hot water tank so you can heat it up before the peak and it'll keep warm for a while

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost (Escapist magazine)



  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 18,111 Mod ✭✭✭✭slave1

    Just refuse a Smart Meter

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I got the 'smart' meter installed 6weeks back........out of habit I always set the washing machine/ dishwasher to do their magic between midnight& 8AM.......not for environmental reasons.../ just habit. Can't really see any difference in consumption between using them at different times........wonder is this 'smart' meter thing all a bit if a con really??

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,265 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    While not exactly curbing peak usage, one thing I've been looking at recently is replacing my tumble dryer with a heat pump one. The old dryer has given up the ghost after 10-12 years, so it's in need of replacing. In summer of course, the clothes line is the solution, but in winter it's hard to get loads dry.

    Looking at the heat pump type dryers they use about 800watts verses 2kw of an "old skool" unit.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,734 ✭✭✭beachhead

    Without providing any kind of evidence I would say that smart meters are not for the benefit of the consumer and posters on Boards seem to agree.I have a smart meter.I have not activated it for smart tariffs.I receive emails every 2 weeks prompting me to do so.Maybe Electric Ireland will reduce my bill to zero.The emails look promising-in a not believable way.But the sales pitch is over the top.

  • Registered Users Posts: 31,663 ✭✭✭✭listermint

    Have a smart meter a week, have absolutely zero idea if it's going to make any difference. But I'm also aware there are some absolute loopers on boards too.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,734 ✭✭✭beachhead

    and not all are electric boom boom sum fancy themselves as technical head with kilowatts spouting everywhere

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,942 ✭✭✭SD_DRACULA

    This is spot on actually I have one of them and I can see on my smart socket that it is constantly using 800w for about 2 hours that it needs to dry.

    Heating water from electricity is not exactly efficient but during summer doesn't matter if you got solar. I'm running a combi boiler for the heating and instant hot water, gas is still way cheaper than elec and you only heat what you use, 0 waste but I hear they will be phasing out all gas boilers in the future anyway.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,207 ✭✭✭denismc

    Why would you see different consumption at different times? An appliance uses the same amount of electricity regardless of when it is run!

    The only change you might see is to your bills if have signed up to variable tariffs with your energy provider.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,230 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    In theory they can save you money, since they allow electricity companies to divide up the day into as many blocks as they want, down to a 30 mins interval

    This can allow you to get closer to wholesale electricity rates which could save you a lot of money. This is of course dependant on being able to move your demand around to suit the grid prices, without meaningfully impacting your lifestyle. Or store the energy for later use

    There's companies already offering to give the wholesale rate plus a markup to their customers, Octopus Agile tariff being an example in the UK

    The truth, at leat in Ireland, is that almost all of the current smart tariffs are more expensive than the equivalent day/night rates. So until one of the players in the market does something innovative which benefits the consumer, we're going to be stuck with the higher tariffs

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost (Escapist magazine)

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,230 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    True bit in the long run there'll be no running from them. All new builds will have smart meters and anyone hoping to get PV installed to get the FIT will need one too

    And at some point ESB will just increase the network charges for the older meters so as to force people off of them. Or they'll update the regs to say they won't fix any connections that don't have smart meters

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost (Escapist magazine)

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,230 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    We've had 2 of these, old Zanussi gave up after 5 years and wasn't worth fixing. New one is a Bosch and much better, and has delay timers so if there's a load ready during the day it can be set to run at night

    They're definitely more energy officient overall. The main drawback is that they're somewhat slower, 2-3 hours for a full load but if you make sure they're full then its worth it

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost (Escapist magazine)

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,230 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    We've got a heat pump and I did some cost comparisons to gas and it does work out cheaper overall. It'll be interesting to see how gas and electricity prices go over the winter

    One nuisance factor with the current one I have is that it's not very intelligent. The most efficient way to run it is to keep the hot water "on" all day and not use a timer. This is mostly down to the PID controller in it, if it doesn't think it'll get the water hot enough in time then it'll use the immersion heater to boost it, and use a ton of energy in the process

    Having the water on all the time does lead to some unecessary heating but it doesn't seem to have much impact

    Ideally with a smarter system I'd be able to set the times I want the water to be hot and the heat pump would be tied into the smart meter and run at the cheapest times to ensure I had enough hot water when needed

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost (Escapist magazine)

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,496 ✭✭✭irishgrover

    you might think a little differently in a year of two when you realise how much extra you are paying for electricity at exactly the times that you need it :-)

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I have a heat pump dryer for a few years at this stage and it saved an absolute fortune on bills. One of the best machines I’ve ever purchased from a cost savings point of view and it also is much easier on the clothes as they don’t run roaring hot, nor do they dump loads of heat to the room like a condenser dryer.

    I don’t really have big on peak electricity demand though. All my lighting is LED. I don’t heat with electricity and my appliances are fairly efficient.

    The dishwasher goes on with its delay timer to do the dishes between about 5 and 7am.

    Washing machines and dishwashers also aren’t the energy hogs they once were. Most of them are extremely efficient with low water levels when doing the heated part of washes. The older ones used to lash in a lot of water and had no insulation so kept reheating it.

    Things like LED lighting and modern TVs and IT equipment aren’t exactly big consumers off kWh.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,202 ✭✭✭cruizer101

    Here is a chart of typical usage over a day to try give you an idea of what could be moved around.

    It obviously an average based on a number of houses/over long time periods as if you were to look at a daily snapshot of one house you would have bigger/narrower spikes for cooking, washing etc. But gives an idea of what could be moved.

    Lighting is big part of hump and once you have leds and are reasonably carful about turning lights off not much more you can do.

    Washing/drying can be moved to night time, and cooking could be done during day or batch doing it at weekend. Other than that not too much you can do.

    I already do that a bit and until one of them comes out with a better plan where significant savings can be made I won't be losing too much sleep over when I do what.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,230 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    I guess to be fair, at the moment the peak tariffs seem to be about 1c more than the day rate, that might drive an increase over the course of a year but for now it won't make much difference to each bill. Especially when compared to the difference being made by the endless price increases

    But the main thing is that the trend is being set of having peak tariffs, and now that they're here they're only going to go up in price

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost (Escapist magazine)

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,100 ✭✭✭Furze99

    Time for carbon taxes on electricity too - since that's how we generate a lot.

  • Registered Users Posts: 935 ✭✭✭oinkely

    You just need to look at the unit rates for 'smart meter' plans vs the unit rates for 'standard' plans vs those for 'day/night' plans.

    The unit rates for smart plans tend to be marginally to considerably more expensive than the other two, which seems ridiculous.

    From Enregia website just now:

    Standard plan - 15.68 cent per KWh standing charges 265.62

    Feed in Tariff non smart plan 17.16 cent per KWh standing charges €265.62 (can't see what they pay you per KWh though)

    Smart meter plan

    17.17 cent day rate 12.27 cent night rate 17.99 cent peak rate standing charges €265.62

    Day / Night plan

    Day rate 17.34 Night rate 8.32 standing charges €317.93

    Looking at the above the smart meter is going to cost you considerably more at night time and marginally more at peak time than the day/night meter. This will be offset by a marginally lower day rate and the higher standing charges.

    We have a day / night meter and run everything that we can on night rate - dishwasher, washing machine, bread maker, dehumidifier to dry clothes if needed. Charge electronic devices and power banks and charge two electric cars. A smart meter would cost us a minimum of 10% more in our ESB bill than at present with our day/night meter so i won't be getting one any time soon.

  • Registered Users Posts: 530 ✭✭✭yrreg0850

    My only reason for agreeing to a smart meter is, to avoid estimated bills which are rarely under estimated.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,230 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    You could often submit your own readings to you supplier to fill in the gaps

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost (Escapist magazine)

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,265 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    I see/hear this a bit, but I'm often left confused by that estimated bills problem. If you overpay (probably by €10-20 or something) due to the estimation being higher than the reality, then when the next bill comes (which is read by a tech) you will be billed a smaller amount, so you end up paying exactly the same anyway over the 2 billing periods. No?

    What am I missing?

  • Registered Users Posts: 496 ✭✭idc

    With electric ireland if you send a customer reading within 7 days of getting the bill they'll send a new bill with the totals combined, thus in winter the estimate is often wrong as i been using PV all summer and expect a summer estimate to also be wrong after winter!!

    They even told me I could send estimates every month and then pay a monthly bill instead of normal bi-monthly bills!! (basically anytime you send an estimated reading they'll send you a bill!)

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,265 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    That sounds......pretty dumb on their part. It's not hard to have a estimation model which would account for solar, might need a year or two to "self tune" to the customers profile, but not at all hard. But the question still stands though - are people saying that they somehow are paying more in a 4 month period? (Assuming they are on a two monthly billing cycle)

    Estimates might be "off", but they'll rebalance at the next "offical" reading and you shouldn't be paying more/less by a single cent.

  • Registered Users Posts: 496 ✭✭idc

    only had PV a year so maybe their estimates will improve over time. But unless you somehow never give a estimate or let a meter reader do an official reading then it won't rebalance. If rates change then you could in fact end up paying more or less than you should of.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,838 ✭✭✭SouthWesterly

    Energia send an email to submit a reading. 2 minutes of my time and the bill is accurate

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Apologies, I worded that badly. Yep, I meant 'cost' as opposed to 'consumption'.....mea culpa. Anyhow, still I make the same point....appx. 3/4 cents is the difference between putting on dishwasher ( @ 55 ddegree wash cycle) in middle of afternoon v middle of night. I'm not going to be looking at the new bmw7 series with all my 'savings'

  • Registered Users Posts: 31,663 ✭✭✭✭listermint

    I'd pay forty a year to not have to do that . That sounds like just more pain in the whole.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,838 ✭✭✭SouthWesterly

    If 2 minutes every few months is a problem for you. I wonder how you deal with life😱

  • Registered Users Posts: 31,663 ✭✭✭✭listermint

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,838 ✭✭✭SouthWesterly

    I can see that. It would definitely eat into the time you spend here. Can't be having that now can we😱