Tag Archives: gas

liz jones and the gas man

21 Feb

london 7.34am 12C, (very mild) sunday 2016

as i sit in my flat, looking out on a grey cloudy day, so that today there is no rosy glow in the sky , which would happen about now as the sun is rising; though it is so warm, i dont mind not seeing this glowing sky.haha.

i read in the daily mail liz jones’ saga with her gas boiler. she says it is -12C where she lives, somewhere in the yorkshire dales. (i thought she had sold that and come back to london to live, but maybe she cannot come back to london. prices have gone beyond her.)

‘What are you doing?’

‘I can’t switch this on – the valve outside has corroded.’

‘Well, it was OK before you got here. Can’t you replace the valve?’

‘I’m not authorised to work outside.’

‘What? I’ve seen all the adverts, where British Gas makes me safe on my own planet. Your van has a sign that says, “Looking after your world.” It should read, “Looking after your boiler indoors.” ’

‘You have to have a gas-registered engineer to replace it.’

‘Well what on earth are you?’

‘We just do boilers.’

but reading her it reminded me how happy i am that i got rid of the gas meter, and disconnected myself from the gas supply. i dont have to deal with the gas ‘engineers’ ever again. what joy!!

disconnect gas supply, black legged chicken, mortgages, vendor finance

31 Oct


update 5.11.13 gasman came today at about 12pm to remove the gas meter. it was a quick operation. so i have finally severed all gas supply to the flat, and likely removed myself from any gas supply forever. i am one customer who has completely removed himself from the gas chain. i have a feeling a lot of people will be doing the same as me. at least those of us who are independant minded and go against the majority. 

update 1.11.13 gas man failed to turn up to remove the gas meter, and when i called the centre to find out what happened, and to get another appointment , they said he was running late and is now finished for the day and gave me another appointment on 5nov, and as compensation with the delay they gave me £20. rather nice of them (maybe because i had to call them twice being put on hold for 20mins each time; fortunately the call is an 0800 number so is free to me.  i did not make a fuss over it. one get used to this. it is almost the sine qua non of modern life.

funny thing is after my call to the call centre, i got a call from the gas man saying he is on the way, but he never turned up. and no reply when i called him back to ask him if he is coming or not. haha. i wonder if he had got the wrong address. going to the wrong address is not that far fetched because this happened a few weeks ago when a gas man rang my bell, and when i ask him for identification he showed me the message on his phone with the appointment and i saw the address was not mine.

I am waiting at home for the gas man to come disconnect the gas supply by removing the gas meter. They are supposed to come between 9am-2pm, and it is 12.10pm.

I don’t have any qualms about shutting down my gas supply completely. This is because I allready know that I don’t need it, having gone through 5 winters without need to switch on the heating, and also I am confident that if ever I do need to have heating, the electric heaters will be sufficient and it wont be costly.

Even now, it is warm in the flat… 18C , without any heating on. it is 13C outside.

I saw the bbc ‘supermarket secrets- autumn‘ yesterday (here is the iplayer link)and learnt a few things… that apples can be stored in controlled temperatures to delay ripening and so even though picked about now (October) when unripe they can keep till april next year. Can they be considered fresh? I wonder.

And saw the new breed of chicken sold by sainsburys, with its dark legs to differentiate it from the currant breeds which have such huge succulent breasts. That have always been a marvel to me when I see the huge breast meat on the chickens sold nowadays. No wonder that breed is so popular. I have seen kampong chickens in Malaysia, which are so thin and meatless. You think you are paying for skin and bones.
I have not seen these black legged chickens on sale in my local sainsburys. not yet anyway. 

This new breed of dark legged chickens (which don’t look very nice when u look at it with the dark leg tucked inside the cavity) don’t have breast that are that large. Maybe they taste better.

I was chatting in pavel’s blog about vendor finance, which sounds to me such a good way of financing yet it is not widespread in uk. When I think that here we get mortgages of 25yrs, and with interest rates that is variable and determined by the lender, so that at the end u might be paying 3x the original loan, it makes me realise why mortgage selling is so lucrative and popular with the banks, whilst vendor finance is not.
Yet so many of us are fighting to get those 25yr mortgages to buy housing. When it should be the banks trying to persuade us to sign in to their exorbitant bit of chicanery.

There are buyers willing to sign into this mortgages all because they want to own that property. Why? because in the long run, u are paying it off with money that is being reduced in value by inflation, and also that property is a constantly rising asset and u get tax deductions on the interest if u make that property a business, which u can do by getting income by renting it out or renting a room or two.

 the value of the property  might dip down during a recession but the general trend must be up… simply because there is not a lot of  new housing being produced . still, a 25yr mortgage is a very expensive way to finance it but the whole tax system is geared to make u continue with it.

btw, all this rising property prices apply especially to uk, and esp to the south england ; where green belt, planning permission, climate and the sheer numbers of people who want to live there, makes land expensive and in short supply. 

I think when people say more new housing must be built to alleviate the shortage of housing, one important proviso must be they are not for sale, only for rent. But no one is advocating that. I wonder why?It is not tax efficient to rent, as there is no deductions for it. is that the reason why no one is building just to rent only? 




How David Camerons energy reforms put my gas bill up 583% | Donnachadh McCarthy | Environment | theguardian.com

25 Oct

How David Camerons energy reforms put my gas bill up 583% | Donnachadh McCarthy | Environment | theguardian.com.

this guy seem to have been caught in the same trap as me. we are low users, (he much lower than me. amazing… his gas bill is £18 a year, and zero electricity bill.)

but the standing charge immediately bunged up his bill by £95 a year for gas and another £95 for electricity.

i got rid of the gas by asking british gas to disconnect my gas and that means removing the gas meter. there is no charge for that. though i was warned there will be a charge if in future i want to reinstate it. If i intend to sell the flat in future, it would not be good to have no gas supply, but since i shall never sell, it is not a problem. anyway, the new buyers can easily afford to reinstate the gas supply if they want gas. i daresay most new housing must be solely electric nowadays…  no point paying two standing charges.  in the past the gas tariff was very much lower than electricity, but i dont think it will be so in future as we are seeing gas prices rising faster than electricity.

they will be coming to my place to take away the gas meter on 31st oct.

it is easy for me to do that as i dont intend ever to use gas again.

and now guess what, the electric main oven is not working. it wont go up to the temperature on the thermostat. so for the time being we shall use the top oven.

normally, i would be looking to replace the oven, but simon told me his mum had bought another halogen oven and ask him whether he wants the old one. so we shall be getting that and that solves our oven problem. the halogen oven is better than the conventional one. i think it uses less electricity.

so things are changing but it is changing in a manageable way. haha.

john and i went to the see the male nude exhibition of drawings in the wallace collection, in hertford house, in manchester square in central london. it has been ages since i visited that place and it is nice to see it again.

one thing i noticed, Fragonard’s ‘ the swing’ is missing, unless it is not part of the collection. i thought it was, i vaguely remembering going there to see it long ago. maybe i was mistaken.(i was not mistaken, it really is part of the wallace collection, i wonder why it was not on display when we went there. 

the male nude drawings has only 40 sketches, so it is quite a small exhibition. when i saw them, i wished i could draw like that. they have sessions for people to copy the sketches and also have a live model and u get supervised by an artist who might be able to give u tips. 

 £34 include materials, per person to join in.

no heating club

13 Oct

It is 8.11am Sunday, and I look out of the window and I see a cloudy grey day drizzling with rain. I like it, a nice change but also it is warm in my flat. yet, I don’t have the heating on.
The outside temp according to the weather website is 10C, but inside my flat according to this NHS thermometer which is given free to warn old folks about low temperatures says 18C, ‘comfortable house temperature.

It makes me wonder why no one ever advise others who are facing huge heating bills to just switch it all off. Have no heating at all.

That would drastically reduce the bill to zero.

What not to like, right?
So why have no one suggested it?
Well, I am going to do just that, and be the first to suggest it and hope plenty more will give it a try.

Start small, as it were.
In my case I thought I shall start 5yrs ago by not switching heating on till January, as most of the time jan and feb are the most cold months.

Then jan, feb came and I kept putting it off switching on the gas heating, until winter was over.

That made me realise that it is possible to weather winter without heating.

It is this gradually dawning of what is possible, and shedding all the preconceived ideas that seem to be brainwashed into us;  that it is possible to have no heating and be quite comfortable…

Then you start finding ways that will keep you warm.
Like for eg, coming back from a walk outside… you find yourself really warm, so much so that u have to shed some clothing.

Then drinking or eating a very hot soup or meal does wonders … you literally sweat and have to shed clothing again. U get a bonus too, in that cooking a meal warms the place up.

These two may be sufficient to keep you warm all winter.
But then u also learn which clothing are more effective in keeping you warm. Fleece !! Is the short answer in my case.

And hoodies, and scarfs, and gloves and socks. And wear layers.

And draw the curtains to cover the windows at night.

Then I noticed my body beginning to adapt to low temperatures, so much so that I don’t notice it being cold anymore. I would open the windows a notch in the day time to keep the flat fresh and allow ventilation.

The temperature gauge can list 12C indoor temperature and I don’t notice it. It is not often it gets to 12C, even with no heating on, I guess the flat is well insulated and I think it gets heat from the neighbouring flats, esp downstairs flat.

So I suggest u give it a try. Switch off the heating. Or maybe u already are doing it. In which case I would love to hear your experience.

Is there anyone else who just don’t require heating on at all?

I have a feeling you have to be quite an independant person, willing to try new things, and very determined. either living alone, or owns your flat, and be quite strong minded so that even if u have someone else living there, you are the boss in it. It’s likely u dont have children. i think you will be in your 50s upwards. this may surprise others, as most people think old people are the ones least able to withstand the cold, but older people are sometimes the ones who are the most thrifty, having lived in an age when they know about scarcity and want, so plenty of older folks are determined individuals and frugal. well, i think that is the profile of those likely to be in the no heating club.added. i think u will be living in a flat rather than a house, and in the city and its suburb,  rather than in the countryside.

i have been googling, and found this link to how to cope with no heating.  i haven’t found anyone anywhere in the world living in cold countries who dont have heating at all out of choice. I am unique it seems. Looks like i am the only member of the no heat club. haha.

Energy price rise sparks new political row over power bills | Money | theguardian.com

11 Oct

Energy price rise sparks new political row over power bills | Money | theguardian.com.

I think labour’s ploy to win the next election by pandering to people’s desire to fix prices will backfire. not only that people might see it is to blame for the increased prices, but recognise it as a cheap ploy to bribe us to vote for them.

it will increase prices because it will encourage the utilities companies to raise prices more than warranted from now on ,as a safeguard  in case labour wins the next election when the prevailing price will be fixed.

They(the utilities companies) have nothing to lose and all to gain. if labour wins, then by raising the price of gas and electricity by more than warranted means the price at that time of election will have already taken into account the price freeze for 2yrs. And if labour fails to win the election, why then the companies get that extra profit . Either way, the public from now on will see higher price rises than if labour had not said so early that it will freeze prices.  it is a bad own goal by labour, but we the public is paying for it.

by giving notice of a price freeze so early before the elections, labour has lost the surprise element. Why give away your plans , you might ask. the only anaswer must be this price freeze is a political ploy by labour to appeal to the electorate. they are hoping to bribe the public to giving them votes.

Lets hope the public realise this, and not vote in labour, and then maybe the price rise will slow down after the elections as the companies realise there wont be a price freeze.

i think what anyone of us  savvy consumer can do is to cut the use of gas and electricity to the bone. and that means switch off the gas, and do not heat the house. that would be the extreme solution but can be done. who can do it you ask? well i am doing it. i know i am extreme , in that i dont have it on at all. but i do know of some who dont switch on the heating until well into jan, feb. or bring down the thermostat to 17C or less.

though if u are going to do that , lower the thermostat,  u might as well go the whole hog and switch it off. that pilot light can use up a lot of gas.

and dont forget the hot water boiler too. switch that off… boil a kettle instead. and have short electric showers.

however you do it, cut down the usage of gas and electricity drastically and you wont mind how much they raise the prices for you wont be affected.

if you only use gas for heating(and not for cooking too) , switch the gas off completely especially those who dont have a standing charge.

that is why i am rather amused at the fuss over the price rises, i can laugh because it does not affect me very much. when the cost of my electricity is £ 55  every quarter, a 10% rise is is only £5.50.

added 12.10.13

Chart showing the pattern of energy company price changes over the last three years

i am with british gas. i am pleased to see that even though they have increased the price, my bill has remained the same. how did i do it? because i have consistently reduced my usage, that is why.

elect bill nov2012-jan2013

5 Feb


My electricity bill came today.


I used 323kwh in 92days (nov2012-jan2013)and the bill came to £56.96

3.51kwh per day
17.6p per kwh
62p a day.

My quarterly bill for nov2012-jan2013 was about 100kwh less than the nov2011-jan2012 bill.
323kwh this quarter, as opposed to 416kwh last time.

And the link to my jul-oct2012 bill
Shows 335kwh for 92days costing £59.81


Amazing that I used that much less over the colder months of dec, jan and I did not even noticed it.


The tariff has changed too.
It was first 30kwh @ 23.513p =£7.05

next 31kwh @ 11.203p = £3.47 total £10.52


And changed to first 152 kwh @ 21.170p =£32.18
subsequent 110kwh @ 12.96p =£14.32 total £46.44

The difference on the first 180kwh is £42.318-£38.106= £4.212p

There is definitely an advantage in not using too much electricity. Below a certain level, it seems I get a cheaper tariff.

The gas bill came as well, but that is zero.