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Advice about electricity choices and use

28 April 2020

At CODE, we give you the flexibility to choose how you pay for your electricity. You can decide to be billed for your actual use (exclusive contract) or pay a set £10 fee per month for a yearly amount of electricity units (inclusive contract).

Students with an ‘average’ electricity use should not exceed their allowance or end up with high bills – but sometimes your charges might be higher than you anticipated and that’s because of the amount of energy you’ve used.

If your bill has suddenly increased or you are getting close to your allowance, we thought it might be helpful for explain how we calculate your bill:

  • * We send out our team to collect the meter reads each billing period – and update you as soon as we can by getting in touch about your usage.
  • * We go to a lot of effort to ensure we don’t overcharge tenants, checking and double checking readings several times and investigating use before the unit price gets to our tenants.
  • * We take a meter reading for your flat specifically – so bills are calculated using actual reads. The majority of your bill is calculated based only on what electricity you have actually used.
  •  * Your bill also includes something called ‘standing charges’. This is set by our energy supplier and these costs include the price of keeping you connected to the energy network and network maintenance. Part of your standing charge will also go towards the cost of government initiatives aimed at helping vulnerable homes and reducing carbon emissions.


What am I using my electricity on?

One of the questions we get asked a lot is “why am I using so much electricity?”. The answer is it really depends on your individual use. Long showers, or leaving your heating on for long periods of time, can all contribute to a higher bill.

Our meters only record total units used and we cannot breakdown what items in your studio contributed to your bill. However, the independent national charity Centre for Sustainable Energy has given advice on what appliances use the most electricity and the table below shows the average* cost of using each item.

If you are looking to save money, it might be worth limiting how often or for how long you use power-hungry appliances.

Appliance Cost to use per hour (pence)* Cost to use per 10 mins (pence)*
Electric shower 105-156 17.5–26.0
Immersion heater 45 7.5
Kettle 45 7.5
Oven 30–33 5.0–5.5
Hairdryer 30 5
Grill/hob 15–30 2.5–5.0
Iron 15–27 2.5–4.5
Toaster 12–22 2.0–3.5
Microwave 9.0–22.5 1.5–3.5
Vacuum cleaner 7.5–18.0 1.0–3.0
Dehumidifier 4.5–10.5 0.5–1.5
Plasma TV 4.0–6.5 0.5–1.0
Towel rail 3.7–7.5 0.5–1.2
Fridge-freezer 3–6 0.5–1.0
Heating blanket 2–3 0.3–0.5
LCD TV 2–3 0.3–0.5
Desktop computer 1–3 0.2–0.5
Games console 0.5–3.0 0.1–0.5
TV box 0.5–0.6 ~ 0.1
Laptop 0.3–0.9 ~ 0.1
Video/DVD/CD 0.3–0.9 ~ 0.1
Tablet (charge) 0.1 <0.1
Broadband router 0.1–0.2 <0.1
Extractor fan 0.1–0.5 <0.1
Smart phone (charge) <0.1 <0.1

 *All calculations are based on an assumed unit rate of £0.15p per kWh and rounded up or down to the nearest 0.5p or 0.1p as appropriate