Saturday 19 November 2011

Just how much jigging does it take?

Although we have seriously been trying to cut down our electricity consumption – and thought we were doing quite well – the bill arrived yesterday with the annual statement.

Yes, we have reduced our overall usage but unfortunately, we haven't managed to save much money due to the two price hikes this year totalling 6p per unit overall. Those hikes come on a 14p per litre oil rise and a £20 log price increase (mainly delivery).

We did quite well in the first half of the year and the 1p+ new price didn't do us much harm. However the 4p+ rise in September has stung us and lets face it, with the colder months coming up it's only going to get worse.

On the positive side, our winter fuel payment is due shortly. It won't cover us for the colder period of November – April for all these price increases but it will help. Being married to a pensioner has its rewards – said winter payment, a loving, encouraging and cheerful companion, a walking buddy, great DIY skills. Most importantly of all though is his willingness to encompass my mad ideas on saving and eating cheaply and well; without either a backward glance or a moan. He's just lovely!

We are still using the logs left from last year and managed to put some oil in our oil tank (at the princely price of 62p per litre). Then we had new logs to get in etc.

Thank goodness for the milder weather. This month so far we have had the central heating on maybe once or twice a week for about an hour at a time to stop a buildup of cold. The wood burner has been lit most evenings and has done a grand job. All lights are off except in the room we are in, we wander in the dark to get to another room. This can have its drawbacks like when someone leaves a chair in the middle of the room and someone else walks into it and stubs their toes – ouch! 

Doors are kept shut (except when the wood burner is lit else we fall asleep). A jumper and long socks keeps us cosy during the day and if it gets really cold, we start the fire earlier. This seems to be happening each day now around 3.30pm so it must slowly be getting colder as only a few nights ago, we had been able to get to 6pm before lighting it.

We had cut the immersion heater down to twice daily at 45 minutes each. That has now been switched off except when we want a bath (we haven't got a shower). We will invest in a tin bowl to warm washing up water in the oven if we've used it, otherwise we'll pinch some before a bath, or on odd occasions boil a small amount.

We like a challenge. We've done it before when on full wartime rationing (these books have fantastic ideas for saving money, time and energy). We can do it again.

Mind you, if all the utility companies continue to have such price rises - what happens when you can't cut down anymore?

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