Determining the Cost of Household Bills

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It’s quite common for the size of the property you live in to correlate with the cost of your average monthly household bills. The larger the property, the more energy consumed, generally speaking.

For example, larger homes require more energy for heating and cooling. It’s also likely that there are more people living in them; you would expect a family of four to use more energy than a couple.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ formula to determine the average bills for a 1 bed flat, 3 bed terrace, or any other property type. While the type of property you live in may correlate with your energy usage, it doesn’t definitively dictate it. Take the following assumptions of energy usage based on property type as an example:

Flat/Apartment

  • 1/2 bedrooms
  • Work/study full time
  • No energy-consuming appliances (i.e. tumble dryer, dishwasher)

Terraced House

  • 2/3 bedrooms
  • Young family - All day electricity usage
  • May have energy-consuming appliances, used moderately (tumble dryer, dishwasher)

Semi-detached

  • 3/4 bedrooms
  • Family – All day electricity usage
  • Energy consuming appliances used frequently

Detached

  • 4+ bedrooms
  • Large family - Constant energy usage daytime/evening
  • Multiple appliances running frequently, plus electrical appliances, heating and cooling, etc

While there may be some truth in these examples, let’s be honest, they can’t be entirely accurate for everyone out there. There are other factors than just property type which can influence your average household bills, such as lifestyle choices.

For example, what if a family of four living in a three bedroomed detached house are incredibly eco-conscious? They could, theoretically, consume less energy than a couple living in a flat who leave the heating and the lights on 24/7.

A more accurate way of determining energy consumption is placing a household in an energy user group.

UK energy industry regulators Ofgem have defined domestic consumption levels of high, medium and low energy users. Energy suppliers and comparison sites use these user groups to determine quotes, and you can use them too to estimate your average bill costs.

Ofgem suggest the following for yearly energy consumption by user group:

  • Low energy user = 8,000kWh gas and 2,000kWh electricity
  • Medium energy user = 12,500kWh gas and 3,100kWh electricity
  • High energy user = 18,000kWh gas and 4,600kWh electricity

So, our eco-conscious family of four could, in theory, be low/medium energy consumers, whilst the couple in the flat could have medium/high energy consumption. Taking into account all the factors – your property type, family size, lifestyle, etc – is a much more accurate way of estimating the cost of your energy bills.

But, average bill costs also depend on the efficiency of a property. No matter how switched on our family of four are when it comes to energy, if their house lacks good insulation, double glazing, draught proofing, etc, then they could be paying for more energy than is necessary. To find out how you could improve the efficiency of your home, click here.

If you are unsure of your levels on energy consumption, installing a smart meter could help you to monitor how much you’re using. Or why not use UKPower.co.uk’s running cost calculator to help you better understand your electricity usage.

By: Hannah Corbett - Home Energy Expert
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