Author Topic: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh  (Read 737 times)

robgul

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Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« on: October 29, 2020, 08:00:49 pm »
I'm grappling with the energy supplier that has failed to bill us or even respond re the gas and electric we've consumed since we moved here in February 2020.

What I'm trying to work out, for the gas, is the conversion from Cu Ft as measured on the meter to Kwh which is the "unit cost" chargeable

The question:  I know that there is a calculation related to calorific value - what is it?    -  and more importantly is it a fixed/constant calculation across all suppliers?

The electric is easy as the meter records Kwh so I can work that out.

The supplier is Avro energy - what I'm also trying to do is make comparisons with British Gas for supply where it seems there may be a deal that includes boiler servicing bundled in the deal.

Having had a good look round with quotes based on the annual consumption at our previous house and the decision is staying with Avro (who supplied the house before we bought it) or moving to British Gas (where the boiler, alone, is under contract at the moment).
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Kim

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Re: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2020, 08:08:47 pm »
From my last gas bill:

Quote
Your energy usage is calculated from your gas consumption using a standard industry formula:
Units Consumed (Cubic Metres)
x Volume Correction (for temperature & pressure)
x Calorific Value (energy in each m³ of gas)
÷ 3.6 (convert from joules)
= Usage (in kWh)
= For example:
32 x 1.02264 x 39.4 ÷ 3.6 = 358.2

Those example numbers appear to be the ones used to calculate the bill in question.  AIUI the volume correction and calorific value fudge factors are industry-wide and supplied by the people who actually deal with gas to the people who print bills on a regular basis.

Divide cubic feet by 35.315 to get cubic metres.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

ian

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Re: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2020, 08:11:43 pm »
The calculation should be on the bill. I believe someone wise on another thread pointed out there's some daily mechanism for setting the calorific conversion rate which I assume they average for the billing period. But it shouldn't vary between suppliers, just the unit rate.
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Re: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2020, 08:30:30 pm »
The calculation should be on the bill. I believe someone wise on another thread pointed out there's some daily mechanism for setting the calorific conversion rate which I assume they average for the billing period. But it shouldn't vary between suppliers, just the unit rate.

That was me.  The CV is a daily number, broken down by geographical zone, and published by National Grid.  It should not differ by supplier as they should work from the same industry data.  Suppliers use a straight line average, which isn’t entirely accurate.  The only way to do it properly is to get daily meter reads which will, eventually, be facilitated by smart metering.

robgul

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Re: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2020, 10:08:29 pm »
The calculation should be on the bill. I believe someone wise on another thread pointed out there's some daily mechanism for setting the calorific conversion rate which I assume they average for the billing period. But it shouldn't vary between suppliers, just the unit rate.

Yebbut we haven't had a bill and the supplier isn't very forthcoming in answering emails or the phone to provide information . . . .

Three online converters give figures for the equation which don't match Kim's - and online/automatic calculators for another two that have "enter your cu ft" each give different results.

Confused? - I am
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Re: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2020, 10:14:27 pm »
Kim’s equation is correct.  Plug your meter readings into that.  If you use a CV of around 39 it’ll be close enough.

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2020, 10:19:27 pm »
For some reason, when they messed up our readings, the conversion was 3.5. I presume a factor of ten snuck in somewhere (Kim's conversion factor is correct, but I can't remember where the decimal is on the actual meter). But anyway, what they billed us for gas was x3.5.

They do make it unnecessarily complicated, of course, which I suspect is the point. It doesn't per se matter, the conversion should be same for any supplier and I doubt it varies hugely (though rob might correct me on that).
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Kim

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Re: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2020, 10:34:02 pm »
They do make it unnecessarily complicated, of course, which I suspect is the point. It doesn't per se matter, the conversion should be same for any supplier and I doubt it varies hugely (though rob might correct me on that).

It's presumably one of those rigorous legal requirements under the Weights and Measures act or similar.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

robgul

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Re: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2020, 10:35:05 pm »
Given the way it's calculated I'm wondering if the seemingly low unit rates and standing charge are offset by juggling the cu ft to kwh rate to actually charge more?? i.e overstate the kwh which is unit charged.  The company does have a bit of history with the Off whatever it is regulator
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Re: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2020, 07:45:39 am »
From my Avro statement (London)
Volume Conversion Factor: converts your meter units to metric.    
Imperial meter - 2.83 or Metric meter - 1.00          
Volume Correction: Accounts for changes in your volume of gas    
based upon temperature and pressure.             
Calorific Value: the measurement of the energy content of gas    
which varies throughout the year             
Convert to kWh: Divide by 3.6 to give number of kilowatt-hours    

and
Meter Units 127.20
Volume Conversion Factor 1.00
Metric Units 127.20
Industry Standard of 1.02264 Volume Correction x 1.02264000
Calorific Value x 39.2
Convert to kWh / 3.6
kWh Used 1416.4



Re: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2020, 08:01:59 am »
It's a shame road fuels aren't charged by kWh, or even mass.  You get the odd situation that the amount of energy per litre varies according to temperature and composition; petrol/diesel is the big one, but E10 contains less energy than E5 or straight petrol.
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robgul

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Re: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2020, 08:02:09 am »
From my Avro statement (London)
Volume Conversion Factor: converts your meter units to metric.    
Imperial meter - 2.83 or Metric meter - 1.00          
Volume Correction: Accounts for changes in your volume of gas    
based upon temperature and pressure.             
Calorific Value: the measurement of the energy content of gas    
which varies throughout the year             
Convert to kWh: Divide by 3.6 to give number of kilowatt-hours    

and
Meter Units 127.20
Volume Conversion Factor 1.00
Metric Units 127.20
Industry Standard of 1.02264 Volume Correction x 1.02264000
Calorific Value x 39.2
Convert to kWh / 3.6
kWh Used 1416.4

Thanks - I'll apply those numbers to my spreadsheet to see what I get with comparisions, also calculate the un-billed amount . . .  and wait for Avro to reply.

Out of interest, if you are an Avro customer - I don't want a fixed monthly DD (i.e. level year-round) but to pay as I go monthly by DD (read meters, send numbers, they invoice each month for actual consumption and then take the payment) - do they do that?   That's one of my questions that remains unanswered.
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Re: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2020, 08:46:57 am »

Thanks - I'll apply those numbers to my spreadsheet to see what I get with comparisions, also calculate the un-billed amount . . .  and wait for Avro to reply.

Out of interest, if you are an Avro customer - I don't want a fixed monthly DD (i.e. level year-round) but to pay as I go monthly by DD (read meters, send numbers, they invoice each month for actual consumption and then take the payment) - do they do that?   That's one of my questions that remains unanswered.

Let me rephrase that and you can make up your own mind ;)

You want the benefit of DD pricing, without allowing the companies to have the benefit of credit balances.

You reckon anyone does that? You can monkey around with the DD amount, but there's limited value. Work out what you use, set the DD correctly  and tune from there. The alternative is quarterly billing, but that doesn't get you the best rates. FWIW, I'm happy with Avro at the moment but I check whenever I am out of contract.


robgul

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Re: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2020, 09:03:44 am »

Thanks - I'll apply those numbers to my spreadsheet to see what I get with comparisions, also calculate the un-billed amount . . .  and wait for Avro to reply.

Out of interest, if you are an Avro customer - I don't want a fixed monthly DD (i.e. level year-round) but to pay as I go monthly by DD (read meters, send numbers, they invoice each month for actual consumption and then take the payment) - do they do that?   That's one of my questions that remains unanswered.

Let me rephrase that and you can make up your own mind ;)

You want the benefit of DD pricing, without allowing the companies to have the benefit of credit balances.

You reckon anyone does that? You can monkey around with the DD amount, but there's limited value. Work out what you use, set the DD correctly  and tune from there. The alternative is quarterly billing, but that doesn't get you the best rates. FWIW, I'm happy with Avro at the moment but I check whenever I am out of contract.

.... at the previous house, until Feb 20, we were supplied by British Gas - before we had smart meters I read the meters each month, put the numbers in an app and they billed for consumption (in fact it was so quick that by the time I got from the garage and the meters to my desk there was an email with the invoice value) - that was then paid by DD on the same nth day of each month.  When the smart meters were installed they sent me an "as consumed" bill.   The rates were no different from a fixed value or pay as you go DD.

It seemed that the DD was for convenience in getting paid promptly rather than as an amassing money "treasury" function.   So the answer to not wanting the supplier to have money in advance is - yes.

Our consumption across the year varies quite significantly thus I'm happy to pay bigger and smaller bills as and when consumed.

At the moment Avro's lack of response is a frustration - I WANT to pay them but they, in 8 months, can't get their act together to (until earlier this week) open an account, tell me the tariff or send me a bill.

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Re: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2020, 09:13:06 am »
So-energy gives the choice of flat or varying DDs.

If you want to change to them, PM me for a referral and we'll both get £40  ;D

ian

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Re: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2020, 09:34:33 am »
Given the way it's calculated I'm wondering if the seemingly low unit rates and standing charge are offset by juggling the cu ft to kwh rate to actually charge more?? i.e overstate the kwh which is unit charged.  The company does have a bit of history with the Off whatever it is regulator

I doubt they can do that, I'm sure the conversion is regulated. They can juggle standing charges and unit rates, of course. Probably, rob be around to correct me in a moment. Mostly they seem to make their margins on (I presume) hedging the price they pay and costs. You see that the latter end of that equation in billing and any kind of support. But like all utilities, they figure that most of their customers most of the time don't have a problem.

Thanks to the Ham-ster for finally explaining the magic 3ish factor that got us the gas bill north of £1000 when they muddled our imperial metrics. I was about to say that you have no idea how long that took to sort out, but if you're reading this, you probably do. I've no idea how mortals without a PhD in practical demonology would figure out the bills, I'm still wondering if the previous owners of this house weren't just paying three-and-a-bit times for their gas.
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robgul

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Re: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2020, 09:38:21 am »
So-energy gives the choice of flat or varying DDs.

If you want to change to them, PM me for a referral and we'll both get £40  ;D

Thanks for the offer - based on a quote of the last 12 months at the old place Avro is about 15% cheaper . . . . looks like the biggest difference is the standing charge daily rate causing that.
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Re: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2020, 09:45:45 am »


.... at the previous house, until Feb 20, we were supplied by British Gas - before we had smart meters I read the meters each month, put the numbers in an app and they billed for consumption (in fact it was so quick that by the time I got from the garage and the meters to my desk there was an email with the invoice value) - that was then paid by DD on the same nth day of each month.  When the smart meters were installed they sent me an "as consumed" bill.  The rates were no different from a fixed value or pay as you go DD.

It seemed that the DD was for convenience in getting paid promptly rather than as an amassing money "treasury" function.   So the answer to not wanting the supplier to have money in advance is - yes.

Our consumption across the year varies quite significantly thus I'm happy to pay bigger and smaller bills as and when consumed.

At the moment Avro's lack of response is a frustration - I WANT to pay them but they, in 8 months, can't get their act together to (until earlier this week) open an account, tell me the tariff or send me a bill.

And there you have it. You were with BG, I'm guessing on a tariff that was not especially competitive in the marketplace. Avro USP is that they are competitive. You  pays yer munney, etc.

I think the issue is common to all "bargain basement" suppliers - their operational model is based around handling the 95% of cases that have no issues. If you fall into the 5% you are buggered because they just don't have the resource. There's really no magic in selling you a commodity that largely costs the same from the wholesaler, the money has to come frorm somewhere. And the kicker? Just because you pay more, doesn't mean the service will actually be better. But with the cheapos, it can't be. (Some will have deployed clever IT to give a semblance of better support, eg Ovo, but they have lost market position at the bottom end of the cost ladder to the likes of Avro)

I have two accounts with Avro, my own and my MiL (in Coventry) and have had no issues getting refunds, changing DD etc, but that has all been on automated systems. I dread the day I may have to rely on a human, they won't be there.

robgul

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Re: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2020, 10:01:55 am »


.... at the previous house, until Feb 20, we were supplied by British Gas - before we had smart meters I read the meters each month, put the numbers in an app and they billed for consumption (in fact it was so quick that by the time I got from the garage and the meters to my desk there was an email with the invoice value) - that was then paid by DD on the same nth day of each month.  When the smart meters were installed they sent me an "as consumed" bill.  The rates were no different from a fixed value or pay as you go DD.

It seemed that the DD was for convenience in getting paid promptly rather than as an amassing money "treasury" function.   So the answer to not wanting the supplier to have money in advance is - yes.

Our consumption across the year varies quite significantly thus I'm happy to pay bigger and smaller bills as and when consumed.

At the moment Avro's lack of response is a frustration - I WANT to pay them but they, in 8 months, can't get their act together to (until earlier this week) open an account, tell me the tariff or send me a bill.

And there you have it. You were with BG, I'm guessing on a tariff that was not especially competitive in the marketplace. Avro USP is that they are competitive. You  pays yer munney, etc.

I think the issue is common to all "bargain basement" suppliers - their operational model is based around handling the 95% of cases that have no issues. If you fall into the 5% you are buggered because they just don't have the resource. There's really no magic in selling you a commodity that largely costs the same from the wholesaler, the money has to come frorm somewhere. And the kicker? Just because you pay more, doesn't mean the service will actually be better. But with the cheapos, it can't be. (Some will have deployed clever IT to give a semblance of better support, eg Ovo, but they have lost market position at the bottom end of the cost ladder to the likes of Avro)

I have two accounts with Avro, my own and my MiL (in Coventry) and have had no issues getting refunds, changing DD etc, but that has all been on automated systems. I dread the day I may have to rely on a human, they won't be there.

... not strictly accurate on the tariff from BG - not the absolute best but acceptable - spreadsheet is suggesting that BG's offer for me as at last night is about 5% more for consumption BUT has a boiler service bundle that may balance that out. 

I shall wait for up to 7 days and see what Avro says - if they don't respond then I'll vote with my feet.
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ian

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Re: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2020, 10:39:41 am »
I can vouch for the fact that BG and EDF are no better when it comes to wanting them to resolve an issue. All utilities make their margins on the same thing, paring down service and people.

That said, we're on BG in part because of this and mostly through inertia. I can't be bothered looking at spreadsheets of costs to save a couple of quid each year. Horses for courses, that sort of thing rots my mind. I spend my days looking at spreadsheets. Which I should be doing right now, ha.
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Re: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2020, 11:03:04 am »
The other thing that will effect your comparison is how long ago you contracted with Avro vs the rate you're getting today.   In the last few months all suppliers have put their prices back up as the wholesale market has risen again after being in the doldrums all Summer (excess renewable generation vs 20% reduction in demand).   I contracted here on a one year fix with Octopus mid Summer and I can't get anywhere near that deal today.

A word to the wise on monthly payment plan DDs.   On these schemes customer balances fund the suppliers business but it is highly seasonal.   What you really want as a supplier is an April start as your DD running at a 1/12th of forecast annual cost will leave you cash positive all Summer before heading into the more costly and higher demand months.   There's less interest in taking on new customers at the moment as you're essentially out of pocket for the first 6 months that you supply customers.   You also have to pay the switching sites £50-60 up front to acquire the customer.

One supplier (Tonik) collapsed a couple of weeks ago and there's another couple that appear to be close to the edge.   It's a really difficult market to make money in.

I think one strategy employed is to sell fixed price retail power but not hedge forward, buying in the spot market instead.   It's a dangerous strategy which would have really paid off this Summer but would be costing now.   If you want to be short commodity markets then just trade futures.

 

Re: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2020, 05:26:17 pm »
Tonik customers transferred to Scottish Power.  They put me on a very expensive standard tariff, the robdogs.  Immediately applied to switch.  They get 2-3 months at that tariff, though, because of the switching lag.  Bastards!
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Re: Gas calculation - cu ft to kwh
« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2020, 05:30:29 pm »
Tonik customers transferred to Scottish Power.  They put me on a very expensive standard tariff, the robdogs.  Immediately applied to switch.  They get 2-3 months at that tariff, though, because of the switching lag.  Bastards!

Technically you can switch much quicker.  There is nothing in the data transfer process that stops this, it’s down to contractual and regulatory reasons like a cooling off period.

The SoLR process really doesn’t ‘protect the consumer’ as much as Ofgem make out.