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Off colour

Blogging will be slow, I think. I'm a bit off colour, the new boiler is arriving today and there's work to be done.

In the meantime here are some bits and pieces:

James Delingpole was on the BBC Big Questions show. This was the programme that I was considered to appear on (James suggested me, I gather, for which thanks are due). The climate bit starts from 45 mins.

Congratulations are due to Steve M, Anthony W, Jo Nova and Tallbloke for their clean sweep in the Bloggies.

I've also had this transcript from Hansard sent to me. The noble lords are considering smart electricity meters. Their discussion may well be worthy of some analysis, although I am not going to get time to look at it myself for a while.

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Reader Comments (58)

I love the way the Bishop said he drove over the Brecon beacons and that he would like to preserve them "for the children" and then said we should change our ways, which presumably means stop driving cars!
I love hypocracy

Get back on colour quickly Bish.

Feb 27, 2012 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Tolson

Dreadnought, 11:57

Thanks for confirming my experience which was based on power bills I saw from a place in the Alps. The tariff was very similar.

Talking to folk in France I had the idea that the system was universal but clearly that is not the case from Richard Stephens' comments and others. I have no idea why that should be so. Maybe old systems? Or areas with relatively low proportions of nuclear? I understood that it was driven by the large-scale adoption of nuclear and the resulting incentive to spread the loads.

Feb 27, 2012 at 2:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeH


How does not driving help preserve them?

Feb 27, 2012 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P


As far as I know the off-peak contract is available anywhere in mainland France. 81% of electricity production is nuclear and you don't need to be a graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique to see it makes sense to store the overnight production in the consumer's hot water tank.

The rates I quoted were last year's and were before VAT and other taxes. The current rates from the EDF website are:

off-peak 0.0895 euro/kWh
normal 0.1312 euro/kWh

Feb 27, 2012 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought

Dreadnought Feb 27, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Just checked my electricity bill:

Heures creuses (off-peak) 0.0557 euro/kWh
Heures pleines 0.0901 euro/kWh

We have a big well-insulated hot water cylinder on a time switch. We're happy with the price and the lads on the night shift down at the Centrale Nucleaire are happy to get shot of the leccy. Simples.

Yes, French nuclear electricity is cheap but, to get the actual cost, you do need to include the other charges, not just the raw charge per kWh.

* abonnement (standing charge)
* contribution tarifaire d'achemimenant (CTA) (contribution to distribution, I assume)
* taxe sur la consommation finale électricité 0.00904 €/kWh
* contribution au service public d'électricité 0.00900 €/kWh

For 12 months ending October 2011, I used 12,358 kWh (total heures creuses and heures plaines).

The total of the bills over this period came to 1,515.19 €, making the overall cost 0.12 € per kWh.

At the bottom of the bills, in very small print is some information on the different sources of electrical energy.

Origine 2010 de l'électricité:
81% nuclear
7.9% hydraulique
2.8% other renewable - presumably wind generators and solar panels.
3.4% coal
3% gas
1.6% oil
0.3% other

Feb 27, 2012 at 7:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

As Dave W @ 12:22 reminds: get your installer to pay particular attention to the Condensate Drain. Keep as much of it 'indoors' as possible, and, insulate well, the external part.

[For non-techies reading this - the most-common reason for condensing-boiler "breakdowns" in sub-zero (C) weather is condensate freezing, then blocking - causing the boiler's safety-device to trip out.]

So Bish, you're getting a new, high-tech, all-singing, all dancing condensing boiler. Well done, it'll save you about 12% energy use compared with (say) a 15-year old boiler. It'll save ~ 20% energy use compared with say a 25-year old boiler having a cast-iron heat exchanger.

Sadly, the powers-that-be who calculate 'savings' fail to factor-in the reduced reliability of the more-complex controls & the shorter life-expectancy of light-weight heat exchangers due to the acidity of the condensate.

Feb 27, 2012 at 8:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Mike Haseler: "we need to first get rid of the stupid laws on DIY electricity, which e.g. stops me putting in a socket at my mother's house."

Why would you take any notice of such a law? It is a bad law and it is unenforceable.

Feb 27, 2012 at 9:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJane Coles

The other favourite of boiler installers is to drill a small hole in the nearest drainpipe or rainwater conductor, insert the condensate drain and seal with silicone. Drain then blocks (often because its got a condensate pipe sticking into it) and backs up into the boiler, ruining it.

Feb 28, 2012 at 12:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterNW

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