Falling Energy Prices-Can They Fall Further?

As discussed in our blog from March we are beginning to see the energy market return to more normal pricing. The price cap for July will fall to £2,074 from £3,280 set in April. Consumers have been paying £2,500 due to the Government’s Energy Price Guarantee. Therefore with the cap at £2,074 consumers will begin to benefit from some relief. However gas and electric prices are still above the levels seen before Russia invaded Ukraine.

The Price Cap is expected to fall to below £2,000 by the third quarter of the year. However this is still substantially above the £1,100 level seen in 2021. There are now some fixed price deals available for consumers, but with lower prices ahead it might pay to wait to fix your supply. Octopus Energy will be introducing a variable tariff from the beginning of July. This deal will track wholesale energy prices by the day. A deal that might suit households who use most of their energy off-peak.

Ofgem CEO Jonathan Brearley said:

“After a difficult winter for consumers it is encouraging to see signs that the market is stabilising and prices are moving in the right direction. People should start seeing cheaper energy bills from the start of July, and that is a welcome step towards lower costs. 

“However, we know people are still finding it hard, the cost-of-living crisis continues and these bills will still be troubling many people up and down the country. Where people are struggling, we urge them to contact their supplier who will be able to offer a range of support, such as payment plans or access to hardship funds.  

“In the medium term, we’re unlikely to see prices return to the levels we saw before the energy crisis, and therefore we believe that it is imperative that government, Ofgem, consumer groups and the wider industry work together to support vulnerable groups. In particular, we will continue to work with government to look at all options.”  

One element of our energy bills that doesn’t get a lot of attention is the standing charge. These charges have gone up somewhat unnoticed over the last few years. in 2021 standing charges were 51p a day and are now expected to rise to 84p per day later this year. That is an increase from £185 to £307 per year. With lower overall bills on the way the standing charge could make up to 15% of your total energy bill. The reason for this is apparently to cover the cost of the 31 energy suppliers that have gone bankrupt in the last two years.

On a final note. Writing blogs for Carter Electrical Installations over the last three years I have learnt so much about the energy markets and Green Energy. My one main observation would be how the high energy prices has driven the boom in households and businesses installing solar panels, inverters, storage batteries, EV chargers and Air Source Heat Pumps. As alternative energy sources boom the long term trend for oil and gas prices could be down, especially if the Ukrainian crisis is resolved. Wishing my successor all the very best. Phil

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EV charging point

Take Tesla Battery With You

Removal and re-install of Tesla battery for new home

Some very good clients of ours recently moved to Herefordshire. We were delighted to be asked by them to remove their Tesla battery from their house in Reading and refit it in their new home. People are making major investments in green energy for their homes so that it is good to know that most elements of a solar system can be removed and used in new houses. It is rare that solar panels are moved as the costs of removal make this prohibitive. Also, newer panels are much more cost effective than older ones.

We have written several blogs about the benefits of installing storage batteries and their pros and cons. After a period of shortages we are also noticing a better supply of Tesla Powerwall batteries now.

As well as fitting their Tesla Powerwall storage battery we added 17 x 425 Trina Vertex modules (solar panels) and SolarEdge optimisers and an inverter. This was to minimise tree shading and allow a couple of elevations. Along with this we fitted a MyEnergi Zappi electric car charger. This was a great project to work on as our clients will now be generating plenty of power from their panels, storing it in their Tesla battery and running their electric vehicles from their generated power. We’ve called it the Triple Solution

Please do get in touch with us if you’d like any more information about whether your installations can be moved or indeed if you are starting out on the green energy journey.

Carter Electrical Helpers Bailey & Pebbles
All of our work in Herefordshire was watched over by Bailey and Pebbles.

Read other Tesla related articles:
Tesla Powerwall Installation In Reading
Approved Installers of Tesla Powerwall 2 Batteries
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energy price update

Lower Bills Ahead?

It looks likely that with falling natural gas and oil prices household energy bills could slip below the government’s Energy Price Guarantee (EPG). One of the energy suppliers, Ovo Energy, have announced a 12 month tariff of £2,275 to existing customers that is below the EPG of £2,500 (for the average family home). If energy prices fall further it is not unlikely that deals could come on the market this summer for £2,000 per year. These deals are still almost double what they were before Russia invaded Ukraine, but it encouraging to see some competition return to the domestic supply market.

Energy price guarantee

The Energy Price Guarantee was brought in to protect consumers from the soaring price of gas and electric reflected by the Energy Price Cap (EPG). The Energy Price Cap has risen from around £1,000 per annum 2 years ago to a high of £4,279 this January. Therefore the government have been subsidising households this Spring to the tune of £1,800 per year. £4,279 minus £2,500 =£1,779. Now with prices likely to fall below the EPG the government will no longer be subsidising households to such an extent. It is possible that the Energy Price Cap will fall further from its present level of £3,280 to around £2,000 this summer.

Green energy investments for your home

Obviously forecasting oil and natural prices is fraught with danger. With OPEC announcing production cuts this week, and the price of crude rising sharply, nothing is written in stone. And with fighting still going on in Ukraine it is very hard to make accurate predictions. Therefore we still advise householders to use the rest of the year to improve the insulation in their homes, and maybe look at Green energy projects for their houses. The return on investment for Green energy is still good even with annual power bills around £2,000. Don’t forget that their are still government grants available for certain projects, especially installing Air Source Heat Pumps.

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tesla powerwall installation reading

Best Ever Testimonial for Installation of Green Energy Products

Installation of solar panels, Tesla Powerwall battery and Air Source Heat Pump

This project in Caversham has been a full installation of Green energy products. We installed 10Kw of solar panels with a supporting Solar Edge inverter and hot water diverter, a Tesla Powerwall battery, an Air Source Heat Pump from Midea, and a Mixergy smart tank. A fully integrated solution. So much so that the client has had his gas supply removed.

Please read Nigel’s glowing testimonial below.

“From the moment we contacted Carter Electrical, they demonstrated a deep understanding of our renewable energy goals and provided a high-quality service.

Renewable energy solution

Their team worked closely with us to design and implement a custom renewable energy solution for my home, covering; solar, heat-pump, battery, smart hot water tank, underfloor heating and car charger.

The installation process was completed rapidly, with Matt getting us up and running before the winter set in. The team were flexible during the installation and were able accommodate additional panels on our roof.

Since the system was installed, we’ve seen significant reductions in our energy bills. In mid Feb for the first time we achieved full independence, going a full day on solar and battery alone. We’ve also had the gas meter taken out. Having independence and energy security were core objectives of our project and Carter’s helped to deliver them for us.

We highly recommend Carter’s to anyone who is looking to start saving money on their energy bills and doing their bit for the planet.”

Nigel Markey

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tesla powerwall installers reading

Green Energy Projects-The Heat Goes On.

2023 has started out extremely busy for us here at Carter Electrical Installations. We are working on several projects, both commercial and residential, where clients are looking for Green energy solutions. So as well as having solar panels fitted clients are looking for solutions by adding storage batteries, EV chargers and Air Source Heat Pumps. We described this as the Triple Solution in a blog last year.

Clearly the surge in energy prices last year is driving demand for Green energy solutions. The return on investment on installing these products is so much higher when gas and electricity prices have soared. Also helping is the easing of supply chain bottlenecks, although some products are still on fairly long lead times.

Emmer Green Energy Project

We recently completed a project in Emmer Green where we added more solar panels, an immersion diverter and a Zappi EV charger. This project will be completed next year when we add a Tesla storage battery. This is one of the products that still has a long lead time.

The solar panels were mounted on a K2 system and we installed a Solar Edge 4kw inverter. The EV charger is from myenergi Zappi and we also installed an Eddi immersion diverter from myenergi.

Caversham Energy Project

The project highlighted in the header picture is from our recent work in Chazey Road, Caversham. The client is so pleased with the results that he has cut off his gas supply and gone fully electric. This was a comprehensive project with 10kw of solar fitted to SolarEdge inverter, with optimisers to maximise panel performance and minimise the effects of shading, a Tesla storage battery, a Samsung HTQ air source heat pump and a Mixergy smart hot water cylinder. This is a serious investment by the client but has superb outcomes with lower bills for most of the year and insulated against price increases.

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air source heat pump reading

Game Changer

It’s the new Samsung HTQ (High Temperature Quiet) unit.
Extremely quiet, very efficient Air Source Heat Pump and has the ability to get flow temperatures up to 70°C. This means it has the potential to be a direct replacement for boilers, without the need to upgrade cylinders and majority of radiators.

All of a sudden heat pumps are becoming an affordable option.

In addition to this energy suppliers are offering flexible tariffs to work with heat pumps to give cheaper energy windows for times when the unit can run hotter for hot water generation. 

Want to learn more about the Samsung HTQ? Watch the video on You Tube

The photos below are from a recent project in Thatcham where we installed the new Samsung HTQ. Later in the year Solar PV will be installed so running costs will be very low.

Please do get in touch with us if you want to find out more about installing an Air Source Heat Pump. Please call us 0118 967 7033 or email us admin@carter-electrical.co.uk

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Solar panel installation

2022 and all that

For this our December blog we are going to look back on our blogs posts from 2022. Little did we know how prescient our first blog of the year was going to be. Titled “Coming to your in 2022-Higher Energy Bills” we predicted that the energy cap would rise sharply in April. What we didn’t know was the Putin would order the invasion of Ukraine and send gas and oil prices soaring further. The energy cap will rise to £4,279 in January.

However consumers are protected by the Energy Price Guarantee until March 2024. The Energy Price Guarantee protects consumers reducing the unit cost of electricity and gas so that that a typical dual fuel direct debit bill for January 2023 remains at £2,500 and will be increased from April 2023 to a new level of £3000. Ofgem are also moving to quarterly price cap updates.

Lets hope that energy prices saw their peaks in 2022 and that wholesale prices of gas and oil continue to fall further. We have offered advice in a couple of blogs of how to save money and how to run your gas boiler efficiently.

We further addressed price inflation in our blogs for May and June titled The Perfect Storm-Parts 1 and 2. As well as energy price inflation these two blogs discussed the shortages in the supply chain affecting our electrical business. Some parts have been in acute shortages all year and have affected our work flow and deliverability on projects.

The rapid rise in energy prices has led to a record year for Carter Electrical Installations with our Green Energy projects. We have covered the installation of Green Energy in several blogs this year. Offering advice on the best products to use and how to run things efficiently. We have seen good demand from golf courses to install Solar PV and storage batteries and covered the topic in our July blog-Golf Courses Go Green. We also wrote blogs on Solar Panels and how they work and storage batteries-Battery Power

Carter Electrical are a local to Reading family run company, that has built up plenty of experience in installing Solar PV, inverters, storage batteries, EV chargers and Air Source Heat Pumps. Its this combination of skills combined with our electrical contracting background that makes us quite unique in the industry. The one issue that we continue to focus on is recruiting more electricians with experience of green energy. Though we do offer training in this area for qualified electricians. We covered this subject in our August blog-Are You Looking For A New Challenge?

It just remains to wish all of our readers, customers and suppliers a very merry Christmas and a successful and healthy New Year. Best Wishes from Jon, Matt and the Team

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Nest heating

Getting the best out of your gas boiler.

Heating your home accounts for up to 60% of what you spend in a year on your energy bills (Energy Saving Trust). Therefore anything that you can do to improve the efficiency of your boiler and radiators will lead to significant savings.

Depending on your boiler’s age, a new efficient condensing one could save you up to £315 a year. However a new installed boiler will set you back anything from £1,800 to £3,000 depending on the boiler of your choice and the size of your house.

Adjusting your thermostat at home

If you only have one thermostat for your home, turning it down by 1°C would save around £145 a year, according to estimates from the Energy Saving Trust. For most people, the lowest comfortable temperature to set your heating is around 18°C. 

What many home owners don’t realise is that their boiler can be made to run much more efficiently. The ‘flow temperature’ is the temperature your boiler heats up the water to before sending it off to your radiators. Most gas boilers are set up to operate at what is called 80/60 flow and return temperatures. This means the boiler heats up the water to 80°C. The water returns to the boiler after travelling around all your radiators at 60°C, having given off 20°C to the room.

However an 80/60C flow is too high for a condensing gas boiler to achieve the A-rated efficiencies claimed by the manufacturers. Your installer should have reduced the flow temperature to give the boiler a chance to run in what is known as ‘condensing mode’ as much as possible. This is when you will make a decent level of savings.

Efficiently running your heating in your home

The correct temperature setting for heating on a boiler is ‘as low as possible’, but as a guide most older homes can run their heating systems at 60°C and newer homes at 50-55°C. They start to reach their very highest efficiency potential at 45°C flow temperature or lower, but this can be too low for older properties.

Ultimately how low you can turn your flow temperature down will depend on the size of your radiators, how well insulated your home is and your thermostat temperature. For homes with modern double glazing, cavity walls and good levels of loft insulation you should be able to drop your flow temperature down with no impact on comfort. Even older homes, particularly terraced houses, will be able to do this if they have been modernised and draft proofed.

Smart heating in your home

There are also a raft of smart heating controls like Nest and Hive that allow you to control your home heating via and App. Why have your heating on when no one is at home? Or turn the heating on remotely when you are on your way home? If you add smart thermostatic radiator valves to your smart heating controls you can really start to make savings. At Carter Electrical we recommend fitting Nest and have good experiences with that brand.

Thermostatic radiator valves and a smart heating controller allow you to divide up your home into various zones and then offer smart heating in each zone, so your guest bedroom is heated only when required, the master bedroom is warm in the morning and at bedtime, and the kitchen is cosy at breakfast and tea time.

Get in touch if you would like more advice or if we can help with any electrical and heating issues.

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Solar panels Reading

Saving Energy-Saving Money

We have written several blogs on the subject of saving energy and there are many great blogs out there that also give excellent tips on how to use less power. Therefore we have decided to share some of our favourite blogs from the internet and highlight the best tips to save money this winter.

6 tips to cut your energy bills:

We like this article from the BBC as it gives six simple tips to cut your energy bills that don’t cost a fortune to implement. They are

1) use an air fryer or microwave instead of an oven,

2) install LED lightbulbs,

3) turn your central heating down,

4) insulate and draught proof your home,

5) use your appliances more economically

6) and finally take shorter showers!!

We have previously written a blog about LED lightbulbs

This blog from EDF goes through the house in more detail giving you some more great ideas on how to save on your energy consumption

There are obviously larger expenditures that will save you money in the long run and many of these investments are now showing good returns as the price of energy has soared. Investments such as the installation of double glazing, solar panels, air source pumps can cost thousands of pounds but can indeed save you thousands of pounds over the long run. There are also government grants to enable households to make these green investments.

Installation of storage batteries

Installing a storage battery can also prove to be a good investment as the battery will store the electricity generated by your solar panels or the cheap electricity that is available to purchase overnight. Our latest blog discusses the merits of Tesla and Huawei Luna storage batteries.

You can also take this questionnaire on the UK Government website to see if your home would benefit from home improvements that could make your property cheaper to heat and keep warm.

Please do get in touch with us here at Carter Electrical Installations if you’re thinking about embarking on any of these projects.

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Battery power

Battery Power

Two of the most popular storage batteries available on the market are the Tesla Powerwall and Huawei Luna. We have installed both products so thought that a good idea for a Blog would be to compare and contrast their features. Storage batteries, alongside inverters, are becoming increasingly popular as domestic customers look to store the power created from their solar panels and then release the electricity when needed.

All batteries store DC (direct current) power, and solar panels produce DC power. But home appliances use AC (alternating current) power. This is where inverters and rectifiers come into play.

When solar panels produce DC power, it runs through an inverter, where it’s converted to AC, then flows through your house. If you have a backup power system, excess energy that’s not used in the home will keep flowing to charge your battery. It will need to run through a rectifier to be converted back to DC power in order to be stored in the battery.

Storage batteries have been in limited supply over the last two years due to many different issues. However we are beginning to see an improvement in the situation with Huawei becoming more available. Tesla batteries are still on a 12 month lead time but we do have some coming in soon.

The Powerwall

Our view of the key features:

*built in back up facilities 

*great name and product

*good product for retrofit arrays eg. Solar already installed 

Here’s a snapshot of key Tesla Powerwall specs:

  • Energy Capacity 13.5 kWh
    100% depth of discharge
    90% round trip efficiency
  • Power 7kW peak / 5kW continuous
    Quick backup transition
    Pure sine wave output
  • Size and Weight L x W x D
    45.3″ x 29.6″ x 5.75″
    1150 mm x 753 mm x 147 mm
    251.3 lbs / 114 kg
  • InstallationFloor or wall mounted
    Indoor or outdoor
    Up to 10 Powerwalls
    -4°F to 122°F / -20°C to 50°C
    Water and dust resistance to IP67
  • CertificationsMeets local safety standards and regulations
  • Warranty10 years

Huawei LUNA2000 Battery key features

Huawei LUNA battery

Our view of the key features:

*Comes in smaller 5kw segments so easier to handle when Installing and capacity can be expanded with ease.

*High end product. 5kw max output power. Most other battery products, excluding Tesla, can only produce power up to 2/3.0kw

*DC coupled so no need for DNO application (general applications take 12 weeks)

*Good for new installs

  • High Voltage Lithium (LFP) modules with 100% DOD
  • 5kWh capacity per module scalable up to 30kWh
  • Power output per module, 2.5kW continuous, 3.5kW peak
  • AI-powered internal cell short circuit diagnosis to avoid fire hazards
  • Cell-level temperature control to detect overheating
  • Optimizer-enabled 0V rapid shutdown for safer installation and maintenance
  • Internal heating system for better performance in extremely cold climates
  • 10-year warranty

Modular battery system

The LUNA2000 batteries are made using lithium iron phosphate cells and can be stacked up to three high for a maximum of 15kWh of storage capacity per stack. However, the system can be expanded with a second stack offering up to 30kWh of total capacity with two stacks in parallel. Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) is widely known as one of the safest and most stable battery chemistries available for energy storage applications due to its wide operating temperature range and reduced risk of thermal runaway (overheating).

Compact, slimline design

Storage Battery
Huawei LUNA2000 battery system installed

The Luna2000 system is one of the most compact batteries available with a very small footprint thanks to the slimline design, which is quite appealing compared to some of the other more box-like batteries. The top section of the battery system is the power module, technically known as a BMU or battery monitoring unit, which is similar to other stackable battery systems controlled via a top-mounted BMU to provide the interconnection and communication to the inverter. The Huawei power module has inverter connections for flexible connection options on either side, while the main isolation switch and an inbuilt fuse are located on the right-hand side. The front led display features a round dial of ten LED lights to indicate the battery state of charge; this is a neat and unique way to indicate the state of charge.

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