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Inexplicable high usage of electricity by guests


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Hi. May I have your opinion onthis matter please ?

I have received  the highest electricity consumption reading ever experienced  in over a decade, for two weeks spent by paying guests in May this year.

330 units !!

82 as HC and 248 as HP.

Now if my understanding is correct, HC is the electricity used at night time, usually the colder period.  How come they have used three times as much during the daytime ?

My impression is that  they may have left the electric heaters on (3 if not all four that I keep) even when they were away from the premises. Basically: continuously switched on , albeit on thermostat position (perhaps).

What are your thoughts ?

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It's possible. A friend of mine has had her electricity blowing out during the day and eventually called in an electrician. Turned out the gite guests had all the heaters on full, even during the day, every light on, washing machine and kettle ... basically everything you could think of was going on. Then the pool pump would run its cycle and that would be the last straw. I've heard of excellent gite guests who treat the place like their own home, and others who think "well I've paid for it so I'll use everything". However, its worth considering that it has been very cold this year so the heaters may well have been on 24/7, particularly if there were young children or elderly in the gite.
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[quote user="nino"]Now if my understanding is correct, HC is the electricity used at night time, usually the colder period. [/quote]


HC (Heures Creuses) is not applied only during the night, but also during the day. It varies in different regions.

For instance, I have two HC periods in 24 hours: 2pm-5pm and 2am-7am.

The HC period is shown on your electricity bill.

On the old-style bill, it is on the back below montant à régler.

I suspect they left probably the heating on all the time.

I used to have a HP/HC meter in the gite, but I changed it to a basic/normal one after I calculated that it was costing me more money despite the lower tariff, as the paying guests didn't pay attention to the HC periods anyway.

For me, the "savings" in HC during the short rental period did not cover the higher standing charge over the year.

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You dont say the size of the gite or its level of insulation so I am making some assumptions, a small gite, electric heating, probably not insulated to the same extent as  properties in the North of France.

Given the above the consumption of 330 units or about €42 sounds and absolute bargain.

The 3 to 1 split is exactly what I would expect, a heating load used 24 hours, would consume 16 hours of HP and 8 hours of HC, the HP units include other daytime consumption like lights, cooking, etc that the night-time ones dont and you end up with a 3 to 1 split.

Its been very cold this spring, I have returned from a week in the UK and had to put the heating on when I arrived and a few times in the evenings, when I returned to France yesterday I had to do the same and we are now in June, both my places are well insulated and its tight old me paying the bill, if it were an all inclusive gite the heating would be used without concern.

My small one bedroomed buildings which are probably better insulated than most gites can easily consume €30 per week of electricity in winter and thats with me being very carefull, when my flats are rented I expect the tenants to use significantly more and will budget accordingly.

Clare, I had the same suspicion re an HP/HC abonnement used by guests and had decided not to do it, it would pay for itself on hot water usage only (just) but I am sure guests would run out and just switch the ballon on 24/7 and lets face it they are entitled to as much hot water as they want even if they would change their habits if they paid the bill, people are ion holiday after all, they have saved up and for a couple of weeks are away from worrying about paying the utility bills.

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Friends and my son in France said that May was cold, so it must have been the heating and if you think to turn it off during the day when out, then having it on full blast to warm the place up later will still use a lot.

I doubt I would have ever trusted more than 'us' with the HP/HC system. These things have to be used carefully in order to benefit from the cheap rates.


We rented a gite once in a ski resort and we could not over use the electricity. It simply disjoncteur'd. If I cooked on the electric rings we could only have one light on and no heating for example. Makes one very careful.

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  • 1 month later...

Can you tell me how I find out about the different times for the hc periods,I am getting the new bills and it does not show any times just says I am on "tarif bleu".. I was told its 10.30pm to 6.30 am here but am starting to wonder if this is incorrect.

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Hello !

On the back (sic) of  an  invoice dated 2010 - there is nothing on the newest invoices-  at the bottom of the page it  reads:

"Caracteristiques de votre tarif: HC : 23h30-7h30"

Plus, as I have an old compteur electro-mecanique, at 23H30 every night I can it here clicking loudly as it switches on to the HC tariff.

But it maybe that  tariff hours in your region may be different to that in mine , I do not know.



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  • 6 months later...
Hi, We have a one-bedroomed cottage, and the most guests have used in any one week was €43 - during a bitterly cold period, when they were out and about most of the time and so didn't use the log-burning stove. That is for two thermostatic wall radiators, one heated towel radiator, hot water and everything else. They paid up without a quibble, commenting that was about what they had expected. However, after realising quite early on that guests are never going to be economic in their consumption, unless paying for it themselves, we changed our policy and began charging them for electricity. Most guests seem to think this is entirely normal in France. In fact, whenever we stayed in a gite in the past, the electricity was always metered and charged as an extra. It's made no difference to our level of bookings, but to be fair it is a budget rental, so they are probably still only paying an average amount for a week's stay, even with the electricity charge.

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I remember this post when it was live last year. Out of interest I just looked up our reading, and for the first two weeks of May we used 470 units. That's just the two of us in a post 2000 built house. Usage was 260 /210 HP/HC but we do make an effort to maximise HC usage.
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