Feb 2nd, 2017
Living out in the wilds as we do, our central heating and gas runs on LPG which lives in a tank in the garden and is periodically topped up by Calor when we start to get low. Eleven days ago we notified them that we were at 19% and needed a refill. Three phone calls later with no joy and we were at 4% this afternoon when R rang them yet again. We were ensured hand on heart that the gas had been loaded up, was “with the driver” and would arrive today. Of course it didn’t, and now we are virtually out.
Luckily our cooker is electric, we have a (not very efficient) electric immersion heater which will heat the showers if you are patient, and I have a butane cylinder heater in my office. So we have had to batten down the hatches and I have made a little sitting room in the corner of my office by the stove. Although I am very annoyed with Calor (and I think will be changing our gas provider), there is an element of “Little House on the Prairie” about this which is sort of fun. I am sitting listening to the wind and rain outside, and thinking how little fun it would be to have a power cut right now.
This year R and I have it in mind to knock these problems on the head by buying a Tesla “Powerwall II” house battery and some solar panels which will enable us to run lights, computers and supply current to the central heating pump if we lose power. It doesn’t help us with our gas supply though, and trying to run the whole house on solar isn’t practicable for us without making considerable lifestyle changes which we are not prepared to do. Last year I worked out what it would cost to make us off-grid, and even switching every electrical appliance to either a low wattage version or gas, it still came to £35K for enough panels to keep us going in the winter. I’ve no doubt that in a few years this will all be much cheaper though, and perhaps we will do it then. Apart from the Argyll weather we are ideally situated for doing this as we have a large south facing bungalow without much shade on the roof.