Wednesday, 15 June 2016

#EstimationNation Bake Off with Smart Energy GB

In early May I was invited by Smart Energy GB to attend an event organised to highlight the absurdity of estimation in our daily lives. We don’t and wouldn’t accept it in other parts of our lives yet seem to have no problem using estimation to pay for one of the largest household bills, our gas and electricity.

On 19 May the date had arrived, hubby had managed to say nothing of what was in store* and I made my way through the streets of trendy Hoxton, dodging hipsters, the pools of beard wax on the pavement outside overpriced bars and artisan coffee houses to Open Kitchen.

So, what was on the cards? Well, it was described as a strange an unusual punishment in a jokey way, but it actually turned out to be four hours of fun, laughter and a great chance to see how other bloggers coped with the challenges. Hosted by Ian Cumming of chocolate well fame from a certain baking show had developed two recipes for us to try and bake, the twist being that the recipes didn’t have any measurements, we had no way of measuring anything and we had no idea what temperature and for how long they had to be baked for – everything was to be done using estimates.


As we had an odd number I had the beauty of lots of advice and assistance from Ian. Without it I would have been lost, completely lost and despite his expert help I have to say the first challenge resulted in lovely looking cakes but on tasting them they had a sharp taste. Way too much bi-carbonate of soda!

As the chefs from Open Kitchen made their way around the work stations to judge the offerings we had come up with we adjourned downstairs to a beautifully decorated area where we learnt more about smart meters and how they will bring an end to the age of estimation and drag one of the last analogue industries into the digital age. We even got to watch a short hidden camera video showing the reaction of shoppers when a supermarket estimates their final bill. I had seen it before but it still makes me laugh. You can see it here:


After taking on some tea it was time for Ian to set the second challenge. Cheese and herb scones! I’ve never made a scone in my life and dreaded this section! After much tutting and deliberation it became clear that I had to get a move on and again I was pulling my scones out of the oven as time was called. These were much worse than the cupcakes and it took about five minutes to chew one bite – not good.

There were prizes for the best estimator bake and to my surprise the worse bakes also received vouchers for cooking lessons with the excellent chefs at Open Kitchen.

I didn’t win, I couldn’t (see the disclosure at the bottom) but that didn’t take anything away from the day which I thought was a fantastic way of bringing energy and an energy related topic to life, brilliantly organised and well executed.

Three things I learnt on the day:  
  • Estimation sucks and smart meters will finally bring this to an end for my bills
  • Ian Cumming is not only a great baker but also he is a genuinely lovely man and it was an honour to cook with him
  • Smart meters will show me, in pounds and pence what I’m spending on my electricity at home - we don’t have a gas supply.

Smart meters are being offered to every household in England, Scotland and Wales between now and 2020 at no additional cost. They show how much energy you are using and do so in pounds and pence so you can use the display to make energy efficiency savings around the home, easy steps like changing to energy efficient light bulbs, turning off lights when leaving rooms and switching devices off standby.

*it’s an obvious disclosure but hubby does work for Smart Energy GB, he offered no help on the day and he even excluded me from the possibility of winning or losing so there could be no accusations of bias. It was fun though and an experience I’ll never forget.

 For added fun you can see how hard this challenge was:











*this post contains PR samples unless indicated otherwise

51 comments:

  1. I have seen other posts from this even. It sounds so cool and I love seeing your creations :))

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  2. Oooh, how exciting that you got to try some of Ian's baking creations!

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  3. Speaking from the side of the fence that didn't have to do any baking I was surprised at how different each bakers cakes and scones tasted. It really did show the absurdity of estimation (but I would say that)....

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  4. The cakes look yum! We really need to start reigning in our gas and electric outgoing a as we are on a fixed rate so have no real idea what we are using. It'd be nice to know if we could save!

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  5. I didn't know that smart meters were now being offered nationwide - that's so good to know. Those cakes look so yummy!

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  6. What a great idea to make a very clear point. We were discussing this in our household just this week we submitted our metre readings and waited to see what the result would be on our monthly payments. It's so frustrating to be guessing all the time for what, as you quite rightly say, is an enormous chunk of our household bills.

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  7. What a great event! Great to know about the smart meters too. How yoummy are you cakes. I could just eat one :)

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  8. Looks like a fun event! I think I'll be hopeless without any measurements, since I'm bad at making estimates. Looks like you did well :) x

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  9. I always measure when I bake as I don't rate my estimation skills. My energy company doesn't seem too good at it either.

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  10. Looks like a fun event the cakes look fab. I'm rubbish at estimating and think that smart meters are the way to go.

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  11. Looks like a fab event! I hate estimated bills, so I'm pleased they are bringing in smart meters!

    Becca

    www.QueenBeeBecca.com

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  12. This sounded like such fun! Might have to try it with my little one :)

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  13. Looks like a great event, I am terrible at estimating, the smart meters sound like a great thing to have x

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  14. It sounds like a great event, and yes, I do have a Smart Meter. I think I probably been quite good at the cupcakes as I bake them all the time, but not the scones! It is daft estimating your bills, it's also good to get your meter readings right. I left a company last year and my hubby gave them my electricity reading for my gas bill and they sent me a £7,000 bill!

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  15. your cake look reallllyyyy yummy. Must look into the smart meter

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  16. I struggle to follow measurements and instructions when I have them so I would have been next to useless with these. At least the cupcakes looked amazing x

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  17. What a great event I think I would have found it quite fun to estimate measurements for cooking.

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  18. Looks like a great event - I wish I could have gone!!

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  19. Mmmm I am craving cake now! Love this post it's super interesting and a fun way to get people thinking x

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  20. I'm in PR so i have to take my hat off ant this campaign idea. Very clever hook

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  21. What an amazing idea! You cakes look good, even if they didnt taste it :P

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  22. What a fun day and a great exercise. I must say as a business we are struggling with the whole smart meter as it relies on having a mobile signal to transmit usage which we don't receive here in our valley in Cornwall.

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  23. Looks like a cool event. We can't have smart meters in our home for a weird reason. Would love go have one.

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  24. Sounds like a really fun event and interesting about the smart meters, I may look into them!

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  25. This event sounds like such fun - and clever too, so show how estimating doesn't always work out!

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  26. If I tried to estimate a baking recipe it would be a disaster! What a fun way to illustrate their point, very clever!

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  27. This looks like such a fun event and what a clever way to show estimating doesn't work

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  28. Hilarious! I definitely couldn't do any baking by estimating, so it does make estimating bills seem a bit ridiculous too!

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  29. we have a smart meter and it's great. you know exactly how much money you have and how much you are spend. I have worked out that it costs me 30p to have a hot bath

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  30. I love these adverts they are so funny and really bring it home to you don't they. Well done on the baking, mine would have been shocking - I like a list to follow otherwise I'm rubbish :)

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  31. This sounds like a fun event, I dread to think what my baking would have turned out like haha. I don't have a smart meter but I probably would as we spend so much on gas & electric x

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  32. This sounds like a really fun event! I don't know much about smart meters.

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  33. What a great event, and a perfect way of teaching people about usage and estimations. I need to sort out my smart meter, as I think I might be shocked by my usage and in turn, try and reduce it x

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  34. Wow this looks like a great event. Cake is always a winner in my books

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  35. I love baking but this really shows how inaccurate an estimate can be - baking's a science!

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  36. Oh wow! What a fantastic and interesting experience

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  37. Looks like a really fun event - and YUM!

    Alina from The Fairytale Pretty Picture

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  38. This looks like a real fun event and a really effective way of getting the message across

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  39. Weve just recently got Smart Meters installed, I find myself doing things around the house and seeing if it changes the bill haha

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  40. Now this sounds like my kind of event. How lovely that you got to meet Ian.

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  41. this looks like it was a great event, an event with cake is always a winner!

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  42. I really want a smart meter fitted and you cakes looks amazing!

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  43. This looks like a great event, what fabulous cakes! I don't like the idea of estimation. I'd rather know exactly what I need to pay, etc xxx

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  44. Baking and meeting co-bloggers at the same time-fantastic event indeed.

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  45. This is such a great scheme and it's amazing that it is being offered to every household

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  46. This sounds supper fun and yummy at the same time!!!

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  47. Its true why do we accept estimation, which potentially makes our bills more expensive than it should be?

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  48. Looks like you had a fab time, baking and meeting bloggers all at the same time, what more could you ask for! x

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  49. smart meters are such a great idea. Check out those cakes... yummy x

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  50. That ad made me smile too! I hope the smart meters come to Northern Ireland too, and free of charge, why is it always left out of promotions like this?xx

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