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Energy, Aga range cookers and your money!

A 4 oven gas cooker now costs approx ~£1300 a year more to run than modern electric, on oil ~£1700. 

It’s been really fun running Blake & Bull recently. We’re nearly half as big again as we were this time last year. We’re getting more done, more efficiently and adding skills. A good example, we now have our very own shotblast machine to restore the cast iron parts of these amazing cookers. It's massive but look at what we can do!



Before, and after! This is a small plate that sits atop the smoke box of a Deluxe model Aga range cooker. Like new after 60 odd years in this case!

Shotblasted Aga part before and after

The wind in our sails of course is the shift, across our economy, from fossil fuels to electricity. This was turbo charged by the war last year and it continues to gather pace. At Blake & Bull we are electric only when it comes to cookers we sell and I’ve never felt better about that decision!

Electricity and gas prices are falling slowly together, oil is volatile but on the up again after the summer and solid fuel is becoming very hard to source (impossible in some cases!). Lets have a look at an up to date graph of the differing running and carbon costs.

Multi element electric remains the cheapest to run and the cleanest. The UK grid so far this year is the cleanest it has ever been on average and we set a ‘cleanest day’ ever record as recently as the 18th of September!

Oil demand is strong and Saudi Arabia is cutting production to keep prices high, given all this we expect to convert a LOT of oil cookers to electricity over the next few years!

With current gas prices the annual saving of going electric is around £1300. Gas is cheaper per kWh but you use a LOT more (5x more roughly) as most of the heat goes up the flue! Only about 5% of the heat generated by burning gas or oil in an Aga range cooker goes into the food! Find out more about how efficient different fuel sources are.

Looking at energy security this winter the picture is much better than last! The National Grid has a bigger ‘safety margin’ so the likelihood of power cuts is much reduced. Last winter we had none in any case!

The biggest push back I get against electric cookers is around power cuts. Without electric most oil cookers will default to low flow mode and slowly lose heat but gas cookers would be unaffected. Thats unarguable but if you want real security then a small generator will power your cooker, give you light and power your devices. Much more flexible.

I think though, for most of us, its just not worth it. The UK electricity grid is VERY reliable and getting better all the time! In 2010, not that long ago!, the average customer could expect just over an hour a year with no power at home. In 2019/20 that was halved to just under 30mins (source). If a Blake & Bull electric Aga range cooker, on and at temperature, had a power cut for 30mins it would be back to full temperature about 10 minutes later!

The gold standard of course is an electric Aga range cooker plus solar power and battery. You can, literally, run your cooker for nothing this way most of the year! We don’t install solar or batteries yet sorry!

Matthew Bates

Matthew Bates

Matthew is from a farming family near Bath and a graduate of King's College London who decided not to follow the 'standard' path into banking or the law. He has been working with these fabulous cookers in some form or another since 2003. Matthew runs Blake and Bull from beautiful Bradford on Avon, near Bath. Alf the golden retriever makes sure the working day finishes at 6pm sharp - dog walk time!