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Being a ‘nosey neighbour’ could cut your bills

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17/01/2013
New report recommends households compare their energy spending.

Would you be more inclined to do something about soaring gas and electricity bills if you knew your next-door neighbour was paying less than you?

The answer is yes, according to a new report which claims comparing bills with more energy efficient neighbours could reduce household energy costs by as much as £70 a year.

The report from think tank, Policy Exchange, recommends allowing households to anonymously join a new scheme which would let them compare their bills with people living in similar size properties.

The report says such schemes, which would encourage or ‘nudge’ people to make lifestyle changes, could compete with existing methods such as installing loft insulation for government funds to cut the cost of household emissions.

It proposes extending an energy efficiency subsidy scheme – the Energy Company Obligation – to allow schemes that can help households to cut energy use to compete for subsidies against support for existing measures such as solid wall insulation. Eligible actions could include comparisons of energy as well as home energy visits that show people where they are wasting energy and better leaflets on how to cut bills.

Encouraging people to take action on reducing their bills would also help the government take full advantage of the roll-out of smart meters, which will see 53 million new gas and electricity meters installed in homes across the UK over the next seven years, the report says.

Guy Newey, author of the report, said: “Smart meters have the potential to help change the way we use energy in the homes. But they won’t change habits on their own. Households need support to understand where they can make savings, if you find out your neighbour is paying £50 a month less for their energy, you’re much more likely to do something about reducing your own energy use.”

How happy would you be to share your bills with your neighbours? Would you find this an invasion of your privacy? Get in touch by leaving a comment below or emailing the editor: joanna.faith@incisivemedia.com

 

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