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Households waste £1.3bn by not switching off gadgets

Tahmina Mannan
Written By:
Tahmina Mannan

Not fully switching off everyday gadgets may be costing the nation up to £1.3bn in electricity bills every year, according to a new study by the Energy Saving Trust.

The study also revealed that the UK is now watching 10bn hours more TV than previously thought, adding an additional £205m to electricity bills.

The study called ‘Powering the Nation’, conducted by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and the Energy Saving Trust, allows us to see the actual day-to-day use of electricity across the nation and what is actually happening in people’s homes.

The study is the first of its kind in the UK to measure and monitor electricity in real time in real-life situations, breaking down what electrical items are being used, when, for how long, and how much power they are using up.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “Using energy more wisely in our homes will not only cut carbon but will also help save money on bills. But first we need to really understand how we use this energy in order to become more energy wise.

“This report provides insights into what is happening on the ground, highlighting the need for more energy-efficient household electrical appliances and indicating which appliances contribute most to electricity demand at peak times. This research will help us to understand and manage household energy demand.”

Powering the nation reveals that people’s relationship with energy, and level of usage, is actually more than previously thought. The results from the Household electricity use field trial, which gathered data obtained from 251 monitoring systems in owner-occupied households, showed that consumers are still getting to grips with minimising their energy consumption around the home and that more work is required to help homeowners make the right choices.

In addition, the report also found that single-person households were seen to be using as much, and sometimes more, energy on particular appliances as typical families.

Environment Minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach said:

“As this survey shows we are using a lot more energy than previously thought. Manufacturers need to develop more energy-efficient electrical products and help consumers save money and the environment. We can all do simple things like switching off our televisions, computers and other home electronics and save up to £85 on electricity bills each year.”

The government is working with the EU to ensure that Green Energy Labels are displayed on all new electrical appliances displayed for sale, providing clear and easily recognisable information for consumers about the relative energy consumption and performance of domestic appliances.

Philip Sellwood, Chief Executive of the Energy Saving Trust, said:

“It’s crucial that households across the nation can make informed decisions by having the right advice to help them reduce their energy usage and fuel bills. This research shows that there’s still more work to be done with consumer advice, product innovation and take up of energy-efficiency labelling.

“We continue to support industry and consumers though our Energy Saving Trust Recommended labelling scheme which helps consumers spot the most energy-efficient products in each category.”