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High cost of not switching off

High cost of not switching off

Category: Gas and electricity

Updated: 26/06/2012
First Published: 26/06/2012

MONEYFACTS ARCHIVE
This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

A new study has revealed the high cost of leaving home electronics, such as televisions and computers, in standby mode.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change's investigation into household energy usage found that standby consumption is much higher than previously estimated, costing the UK up to £1.3 billion in electricity bills every year.

In terms of individual households, electronics left in standby mode amount to nine to 16 percent of domestic power demand and can add up to £86 a year to the average energy bill. This compares with an average annual electricity bill for all households monitored of around £530.

The study is the first of its kind in the UK to measure electricity in real time using monitoring systems placed in occupied homes.

Interestingly, the study showed that single-person households use as much, and sometimes more, than typical families when using certain appliances.

It seems the UK is a nation of couch potatoes, with the average household spending six hours per day watching television, up by one hour on previous estimates. This equates to an extra 400 hours of viewing per household a year and will cost the nation, on average, an extra £205 million a year in total.

"As this survey shows we are using a lot more energy than previously thought," Environment Minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach said.

It is hoped that the results of the study will go some way to helping consumers to understand and cut down on consumption where possible.

"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," added Lord Taylor.

"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," said Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker.

"This report provides vital 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."

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