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Energy bill voyeurism could help cut bills

Sneaking a peek at your neighbour’s energy bill could help you cut your energy bill, study finds.

PeekingA new report from the Policy Exchange claims that households will cut their energy use when they compare themselves against a neighbour who uses less.

The think tank spoke to residents in Camden, London, and found they cut their bills by 6% or £70 a year when they compared their bills to neighbours in similar properties.

They are arguing that schemes like this could be paid for by the government’s new energy efficiency subsidy, the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which should allow energy-efficiency initiatives to compete for funding.

The Policy Exchange estimates that measures aimed at changing energy consumption were seven times cheaper than building capacity for new power generation.

The report also recommended:

  • Closer cooperation between government, community groups and civil society to champion the use of smart meters;
  • A national advertising campaign showing the energy-efficiency benefits of smart meters;
  • A review of Ofgem and the government’s proposals to cut down the number of energy tariffs, which could damage the potential of smart meters to offer better tariffs.

Smart meters can help

Speaking to the Telegraph, the report’s author Guy Newey said: “Helping people to cut their rising energy bills and avoid wasting energy is one of the most important things the government can do.

“It is also one of the easiest and cheapest ways of reducing our carbon emissions. 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 your 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.”

  • Allan Lewis

    E-ON provide a very good “Energy Saving Toolkit” which includes as a small part, the ability to compare your usage with that of 100 neighbours in your area with similar houses. Unfortunately it still has a few teething problems and it puts my brand new house with major energy saving investment as using 2 & a half times more power than the average and 5 times more than the best house in my area. My new house which is a third bigger than my last energy efficient house (and I heat a larger percentage of it) is costing the same in energy so there is not a lot wrong with it or it’s Air Source Heat Pump. I think the problem is that I live in a rural area and all my neighbours are using oil, bottled gas or solid fuel for hot water and heating as their is no mains gas for miles. E-ON have no knowledge of my neighbours’ heating and hot water costs so are comparing my total energy costs with my neighbours’ lighting and cooking electrical use so my point is that “Energy Bill Voyeurism” could have it’s problems.