Energy users don't know how much they paySurvey also says many find bills hard to fathom

17 March 2008

Gas hob

Eight out of ten people have no idea how much they pay for their gas and electricity, a survey showed today.

Around 82% of people said they did not know what energy rates they were on, while 32% said they found energy bills the most difficult to understand, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

Consumers are twice as likely to struggle to understand their gas and electricity bills as they are their phone bill, and more than three times as likely to find them unintelligible as they are their bank statements, credit card and cable bills.

Meters

The survey - of 1,200 people in January - also found that more than half would like to have a smart meter fitted to their home which would enable them to monitor how much energy they were using and which appliances were most expensive to run.

Around 96% of people who expressed an interest in one of the meters said they would use it to reduce their energy use, while 54% said it would help them to get more accurate bills by paying for their actual rather than their estimated usage.

Trials of the devices in countries such as the US and Sweden showed that on average homes that used them cut their energy bills by between 5% and 10%.

Savings

The Energy Saving Trust said if everyone in the UK used the meters and knocked 5% of their energy bills, households could collectively save £1.2 billion a year and reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 7.4 million tonnes.

Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust, said: 'The lack of transparency surrounding energy usage is one of the biggest problems holding back the UK's fight against climate change. And without the uptake of smart metering, this situation is not going to change any time soon.

'Smart meters help householders work out how much energy they are using, how much they are paying for it as well as showing in real time which appliances are producing the most CO2.'

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