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Government plans to help cut your energy bills

Electricity costs to be displayed on price tags

The average annual cost of running a fridge, freezer, washing machine and other white goods will be printed on price tags, if government plans get the go-ahead. The proposal would help consumers to manage their energy use, and save money.

According to Chris Huhne, the energy secretary, the difference in average annual electricity bills between an efficient and inefficient fridge amounts to £20 a year. The total saving when the same comparison is made across all electrical goods, including tumble dryers and kettles, can add hundreds of pounds to the annual power bill.

The government’s power initiative would bring the white goods market into line with car retailers, who reveal the average fuel consumption for new vehicles

Power monitor  

The minister also highlighted a new device that monitors the energy consumption and costs of specific appliances. The gadget logs changes in electrical use and can record how much water is boiled in a kettle or the temperature setting of a washing machine. 

Mr Huhne said: ‘Our energy meters today couldn’t be dumber. Every few months, we will get a bill with no idea what we’ve paid to use, and usually even the amount is only an estimate. 

‘In the future, smart meters will tell consumers exactly how much they spend, when they spend it. And smart meters could open the door to new gadgets that put consumers back in charge of their bills. Knowing the running costs of a fridge or TV means we can make smart choices about our energy use.’

Smart meter savings

The government estimates that smart meters could help cut carbon emissions to the tune of 34 million tonnes over 20 years, just by making people think more carefully about their energy consumption. While the cost if supplying a smart meter to every UK household would cost around £5.5 billion, consumers would benefit as utility companies would not be able to overcharge customers by issuing inflated estimated bills. 

Visit the relevant Which? guide for more on how to save on bills. 

Budget 2011 Live Blog

Budget 2011

The 2011 Budget on 23 March is set to have a profound effect on the British economy – but the measures announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will also influence your individual finances.

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