Households may be offered cashback for saving electricityCash incentives among new government proposals

30 November 2012

Eco light bulb

Households and businesses could receive financial incentives for using less electricity, according to a new government consultation paper.

The paper has laid out new potential schemes to encourage households and businesses to reduce their electricity usage, with financial incentives among the ideas mooted. 

The financial incentives might include cashback payments for households that buy specific energy-saving equipment, such as energy-saving light bulbs; or a broader policy whereby people and businesses are rewarded financially if they can prove they’ve made energy savings.

These schemes would complement the government's Green Deal - a scheme that aims to encourage energy-saving home improvements, such as loft insulation, financed through a special Green Deal loan.

Buying energy-saving light bulbs? Our energy-saving light bulb reviews can help you find the best, brightest and longest-lasting light bulbs.

Energy-saving schemes from around the world

The proposals have been partly inspired by other schemes implemented around the world, including a successful scheme in Japan that gave 'eco points' to those purchasing energy-efficient products. These points could then be exchanged for gift certificates or other energy-saving goods.

The 105-page paper also explores further avenues on cutting energy usage by looking at how behaviour can be influenced by social norms. It details a case study in the USA where consumers were sent regular home energy reports showing how their energy usage compared to that of their neighbours.

Redressing the balance?

These new incentives are being proposed in light of the fact that the new Energy Bill – published yesterday, and which details investment plans to increase renewable sources of energy - is likely to result in a rise in household gas and electricity bills over the next few years.

The consultation can be responded to until 31 January 2013.

Energy-saving tips

Even without getting cashback, there are plenty of ways you can cut your energy bills, including:

  • Turning your thermostat down by one degree – to cut 10% off your heating bills
  • Switching energy supplier with Which? Switch – the average saving when switching both gas and electricity is £217 per year
  • Buying an energy monitor to help you keep track of your electricity use 

More on this...

  • Join the energy debate by contributing to our Which? Conversation on the Energy Bill
  • Read our light bulb reviews to so you can find the best energy-saving light bulbs
  • Find out what the Green Deal can offer you by reading our comprehensive guide to the Green Deal