How much gas and electricity do your neighbours use?
A new service that enables you to compare your energy use to that of your neighbours has been unveiled by energy company First Utility.
Dubbed 'my:energy', the service for First Utility customers compares their energy use to 100 homes nearby with similar characteristics.The idea is to give customers a clearer understanding of how high or low their energy use is, so they can take action accordingly.
Which? energy expert Sylvia Baron says: 'This service could be a positive development for consumers if it helps them to reduce energy use. With this type of service, the onus is of course on the customer to act on the comparison information from First Utility - just learning about your neighbours' energy habits won't save money in itself.'
'If you're not with First Utility you can still monitor your own energy use with an energy monitor - our energy monitor review reveals five Best Buys.'
First Utility and its partner service provider Opower claim my:energy hasthe potential to save UK households £1.7 billion and 3m tonnes of carbon over a three-year period.
From this week, First Utility's 100,000 customers will start receiving information telling them how their usage compares to their neighbours.
Texts or emails warning you of unusual usage or higher than normal energy bills will follow as the service develops, as will texts reminding you to turn down your thermostat when warmer weather's predicted.
Research commissioned by First Utility - which came 11th out of the 14 energy suppliers we rated in our 2012 energy company satisfaction survey - says that customers' energy consumption is reduced by around 5% in the first month, after they receive information with their bills comparing their energy usage to their neighbours.
This research was carried out by professors from Oxford University and the London School of Economics. They said that consumption dropped still further when personalised advice was included on energy bills.