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The UK's power-hungry secrets are revealed

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 June 2012 at 9:16 am

Two really can live as cheaply as one when it comes to electricity bills. New research published today by the Energy Saving Trust found that one person households use as much, and sometimes more, energy as typical families on particular appliances. These include cooking and laundry.

Powering the Nation also found that we really are a nation of couch potatoes. Typical daily TV viewing tops six hours a day - an additional 400 hours of viewing per year per household over the previous assumption of five hours a day. This costs the nation, on average, an extra £205m a year in electicity bills.

The study also proves that leaving appliances on standby, or 'non-active', is expensive. On average households in the study spent between £50 and £86 a year on stand-by. This accounts for a significant nine to 16% of the average electricity bill of monitored households of around £530 a year. Even more staggering is that it costs the UK up to £1.3 billion in electricity bills every year.

Those at the high end of this spectrum are spending the same amount on leaving appliances on standby as the average person is on washing their clothes. We use the washing machine an average 5.5 times a week. And people with a tumble dryer use it to dry 81% of their washes. The average electricity costs of laundry are around £80 per year.

We use nearly double that amount on washing our dishes. Households with dishwashers spend nearly twice as much on electricity for the dishwashing as for clothes washing.

Two hundred and fifty one owner-occupied households completed the study, which involved an attitudinal survey, keeping diaries recording their use of main appliances, and monitoring their use of all appliances. The average number of electrical appliances owned was 41, with a minimum of 13 and a maximum of 85. This compares with an average of 12 in the average 1970s home.

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