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Let people see their neighbours’ energy bills to get them to cut their consumption

Report argues that peer pressure would reduce average bills by £75 per year

January 18, 2013

A new report suggests that being able to see how much your neighbours’ are spending on energy bills would pressure people into significantly cutting their usage. The research by the think tank Policy Exchange, argues that the peer pressure, or will to “keep up with Joneses” would be sufficient to force an average saving of £75 per year.

Knowing that your neighbours are paying less than you has a significant psychological impact according to evidence from the UK and abroad. The report suggests that people join the scheme voluntarily and remain anonymous, allowing them to see neighbours’ bills as long as they live in similar sized homes. A trial in Camden, London, saw a 6% reduction in consumption at a cost of just £6 per household. With an average household dual fuel bill of £1,260, this could lead to savings of more than £75.

Guy Newey, the report’s author, said: “Helping people to cut their rising energy bills and avoid wasting energy is one of the most important things the Government can do. It is also one of the easiest and cheapest ways of reducing our carbon emissions. Smart meters have the potential to help change the way we use energy in the home. But they won’t change habits on their own.”

Find out more about cutting you gas bill by reading our guide.

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