UK bill payers are spending more than £65 million per month on energy while working from home, according to new research. A survey of 2,000 UK adults revealed 40 percent have transformed their home into a makeshift office during lockdown. With a total of around 12.5 million now ‘WFH’, Smart Pay As You Go energy provider Utilita investigated the costs.
After studying how much it costs to power a home-based office, a kettle for much-needed tea and coffee, and a microwave for heating up food at lunch, they found it totals just £1.26 per person per week – or £5.04 per month – based on working an eight hour day, five days a week. This is just under one-tenth of the £10.80 per week the average Brit estimated it costs them. But over the course of the month this works out at more than £65 million for the UK’s WFH community.
Smart meters enable households to keep a constant eye on their energy usage and help them save money. From experience, Utilita reports its customers use around 20 percent less energy by monitoring their energy usage more closely. However, 66 percent of those surveyed admitted they have no idea how much energy they are using daily, with just one third knowing how much they pay per month for their energy bills. And four in 10 adults are extremely worried about how big their bills could be by the time life returns to normal.
In response, three quarters of home workers are trying to be as economical as possible by shutting down their laptop when not using, turning off lights, and disconnecting their broadband. The survey, conducted for Utilita by OnePoll, also revealed half of Brits are trying to save money so they can afford their energy bills, while 37 percent have taken a pay cut since the country went into lockdown. One third of those surveyed are worried they could be put on furlough during the lockdown.
Bill Bullen, Utilita CEO, said:
“It’s great to be able to reassure the millions of people who are working from home that their additional energy spend is nowhere near what they imagined it would be. We all needed some good news, and here it is. The coronavirus pandemic has put the spotlight on the benefits of having a smart meter and in-home display, including topping up remotely for prepay customers. We are delighted to learn that 70 percent of people with a smart meter and in-home display are monitoring their daily energy usage, as we know from experience this reduces the average energy spend by a further 20 percent.”
To help with cost-cutting, Utilita has revealed five free and simple ways that Brits can save £163 per year on their energy bills. They are: turning the heating off when out (£80), avoiding using standby (£30), unplugging used electrical items (£30), turning off the lights in unoccupied rooms (£14) and washing clothes at 30C instead of 40C (£9).
Bill Bullen added: “For many people, working from home will mean they are spending less on travel, but that’s not the case for everyone. The pandemic is creating uncertainty for households, meaning every penny matters. There are other ways we can make savings during our extra time spent at home – it’s a great time to think about the small changes that can make big savings. That is exactly what our Energy High 5 campaign is designed to do – a free-to-join movement for every home in the UK, demonstrating simple ways to save up to £163 per year.”
The Utilita Energy High 5 campaign can support every household save: https://utilita.co.uk/campaigns/energyhigh5.