Keeping up with the Jonses: it’s an expression we’re all familiar with.
While comparing ourselves with our neighbours can result in struggle and despair – not to mention a severe case of the green-eyed monster – it seems the practice could work in our favour when it comes to household energy bills.
A report has suggested that being privy to our neighbour’s energy bills could help us slash our own bills by as much as £75 a year.
Knowing that other people are paying less for the same service could push us to alter our own habits, according to a report by Policy Exchange.
In the London borough of Camden, a scheme is being trialled which involves home energy visits that make people aware of where and how they are wasting energy, in addition to comparisons of energy use.
Through comparing bills and energy efficiency advice, the test-run helped people to bring their bills down by 6% at a cost of just £3 per household.
Using the cost of a typical household dual fuel bill, which currently stands at £1,260, this could help families to save up to £75 a year.
If the scheme were to be rolled out nationwide, Brits could make massive savings on their energy bills.
Households would join the scheme anonymously and give permission for their bills to be compared with people living in similar sized properties.
Guy Newey, the report’s author, said: “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.
“Households need support to understand where they can make savings. If you find out your neighbour is paying £50 month less for their energy, you’re much more likely to do something about reducing your own energy use.”
With 40% of annual energy consumption being used in the winter months, the energy price hikes are causing misery across the UK for many a household.
Rising prices are putting cash-strapped Brits even more out of pocket, with research from MoneySupermarket suggesting that energy customers on standard tariffs could be facing quarterly bills reaching as much as £530 in the coming months.