What’s your naughty energy habit?

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 15th Nov 2017

Go on – confess – you’re safe here. What do you do with energy that you really shouldn’t? Is it leaving the lights on in empty rooms? Falling asleep with the TV on (apparently 1 in 5 knackered Brits is guilty of this one)? Or leaving your fully charged phone plugged in?

We’ve all got one naughty energy habit or another. But you’ll be surprised at how much some of them cost (read on for the dearest energy wastes around the house). So while it might not seem like the biggest sin at the time, doing a few of these things routinely is the equivalent of taking two £50 notes every year and ripping them up. #Justsaying.

Leaving a light on when no one is in the room is the number four naughty energy habit (guilty as charged, although my energy supply is 100 per cent renewable, which makes me feel slightly better about it),  after leaving the TV on standby overnight and leaving kitchen appliances plugged in, according to a survey by UK Power.

The research comes as Electricity North West, the power network operator for the North West, launches an ‘Energy Persona’ test [www.enwl.co.uk/switchedon] which asks you a series of multiple choice questions linked to their energy usage, to establish which character they are – an Energy Drain Jane, Energy Steady Eddie or Energy Busting Beth.

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The UK’s top 10 daily energy sins were:

  1. Leaving the TV on standby overnight (41%)
  2. Leaving kitchen appliances plugged in when not in use (33%)
  3. Leaving a laptop plugged in when fully charged (30%)
  4. Leaving a light on in an empty room (26%)
  5. Leaving the TV on when nobody is watching (25%)
  6. Leaving a phone plugged in when fully charged (24%)
  7. Leaving a laptop on standby (22%)
  8. Re-boiling after forgetting it has just been boiled (15%)
  9. Falling asleep with the TV on (11%)
  10. Leaving the radio on when nobody is listening (10%)

How much are these habits costing us?

Some things cost more than you might think – like the tumble dryer, the microwave and the slow cooker (yep, I thought that was meant to be cheaper, too).

Here’s what all that stuff we do without thinking actually costs.

The full list of items in order of actual cost (most expensive to least expensive):

  1. Washing a load in the washing machine (£0.50)
  2. Drying clothes in the tumble dryer (£0.35)
  3. Putting an electric heater on for an hour (£0.31)
  4. Using a slow cooker for an hour (£0.25)
  5. Ironing for an hour (£0.15)
  6. Cooking a microwave meal (£0.12)
  7. Drying your hair with a hairdryer (£0.06)
  8. Running a games console for an hour (£0.03)
  9. Charging your phone for an hour (£0.03)
  10. Boiling the kettle to make a cup of tea (£0.025)
  11. Watching TV for an hour (£0.02)
  12. Turning on a light for an hour (£0.005)
  13. Straightening your hair with hair straighteners (£0.004)
  14. Turning on an energy-saving light for an hour (£0.003)


Commenting on the findings, Nick Heath, Head of Insight at UK Power, said: “The introduction of smart meters has allowed many people around the country to get to grips with how much they’re spending on energy. But it’s very interesting to see that there’s still a lack of clarity around what are the most and least expensive items to run, as well as the numerous bad habits people continue to have.

“We hope our research will make people think twice about their energy habits and encourage people to take action and reduce the amount they pay on their energy bills”.



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