£393m — the hidden cost of Christmas


Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

Home » £393m — the hidden cost of Christmas

Published: 24 December 2014

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod


48% of us will receive tech gifts for Christmas this year, and new research from B&Q reveals that we could end up spending up to £31 a year on powering these shiny new gadgets.

Running our new tech gifts will boost the nation’s annual energy bill by a staggering £392,832,000 – and the electricity used would be enough to light 4.4 million UK homes for a year.

Consumer electronics now sap more electricity than anything else in British homes, accounting for 28% of the electricity consumed.

The cost of gadgets

The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that we now spend £2 million more each week on our favourite gadgets. This will surprise the two-thirds of us (63%) who are worrying about rising bills over Christmas – especially the 54% who blame the heating.

As we unwrap, plug in and charge up more than ever this festive season, we need to switch on to how much our love of consumer tech is costing us.

Not switching off

The research shows that one of the reasons our bills are increasing is that we never switch off. 60% of us leave our gadgets on overnight because we forget (30%), don’t see the point of switching them off (13%) or simply can’t be bothered to cut the power (12%).

‘It’s amazing how many of us are in the dark about how much all the consumer tech goods we have around our house are impacting our energy bills. As we’re about to add even more tech to our homes on Christmas Day in the form of gadgets and gizmos as gifts, it’s never been more important for Brits to become switched on about switching off!’

Joe Payne, Home Energy Expert at the Energy Saving Trust

Leaving the lights on

It’s not only the extra tech goods and gadgets under the tree that are set to make for a costly Christmas. Over half (53%) of us have at least two sets of Christmas lights and a third (31%) of us admit to leaving them on overnight.

Aside from turning them off, the best way to save energy on your fairy lights is to buy a string of LED lights, which use 90% less energy than standard ones.

‘Gadgets are so much fun and such an essential part of livening up our days, but it’s important to be conscious of their carbon footprint. There’s no reason, as a nation, we can’t have fun and be responsible.’

Sarah Greenaway, Senior Brand Manager, One Planet Home

As we take time to relax with our feet up, the energy in our homes will still be on the up as almost a quarter of us (22%) plan to watch TV for an extra 11 hours or more over the festive season. This half-day energy extravaganza will impact next month’s national energy bill by £320,000.

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