E.ON launches energy use comparer

SwitchCustomers with one of the "Big Six" suppliers will be able to compare their energy use with that of their neighbours as part of measures to help them save on bills.

E.ON has teamed up with US company Opower, which works with utilities to save consumers money on their energy bills, to launch an online "saving energy toolkit" to help them understand their energy use.

Consumers will see their electricity and/or gas use compared with 100 anonymous E.ON customers with homes of a similar size and type, and against the most energy efficient homes in their local area.

The scheme gives households a breakdown of where and when energy is used in the home, including a "what uses most" chart that splits current usage into heating, lighting, hot water, appliances and other use.

It will also detail how energy use changes from month to month, and compare costs for the current month to the previous month, showing how bills have been affected by weather and usage.

The toolkit provides tailored hints and tips, and energy goals to help consumers reduce their energy use.

Householders could be given tips such as lowering their water temperature, boiling only the water they need, line drying laundry and keeping the heat in with proper loft insulation or insulating windows with heat shrink film.

According to Opower, its measures have helped customers globally save enough energy to power a city the size of Sheffield with half a million residents for a year.

Nandini Basuthakur, managing director for Opower in Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: "We've worked closely with E.ON to design the saving energy toolkit with its customers in mind.

"Our expertise in behavioural science, data analytics and consumer marketing, combined with our successful utility deployments worldwide, have shown that customers are motivated to behave more like their peers - in this case efficient similar homes."

Anthony Ainsworth, sales and marketing director at E.ON, said: "We've been speaking to our customers and it's clear from these conversations that there is wide-scale enthusiasm to have more insight and understanding about their household's energy use.

"We're committed to helping our customers use no more energy than they need and our online saving energy toolkit will help people achieve this."

Research by consumer body Which? has found energy bills are a top worry for people, with almost eight out of 10 (79%) concerned about rising prices.

Bills have risen significantly in recent years and t he average household gas and electricity bill is now more than £1,300.

Labour leader Ed Miliband sparked a row with the Big Six when he pledged last week to freeze energy bills for 20 months if elected prime minister in 2015 and to reform the power sector to make it more competitive and transparent.