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Singletons strain the electricity gridAugust 2012

Single householders use as much power as two-person householders - and sometimes more, says the findings of an study into household electricity use.

The Household Electricity Study found that power demand for cooking and cleaning in single person homes was found to match or exceed the consumption of average family units. The results have particular importance given the steady rise in people living alone.

Household Electricity Study represents the first assessment of its kind for England. Researchers monitored domestic electrical appliances in 251 owner-occupier households across England between April 2010 and April 2011. Twenty six households in the survey were monitored for a full year while the remaining 225 were studied for one month on a rolling basis throughout the trial period.

The independent analysis was funded by Government (Defra & DECC) and the Energy Saving Trust. It was delivered through a consortium of organisations led by AEA.

The study identified and catalogued the range and quantity of electrically powered appliances, products and gadgets found in the typical home. Researchers then monitored the equipment to understand their frequency and patterns of use and their effect on peak electricity demand. User
habits were also monitored.

The researchers found that background standby consumption was much higher than previously
estimated. On average, the study householders spent between £50 and £86 a year on their appliances in a standby or non-active state.

This equated to standby consumption of between nine to 16 per cent of domestic power demand. This, said the report's authors, is significantly higher than the five to 10 per cent estimated or modelled for domestic standby power.

Powering the nation - household electricity-using habits revealed is published by the Energy Saving Trust.