Scots waste £1.8m a year by leaving their lights on

Around one in eight Scots leave a light on as a nightlight while they sleep, racking up a potential total energy bill of £1.8 million a year.

Around one in eight Scots leave a nightlight on while they sleep. Picture: Monkey Business Images

A further 8 per cent leaves lights on in empty rooms for a pet, while a quarter leaves lights blazing due to “security”, according to Smart Energy GB, the body promoting the smart meter roll out.

People in Dumfries and Galloway, the Borders and Stirling are most likely to leave a light on in an empty room such as a hallway at night – with 15 per cent of householders in those areas saying they do so. Other reasons for people to leave lights on in empty rooms include plans that they will go back into the room later, which was a reason cited by 41 per cent of Scots; while one in three said they simply forget to turn lights off after they leave a room.

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Another 12 per cent say they need to leave a light on in their home in a communal or shared hallway.

Norman Kerr, director of Energy Action Scotland said: “At a time when fuel bills are increasing it is important that households struggling to pay their bills receive support and advice on ways to use energy efficiently. Switching off unnecessary lights or changing to halogen bulbs are some of the ways to reduce energy use so that a household can better afford to keep warm and dry as a priority.”

Iagan MacNeil, head of policy and communications Scotland for Smart Energy GB, which surveyed 2,037 people in Scotland, said that using a smart meter could help people see how much money they are wasting by leaving a light on unecessarily. The organisation estimates that turning off lights when people are not using them could save £15 on annual household bills.

He said: “We all lead busy lives and we’re all guilty of forgetting to turn a light off occasionally, but with winter just around the corner it does pay to smarten up our energy habits. The easiest step is to identify any areas where you could easily save energy, such as unplugging all the appliances on standby that you aren’t using regularly, getting a smart meter, fitting LED bulbs or turning your thermostat down a notch. These small changes can all add up to long term cost savings, leaving you free to spend your money on the things that really matter to you.”

More than 12 million smart meters have so far been installed in homes and microbusinesses across the UK as part of a roll out which aims to offer a smart meter to every home by 2020.