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Do you know the cost of a cuppa?

Published on 08 October 2010 02:30 PM

Age UK and E.ON highlight the cost of energy to help people in later life be more energy efficient.

Most of us know the cost of a take away or a coffee in our favourite café, but how many people know how much it costs to boil a kettle or watch the soaps on TV? According to surprising new polling out today from Age UK and E.ON, less than half (48 per cent) are aware of the cost of boiling a kettle (2p), only 25 per cent are aware of how much using an iron for half an hour costs (15p) and just 13 per cent realise what impact watching plasma TV for four hours has on their wallet (19p).

To highlight how being energy efficient can reduce bills and save money, Age UK and E.ON polled over 1,000 adults aged 18+ to see how much they think it costs to do basic household tasks. The poll, carried out by ICM Research, showed that across all age groups the majority over-estimate the costs of most everyday household activities:

  1. 61% of people polled estimated the cost of vacuuming for 30 minutes as 25p or more (actually 8p)
  2. 61% of people polled estimated the cost of ironing for 30 minutes as 25p or more (actually 15p)
  3. 71% of people polled estimated the cost of running a hot bath as 25p or more (actually 10p)
  4. 58% of people polled estimated the cost of watching plasma TV for 4 hours as 50p or more (actually 19p)

Some household activities are relatively inexpensive, such as boiling a kettle (2p) or watching TV (19p) compared to running one cycle of a tumble dryer (52p) or running a gas fire for three hours (69p) - which over time will have a huge impact on energy bills. By understanding the true energy costs of different activities, people will be able to identify the steps they can take which will save the most money for them. Implementing simple changes such as having a shower (5p) rather than a bath (10p), only boiling as much water in a kettle as needed, insulating the home and ensuring heating systems are running efficiently, means everyone can become more energy efficient, use less energy and lower bills. At the same time the right information will stop people cutting back unnecessarily on cheaper activities, like making regular hot drinks during the winter months.

Age UK and E.ON are working together to help people in later life become more energy aware, hosting a series of ‘EnergyRight' events across the country from 18-29 October. The events will provide expert information and advice to older people and their friends and family, including details of the cost of energy for everyday household activities.

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director at Age UK, said: 'Age UK and E.ON are working in partnership to help people in later life become more energy aware, especially as winter sets in. If people know the true cost of energy they can take steps to become as energy efficient as possible which can help to lower bills.'

Suzanne Doxey, Community Relations Manager at E.ON, said: 'Although these results show people consistently overestimating the one-off costs of using these appliances, we often find that people underestimate when it comes to the cost of long term use, for example the impact of leaving appliances on or on standby for long periods of time. We're always looking for ways to help people to get energy fit and better understand their energy use and we're delighted to be working with Age UK to deliver the EnergyRight programme to help even more people access essential energy efficiency advice.'

As part of a six month energy efficiency programme of activity run in partnership with local Age UKs, Age Concerns and E.ON, EnergyRight events are being held to help people in later life throughout the country understand simple energy efficiency measures and identify small changes they can make in the home to help them be more energy aware. The ‘Energy Menu' detailing the actual cost of carrying out everyday activities in the home and a ‘100 Ways to Save' leaflet give simple steps that people in later life can take to use less energy and in turn lower bills. As well as attending an EnergyRight event, people can contact their local Age UK or Age Concern or call Age UK Advice free on 0800 169 87 87 for information and advice on energy efficiency.

- ENDS -

For more information on the EnergyRight events, case studies or to speak to E.ON's Energy Fitness Expert, please contact Ashley Cox at Age UK on 020 8765 7513, email or Rebecca Bieniaszewska at E.ON on 024 7618 3202, email

Notes to Editor

* This survey was conducted on behalf of Age UK and E.ON. ICM interviewed a random sample of 1,011 adults aged 18+ by telephone between July 30th and August 1st 2010. Interviews were conducted across Great Britain and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. Actual energy costs were taken from E.ON's Energy Menu. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at

The actual energy costs of everyday household activities are (from E.ON Energy Menu):

Activity Actual cost
Running a hot bath 10p
Vacuuming for 30 minutes 8p
Ironing for 30 minutes 15p
Boiling a kettle 2p
Watching Plasma TV for four hours 19p

Quick energy saving hints and tips:

  • It costs 10p to take a bath and just 5p to take a shower - a shower is cheaper every time
  • A washing machine costs 14p to run a load and a tumble dryer costs as much as 52p per cycle. Try hanging clothes outside if you can.
  • Limescale makes your kettle worker harder so descale your electric kettle regularly.
  • If you keep the glass of your oven door clean you will be able to check your food without opening it and letting the heat out.

For energy efficiency advice and more information on getting energy fit, visit or

About EnergyRight

EnergyRight is a long-running community support programme delivered jointly by Age UK and E.ON, aimed at helping older people get energy fit and save money on their energy bills, without scrimping on comfort. Previous successful campaigns have included electric blanket testing and home energy checks.

About Age UK

Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged. The Age UK family includes Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI.

Age UK is inspired by the belief that it can improve the lives of people in later life. It celebrates ageing and believes it presents unprecedented opportunities and challenges at home and abroad. Age UK will challenge ageist prejudice in society, provide services that address market failures and support the public and private sectors to design age-friendly products and services. It will support people to remain in their own homes through campaigning and practical services and its Information and Advice service will offer millions of people support on a range of issues from claiming benefits to staying fit and healthy.

Age UK will fund biomedical research that helps tackle the ill health and poor quality of life that are too common as people age. Working with over 350 partners across the country, Age UK helps influence local decisions and delivers the most appropriate services. Its network of over 500 shops will act as a focal point for the local community, providing information and help with local services. Age UK works across the globe as well as in the UK, with its international partner, Help Age International, championing older people's rights and needs and as an active member of the DEC.

About E.ON

  • E.ON is one of the UK's leading power and gas companies - generating and distributing electricity, and retailing power and gas - and is part of the E.ON group, one of the world's largest investor-owned power and gas companies. E.ON employs more than 15,000 people in the UK and more than 88,000 worldwide;
  • E.ON is one of the leading green generators in the UK, with 20 wind farms located from Cornwall to Kintyre.
  • E.ON has installed over 630,000 cavity wall and loft installation measures since 2005, as well as energy efficient boilers and smart meters to help customers get energy fit.

Media contact: Ashley Cox
Telephone: 020 8765 7513
Out-of-hours: 07071 243 243

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Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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