To celebrate ‘Earth Hour’, the global movement to improve awareness of energy efficiency, Utilita Energy has revealed that 30 per cent of households across Great Britain are yet to switch to energy saving lightbulbs – amounting to 8,340,000 households who are missing out on a £30 annual saving.

The latest study undertaken by Utilita – the UK’s only energy supplier created to help households use less energy – asked 5,000 households which energy efficiency items they have invested in for their home, and 30 per cent claim they have not yet invested in the energy saving lightbulbs, despite them costing as little as £1 each.


To help households across Great Britain to cut their energy bills, all Utilita Energy Hubs across England and Scotland will be giving out free energy-saving lightbulbs between 11am-12pm on Saturday 26th March 2020, ahead of ‘Earth Hour’ which takes place from 8.30-9.30pm that evening. A limited amount of free energy saving lightbulbs will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, and after that energy saving LED lightbulbs will be available for £2 per pair.


The 60th annual Earth Hour event brings together millions of people across 190 countries to turn off their home’s non-essential lights for just one hour from 8.30pm-9.30pm on the last Saturday of March to unite in raising awareness of the issues facing the one home we all share – Planet Earth.

Utilita’s Sustainability Lead, Archie Lasseter, is an environmentalist has estimated the cost and carbon savings if every UK household turned out their lights during Earth Hour. He comments:

“In just one hour, by turning out our lights we would collectively save £2,045,480 in energy costs and the same amount of CO₂ generated by driving 5.5 million miles in an average sized car.”[iii]

Utilita has created the lightbulb awareness campaign to broaden Earth Hour’s reach. Archie continues:

“Earth Hour is a commendable movement but is sadly limited to those who are environmentally aware. To help the campaign reach more people, we’ve added the £30 cost-savings associated with switching to energy saving lightbulbs and invite people to come and take one home, which will have an immediate impact on energy usage.

“For anyone who isn’t able to attend a Utilita Energy Hub, it’s possible to grab LED bulbs for as little as £1 at Poundland stores, too.”

“There’s also another £25 saving every household can make, by making sure lights aren’t left on in unoccupied rooms. We’re all guilty of leaving lights on, but a bit of technology can help us to avoid this, and it doesn’t need to be expensive tech, either. Non-digital timer plugs cost less than £3, and can be set for sunrise and sunset, to ensure the light is only on when required. For voice-activated smart homes an £8 smart plug can be told to ‘turn off lights’ as we head to bed.”


Archie’s 5 top tips on how households can save on their lighting bills, after fitting LED lightbulbs:

Don’t light unoccupied rooms – on average, there’s a £25 a year saving by simply turning out lights in rooms that aren’t being used.[iv]
Take control – if turning a light off is tricky (socket is inaccessible / hands full) the more likely it will be left on. Choose a cost-effective hands-free solution starting at £3 for a simple timer plug, or £8 for a voice-activated smart plug for connected homes.
Think before you switch on – it’s easier to control lamps using technology than it is the main lights (unless there are sensors fitted). Make the most cost-effective choice when switching on.
Bright, light spaces and shades – by pointing a lamp at a light-coloured wall, the light will travel further, making the room brighter. Avoid dark lampshades, which will absorb light.
Check outside lights – make sure your security light is only serving its purpose and isn’t coming on unnecessarily. It’s easy to forget the light we don’t see.

Knowing how hard it is to get into the habit of turning lights off, Utilita Energy has teamed up with Dr Pippa Lally, Behavioural Scientist at University College London, who has created a list of five top tips for households to follow:

Make specific plans. Habits form when your brain builds a link between a situation and an action. You can help this link form by planning – for example: ‘when I walk out of a room, I will switch the light off’ and then trying it a few times.
Prepare. Some new habits can’t be formed without doing some preparation. Think it through and make plans for the preparation as well. This might involve investing in a timer plug.
Visual cues. If you are trying to break a habit and you know where this habit happens, pop a sticky note in that place to remind you. For example, if you need to turn off a security light before you go to bed, put a note somewhere you’ll see it, as part of your bedtime routine.
Track your progress. Once a day think through all the plans you made and note how well you have been doing. It’s fun to see how it gets easier over time and means you are less likely to forget to keep the effort up.
Get everyone involved. If everyone in your household is guilty of leaving lights on, your chances of forming a new habit to turn off lights will be much better if everyone else joins you in doing so.