A Government-commissioned report  has found that UK homeowners are wasting more than £1 billion a year powering appliances they are not using.

The study, Powering the Nation: Household Energy Using Habitats Uncovered, conducted by Defra, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and the Energy Saving Trust measured consumer electricity consumption behaviour over a 12-month period. Approximately 250 UK households, which owned an average of 41 electrical products, took part in the research.

By leaving appliances such as televisions and computers in standby mode instead of switching them off completely UK households are paying up to £86 extra on yearly electricity bills. This figure is much higher than Government previously thought. In fact the overall electricity demand in UK households is now 10 percent higher than the national average currently used in calculations.

Environment Minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach said: “As this survey shows we are using a lot more energy than previously thought.

“Manufacturers need to develop more energy efficient electrical products and help consumers save money and the environment.

“We can all do simple things like switching off our televisions, computers and other home electronics and save up to £85 on electricity bill each year.”

The Energy Saving Trust found that one-person households use as much or even more electricity than average family homes due to laundry and cooking habits combined with leaving appliances on standby. The study also revealed that the UK is watching 10 billion hours more TV than previously thought adding £205 million to electricity bills.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “Using energy more wisely in our homes will not only cut carbon but will also help save money on bills. But first we need to really understand how we use this energy in order to become more energy wise.

“This report provides vital insights into what is happening on the ground, highlighting the need for more energy efficient household electrical appliances and indicating which appliances contribute most to electricity demand at peak times. This research will help us to understand and manage household energy demand.”

And Philip Sellwood, Chief Executive of the Energy Saving Trust, concluded: “It’s crucial that households across the nation can make informed decisions by having the right advice to help them reduce their energy usage and fuel bills.”

Government is currently working on a range of measures designed to reduce domestic energy demand in the UK in the lead up to the 2020 carbon emissions targets. The Green Deal, due for launch in October this year, is expected to drive this revolution.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Green Deal make sure you sign up for this year’s Solar Power UK 2012. Online registration is now open. Exhibition entrance is free of charge.