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Money Key Driver in Changing Consumer Attitudes to Energy

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LONDON, May 23 /PRNewswire/ --

- European Study Reveals Attitudes and Behaviour Towards Energy Consumption and Highlights Need for Better Education

New research from LogicaCMG reveals that while European consumers are environmentally conscious, financial cost is even more important when it comes to managing energy consumption. The study shows that the threat of higher energy prices is the most important factor influencing people in taking steps to reduce the amount of energy they consume at home. Overall, a combination of financial costs, environmental concerns and better information - enabled by the right technology - would lead to a change in energy consumer behaviour.

When asked about whether or not they were worried about climate change, a substantial 80 per cent of European respondents said that they were very concerned. But how does this translate into direct action taken to save energy in the home? 81 per cent of European consumers surveyed said that they take action at least once per week and 65 per cent at least once per day. But despite high numbers of consumers stating that they are already 'doing their bit', the study reveals that some people think they can do even more to reduce the amount of energy they consume in the home. When asked why they don't, a third of people (36 per cent) admitted that they are concerned about the expense required to invest in energy saving measures.

The LogicaCMG study, which surveyed 5010 adults in the UK, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal explores consumer attitudes and behaviour towards energy consumption. It found that if energy prices continued to rise, less than half (44 per cent) of people across the four European countries will continue to consume energy at the current rate. In order to reduce the amount of energy consumed a significant number of respondents said that they would take more day-to-day measures to save energy. Around 86 per cent would make more effort to turn off lights and appliances and 63 per cent would wear more clothes and turn the heating down. And if energy prices were to double, then 78 per cent of the European respondents say that they would change their behaviour when it comes to energy conservation at home.

Despite this apparent enthusiasm to reduce the amount of energy they consume LogicaCMG's study revealed that 52 per cent of people said that they have little concept of the amount they spend on electricity or gas while using domestic appliances, for example, while listening to music or watching TV.

It is therefore not surprising that the research shows that consumers require much more information to help them understand and better manage household energy consumption. Almost two thirds (62 per cent) believe that a government campaign would raise awareness amongst the general public and thus change day-to-day behaviour. Technology also has an important role to play in helping people to manage their consumption - almost 70 per cent of respondents said that they would change their behaviour if they had a little screen in their home that told them how much energy they were using at any one moment. Furthermore, when it was explained that a smart meter would help them to do this (help them to know how much energy they are using at any one moment) over three quarters thought that smart meters sounded like a good idea.

Respondents were also asked about who tends to raise the issue of the amount of energy used in the home. While children have an increasing amount of 'pester power' in the way households spend their money, when it comes to domestic energy, children are the least likely to raise the issue with just 2 per cent saying that it was the children of the household who raised it. These findings are worrying and clearly highlight the need for EU governments and the energy industry to take more responsibility for both adult and grass roots education in the practicalities of energy consumption and saving as well as related costs.

In terms of taking practical steps to increase energy efficiency, the LogicaCMG study also reveals a greater willingness to invest in energy efficient appliances rather than other long-term energy-saving measures, to insulate the home or make it more energy efficient. Three quarters (75 per cent) of Europeans said that they would be prepared to invest in energy efficient appliances compared to just half (50 per cent) prepared to invest in longer-term energy-saving measures such as roof insulation and solar panels. This suggests that they do not believe that the long-term benefits would outweigh initial outlay.

    
    Country comparisons: Attitudes to energy consumption and efficiency at a
    glance
 
    1.   Portugal and Spain are most concerned about climate change (94 per
         cent and 85 per cent respectively). People in the Netherlands are
         far less concerned about climate change with 67 per cent saying
         that it worries them.
    2.   In terms of taking direct action to reduce energy consumption in
         the home, people in Portugal and Spain take the most action (92 per
         cent and 86 per cent respectively), followed by the Netherlands (87
         per cent), with the UK coming last at 78 per cent.
    3.   Only a quarter (27 per cent) of people in the UK believe that they
         already do enough to limit their energy consumption compared with
         over two-thirds (69 per cent) across Europe. The Dutch are most
         satisfied that they are doing enough (76 per cent).
    4.   Over one third (37 per cent) of people in the UK do not know how
         much energy they use at any one moment, compared with only 19 per
         cent of the Portuguese.
    5.   If energy prices continue to rise, the Netherlands is the only
         country where more than half (55 per cent) would continue to
         consume energy at the current rate.
    6.   In terms of what would help to raise public awareness and change
         behaviour, the British believe that a government campaign would be
         most effective (71 per cent felt this), compared to just 47 per
         cent of the Dutch.
    7.   If we really reach an energy crisis and governments had to ration
         energy, this would work much better in Northern Europe (78 per cent
         in the UK and 70 per cent in the Netherlands) compared with Iberia
         (48 per cent in Spain and 53 per cent in Portugal).
    8.   Most people in Europe had not heard of the smart meter. People in
         the UK (39 per cent) and Portugal (24 per cent) have the highest
         awareness.
    9.   Once the idea of a smart meter had been explained to them, people
         in Portugal were most enthusiastic about having a smart meter in
         the home with 86 per cent saying 'yes' and the Dutch were the least
         (61 per cent).
    10.  People in the UK want much more information than the other
         countries to help them to manage their energy consumption. This may
         reflect the fact that the people in the UK are most likely to feel
         that they can do more to save energy.

Jim Tapper, managing director of LogicaCMG's international energy and utilities business commented: "I am very encouraged by the willingness and motivation of European residents to reduce their energy consumption levels in the home. The results of our survey are clear: households want to be more energy efficient but at no significant expense. Essentially, the environment matters, but cost matters more. Europeans say that they would like to be equipped with clear information and the technology to enable them to support the fight against climate change and conserving energy. This international study shows that if people would have more visibility of the amount of energy they were consuming, they would do more to save energy. Governments and other stakeholders need to further educate the population, in particular the younger generation about clever energy consumption, and provide the infrastructure in order to make smart metering in every home a reality.

"LogicaCMG has a strong heritage in providing technology solutions such as smart metering which provides consumers with better information to manage their use of energy, as well as offering potential benefits to the energy companies that integrate them into their day-to-day operations. This is an important part of our broad based experience in the energy and utilities sector."

A detailed report on the research findings is available on the LogicaCMG website at: http://www.logicacmg.com/reg/index.asp?fid=16

Notes to Editors

Background to Research

The European Research in Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands was conducted by Experian Canvasse Opinion between 24th April and 3rd May 2006. Nationally representative samples (1000 responses per country) were obtained in each country using telephone methodology. The samples for each country were quoted on age, gender and regional demographics.

The data collected in the UK was gathered in March 2006 by ICM, on behalf of Future Foundation (also an Experian company). The UK sample size was 2010.

Available for interview:

Jim Tapper, managing director of LogicaCMG's international energy and utilities business

About LogicaCMG

LogicaCMG is a major international force in IT services. It employs 30,000 people across 36 countries. LogicaCMG's focus is on enabling its customers to build and maintain leadership positions using LogicaCMG's deep industry knowledge and its track record for successful delivery. The company provides business consulting, systems integration and IT and business process outsourcing across diverse markets including telecoms, financial services, energy and utilities, industry, distribution and transport and the public sector. Headquartered in Europe, LogicaCMG is listed on both the London Stock Exchange and Euronext (Amsterdam) (LSE:LOG; Euronext:LOG). More information is available at www.logicacmg.com.

SOURCE LogicaCMG Plc



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