EU report shows electricity use rising

16 July 2007 – European homes and business have continued to use more electricity in recent years, despite efforts to reduce energy consumption, according to a European Union (EU) report.

Household electricity use rose by 10.8 per cent between 1999 to 2004 in line with the growth in the EU’s economy, said the report from the EU’s Joint Research Centre. Industrial consumption increased by 9.5 per cent and electricity use in the service sector by 15 per cent, the report said.

It blamed the increase in household consumption on more sales of household electronic products from dishwashers and air conditioning units to televisions and computers.

However, the report said that new, low-energy technology in areas such as light bulbs and standby functions on computers could help get the EU on target to cut energy consumption by 20 per cent by 2020.

It also foresees changes in consumer behaviour as a result of increased awareness of environmental problems blamed on energy use.