UK households’ energy use falls by a quarter

Householders in England and Wales are using less energy compared to 2005, with a 24.7% drop on average. New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed energy consumption […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Householders in England and Wales are using less energy compared to 2005, with a 24.7% drop on average.

New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed energy consumption decreased from 12.2MWh in 2005 to 19.7MWh in 2011.

Within England and Wales, the East Midlands had the highest household energy usage every year between 2005 and 2011, with 16 out of the 20 local authorities located in the East Midlands.

Average household energy usage in the East Midlands was 27.5MWh in 2011 – considerably higher than the overall figure for England and Wales – whereas the South West had the lowest with 16.1MWh per household.

Rutland was the local authority that had the highest average usage in 2011 (26MWh per household) while the Isles of Scilly had the lowest at 11.4MWh per household. In London, Tower Hamlets and the City of London were the two authorities that consumed the lowest amount of energy.

The ONS suggests the drop in energy usage could be due to improved energy efficiency in homes such as loft and cavity wall insulation, introduction of energy rating scales for properties and household appliances and increased public awareness of energy usage and environmental issues.

Energy UK, the trade body for the energy industry welcomed the news and said: “This fall in consumption shows how effective it is to insulate your home. Britain’s homes are notoriously leaky and energy companies have been busy improving properties to make them warmer and easier to heat.”

Consumer body Which?, however, believes the Government needs to do more to help people cope with the rising cost of energy bills.

Executive Director Richard Lloyd said: “Energy efficiency measures may have played a part in the fall in energy usage but the fact is many consumers will have cut back in order to save money in the face of spiraling prices and squeezed incomes. Consistently four in ten have told us that they plan to cut back on future spending on their energy bills.

“We want the Government to introduce simple energy pricing, a clear ring-fence between generation and supply businesses and for all energy policy costs to be scrutinised by the National Audit Office. That way consumers can see exactly what they’re paying for and be more confident that there is effective competition in the energy market.”

Figures from DECC last month showed energy imports in the UK were at “record levels” last year.