The 12.5% electricity price rise announced by British Gas this morning underscores the urgent need for households, businesses and organisations to focus on energy efficiency.
While price hike will hit domestic customers, the warning signs are clear – energy costs in general will keep rising, driven by infrastructure, production and organisational costs.
The only sustainable way to beat the burden on bills is for every consumer to reduce their energy usage, going beyond simply changing behaviour, by switching off appliances and lights for example, and adopting easy technologies that make a big difference.
The price rise announcement by Centrica, owner of British Gas, is the latest in the long line of shocks for energy customers that point the way to every-increasing pressures on costs. In fact, the National Grid has forecast that the price of electricity could double over the next 20 years.
Coupled with that is the great uncertainty over the long-term effect of Brexit on the energy markets and supply systems. Even in the short-term, the fall in the value of the Pound has led to increases in wholesale prices, particularly gas, which feeds through into higher electricity production costs.
British Gas customers will see the price rise kick in from next month, just as electricity usage begins to increase with the summer’s end.
The latest price rise comes in a year when all the Big Six suppliers have announced large increases in standard electricity tariffs:
- Scottish Power 10.8%
- Npower 15%
- EDF Energy 8.4%
- On 13.8%
- SSE 14.9%.
And smaller suppliers are under pressure too. For example, Good Energy raised electricity prices in March by 10%.
Against this backdrop, domestic and commercial consumers will need to refocus on saving energy that not only provides long-term benefits but also quick return on initial costs.
Simple choices like fitting LED lighting have a big impact on electricity consumption and annual bills. The savings can be as much as 85%, with purchase costs rapidly repaid through lower costs.
Businesses and organisations can make more big savings through adoption of energy-efficient technologies like intelligent lighting controls, heating and ventilation controls, and smart pumps that reduce energy consumption by up to 60%, with quick Return on Investment.
These are easy but smart ways to take the pressure off utility costs at home and at work and stay ahead of the rising tide of ever-increasing prices.