Government climate advisors underline need to keep cutting domestic electricity consumption

Posted on

December 19, 2014

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Cut consumption at home Homes

A new report by the Government’s climate change advisers reinforced the need to reduce electricity use in homes.

As part of a wide-ranging energy review, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) focuses report suggests that more can be achieved to cut the kilowatts in every home, focusing particularly on lighting and appliances.

The CCC advises in ‘Energy prices and bills – impacts of meeting carbon budgets’ that a doubling in the electricity price has more than offset a 16% reduction in electricity consumption of the average dual-fuel household, with the average annual electricity bill rising from £265 to £455 between 2004 and 2013.

And without the reduction in electricity consumption, in part through energy-efficiency improvements, the bill would have been £45 higher.

The good news is that there has been some progress while much more can be achieved.

The bad news is that the Government has agreed to give power generation firms around £1bn to ensure plants stay open and prevent the lights going out over next few years. That means every household bill will rise by £11.

Needed savings

The data in the report, and the massive power-generation hand-out points to the further dramatic and clearly needed savings that every household can achieve.

At SaveMoneyCutCarbon, we have long argued that fully committed and funded support for a range of little, simple domestic steps will reduce pressure on bills and the National Grid.

These steps include wholehearted encouragement for every home to switch to LED lighting and so reduce electricity consumption by as much as 90%.

The report reinforces this, noting that while the number of light bulbs in households increased by 16% between 2004 and 2013 a large switch to efficient lighting through energy saving light bulbs improved the overall efficiency of the lighting stock.

LED lights

Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) figures show by last year, the energy guzzling incandescent bulbs accounted for only 6% of the stock, compared to 70% in 2004, while the share of efficient light bulbs increased from 7% to 53%.

That has helped the near 20% cut in domestic lighting electricity use around a fifth despite an increase in the number of light fittings

This shows, to us, that lighting is a central element in any national energy-reduction strategies and that LED lights are the best solution, given their extremely low energy consumption and very long life of a decade or more.

In fact, an earlier report from the CCC notes that EU phase-out of the traditional incandescent light bulbs is prompting moves to energy-saving products and that savings of up to 90% per light fitting can be achieved by switching from halogen spotlights to LEDs.

Energy bills

The reason for the urgent need for more action on energy is highlighted in the report, which indicates that poor families will need more help to pay for heating their homes as energy bills continue to rise. The CCC advises that pressure on bills comes in part from subsidies for clean energy that will add an extra 36p per day onto household bills by 2030.

Clearly, effective reduction in lighting and appliances costs will help people manage their overall energy budgets.

The CCC also underlines the importance of small behavioural changes in the home, a generally more mindful approach to use of energy, together with the increased adoption of highly efficient household appliances.

The main driver of upward prices has been is the international price of gas and investment in electricity and gas networks which have fuelled increase in household bills of 62% and 16% respectively over the past decade.

There is an extreme need for massive investment in the UK’s energy generation network, together with the rising market in gas, albeit offset in part by recent dramatic falls in oil prices, all of which should help people understand that energy prices will continue to rise for well over a decade.

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