British Households Dialed Down Winter Gas Use to Save Cash
(Bloomberg) — UK households reduced their gas consumption in December more than expected as high prices bit into spending.
Gas use by residential and small properties was 63.6 terawatt-hours in December, about 8.8% lower than what would normally be the case under the month’s temperature pattern, according to research by Gemma Berwick, a consultant at BFY Group.
The figures are some of the first signs of British consumers’ ability to find energy savings in their homes amid record-high prices for heating. Governments in Germany and France have been more proactive in encouraging energy saving than in the UK, which only launched a campaign for demand reduction in December.
“The reduction in demand that we have seen is likely to be primarily driven by consumers changing their behavior in response to the current high energy prices,” said Berwick, adding that insulation may have also played a part in savings.
Accounting for adjustments for lower than normal temperatures, consumers’ energy efficiency in December likely saved the government about £260 million and consumers about £600 million over the course of the month. That showed the financial and environmental potential of investing in gas-demand reductions, Berwick said.
British consumers are paying more for power and gas than ever before, even under the government’s price cap. A typical household’s annual bill will be capped at £3,000 ($3,615) from April, a £500 increase on the current limit and almost three times the level before the energy crisis.
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With the exception of a brief cold snap last month, the UK has experienced a mild winter, reducing the need for heating and helping to lift the burden on its energy supply. That’s brought down wholesale prices and could see suppliers charging below the government’s cap from July if the drop remains.
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