Gadget-crazy Brits use less energy

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Published: Thursday 18th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Flat-screen TVs, phones and tablets abound in UK households, but new figures suggest the average Briton uses less energy than in 2008.

An analysis of government figures by the Energy Saving Trust for the BBC indicated people were used 10% less electricity in 2013 than five years previously – dropping from 1,951 kilowatt hours a year per person to 1,766.

Experts said it went against a pattern of increased energy consumption in a growing economy and suggested it was down to good policy from the Government, such as the drive to get households to be energy efficient.

Greg Shreeve from the trust analysed Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc) data to produce the figures on individual consumption.

He told BBC News: “This demonstrates how well designed and targeted regulation can have a significant impact on our energy consumption.”

And Dr Nick Eyre from Oxford University told the broadcaster: “Energy use always drops after oil shocks and in recessions – but this current trend looks different.

“Energy use is lower than in 1970 even though the economy is twice as big – it’s the first time in memory that energy use has fallen so substantially – and it’s due to policy.”

The figures will be welcome news to the Government, who have had to seek to assure the public there will be no winter blackouts following several fires at power stations and the closure of others.

The UK is facing an energy crunch over the next two winters when the electricity capacity margin – how much its total generating capacity outstrips expected peak demand – is expected to shrink to as little as 2%.

Meanwhile, last month Decc claimed household fuel bills are around £90 cheaper this year than they would be without the raft of policies to cut emissions and save energy.

In a report, it said gas use was down 10% and electricity use 17% less as a result of measures to support clean power, such as subsidies for renewables, push up bills and other policies to save energy, including insulation programmes and regulations on more efficient appliances.

Published: Thursday 18th December 2014 by The News Editor

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