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Consumers paying price of Government’s inaction on leaky homes, says Energy UK

Energy UK is urging the new Government to ramp up support for the energy efficiency of buildings in the next Budget, to stop households paying more than they need to for energy and to permanently bring down bills. 

High energy bills have been driven by the volatile price of gas, which heats 80% of UK homes. The UK also has some of the draughtiest housing stock in Europe, which means there is a huge opportunity for people to lower their energy bills in the long-term through installing energy efficiency measures such as loft and cavity wall insulation. 

Energy UK is highlighting that the Energy Price Guarantee also means that bill payers and the public purse will spend hundreds of millions of pounds more than they should over the next six months because measures were not put in place ahead of this winter.  

“Many homes are wasting gas, and subsequently lots of money, for no reason. We need to avoid making the same mistake for next winter, and ramp up the installation of energy efficiency measures now,” says Louise Shooter, Policy Manager at Energy UK. “The turbulence in Government has delayed many policy decisions, but this is not one we can afford to wait on. High energy bills are likely to continue into next year, so the Government needs to get on with it.  

“Earlier this year the Prime Minister spoke about the need for an energy efficiency programme, so we hope he delivers in this at the forthcoming budget as it’s good for households, the economy, jobs and the public purse – as well as UK energy supply, and carbon emissions.” 

The existing Energy Company Obligation (ECO) funds energy efficiency measures for eligible households in receipt of certain benefits or allowances, or in social housing with poor energy efficiency, to lower their bills in the long term.  

ECO has so far driven installation of nearly 2.3 million measures and saved on average £290 per year, for each house improved.  

Building on ECO, Energy UK has put forward proposals for a scheme co-funded by the Government to stimulate the creation of a commercial market, whilst boosting jobs, skills and the supply chain.   

Known as ECO+, the scheme would work by providing partial subsidies for measures such as cavity wall, loft and solid wall insulation, which would be available to owner-occupier households in Council Tax bands A to D.  

Energy UK analysis shows: 

  • If ECO+ had been fully up and running for the year in the run up to October 2022, it could have improved 702,000 homes with loft and cavity wall insultation. 
  • The improved homes would have spent £280 less on their bills, and each saved the Government £120 in Energy Price Guarantee costs – saving a total of £400 per improved home over six months (October 2022 – March 2023) 
  • This means in total the taxpayer and households could have avoided unnecessary spends of £85m and £199m respectively on gas this winter (October 2022 – March 2023) 
  • Additionally, burning less gas is vital for managing the UK’s overall energy supply and reducing our carbon emissions