Industry News

British Gas: Energy efficiency drives 20% fall in gas use

British Gas homes have seen a 22 per cent decline in gas consumption, on average, as more homes adopt energy efficiency measures. These cuts in gas use follows three decades of rising consumption, and shows the impact energy efficiency is having on British homes, according to an independent report published today.

The British Gas Home Energy Report 2011, by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), is the largest ever independent analysis of natural gas use in the home. The research is based on 40 million British Gas meter readings over a four year period. All the figures are weather-adjusted to show underlying trends in consumption.

The report finds that British Gas customers who adopted simple energy efficiency measures such as insulation and energy efficient boilers saved an average of £322 each year, and saw a 44 per cent fall in their gas use between 2006 and 2010, but some homes took no action at all.

With many customers not installing any measures and not seeing any cash savings, British Gas today unveils a major new programme to insulate - for free - the homes of its dual fuel customers. Dual fuel customers will get a free home insulation survey, and then a choice of either loft insulation or cavity wall insulation at no cost. Customers should register their interest at www.britishgas.co.uk/freeinsulation.

GearóidLane, Managing Director of British Gas New Markets, said:

"£1 in every £4 spent on heating our homes is wasted because of poor insulation. We want to help as many of our customers as possible reap the benefits of more energy efficient homes. That's why we're launching a national programme to give our dual fuel customers access to free cavity wall or loft insulation.

"Rising global energy prices needn't mean higher bills for households. This report shows that many homes are already reducing their energy consumption and cutting bills, but we want all British Gas homes to enjoy the same benefit."

Jonathan Thurlwell, Director of Competition Economics at Cebr, who produced the report for British Gas said:

"This report represents the largest independent analysis of domestic natural gas consumption representing nearly a fifth of the entire national market. Using detailed modelling techniques we were able to determine that energy efficiency measures are the primary driver of the average annual decline in underlying gas consumption. The message is clear: in a global environment of rising commodity prices the most effective way for households to reduce costs is through basic energy efficiency measures."

The British Gas Home Energy Report 2011also examines the future potential economic impact of energy efficiency on Britain's housing stock and finds that if all British Gas households adopted all the efficiency measures open to them then these households could save up to £3.6 billion over the next five years, equivalent to around £714 million per year.

Key findings from the British Gas Home Energy Report 2011:

Despite increasing threefold since 1970, household gas consumption started to decline sharply in 2004

Energy efficiency measures are the key driver of the decline

UK households, as a whole, have seen their underlying gas use decline by 17.0 per cent over the last five years, 2006 to 2010

British Gas customers have seen their underlying gas consumption decline by 5.3 per cent in the last year (2010) and by 22.2 per cent in the last five years (i.e. 2006 to 2010)

Between 2006 and 2010 British Gas customers who implemented energy efficiency measures saved around £1.1billion from their gas bills thanks primarily to energy efficiency measures - an average annual saving of £227 million. On average, this equates to £322 off households' gas bills (2006-2010 average)

The three measures that make the biggest impact on a customer's gas consumption are:

  1. Cavity wall insulation (reducing household consumption, on average, by 18.3 per cent)
  2. Energy efficient boilers (reducing household consumption, on average, by 18.0 per cent)
  3. Loft insulation (reducing household consumption, on average, by 13.8 per cent)

To download the full British Gas Home Energy Report 2011

Case study:

Mrs Eileen Slattery, 72

Manchester

  • Received loft insulation in February 2009
  • Average savings on energy bill: 8% (March 2009 to January 2010)

Mrs Slattery is pensioner living on her own, she wanted to reduce her energy use and save money off her energy bills. She had already replaced her old windows with double-glazed ones, and was using energy saving light bulbs.

When Mrs Slattery heard about the free insulation offer from British Gas for the over 70s she thought it would be a great way to cut further her energy consumption and make her home more comfortable.

The installation, which took place in February 2009, only took two hours, and since having it installed she's noticed that her home is much warmer. She considered cavity wall insulation, which is also free for the over 70s, but unfortunately the cavities in her house were not suitable, however, Mrs Slattery is considering further energy efficient measures in future.

"During cold winter nights I can clearly feel the difference upstairs - it has been much warmer with the loft insulation." says Mrs Slattery.

"Having the insulation installed was really quick and easy. The engineers were very efficient and did a fantastic job. They also explained everything in detail so I knew exactly what to expect. I have even recommended the insulation to my friends in the Pensioners' Club."

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. A copy of the British Gas Home Energy Report 2011 is available upon request.

2. The £322 figure is based on British Gas customers installing loft and cavity wall insulation and a new energy efficient boiler.

3. British Gas is offering free cavity wall or loft insulation to its dual fuel customers. The deal includes a free survey and installation. Customers must register by 31 May and the offer is limited to 200,000 installations. British Gas is investing up to £80 million in the free offer. British Gas also offers free insulation to those over 70 or on income or disability related benefits. Terms and conditions apply. Customers should log onto www.britishgas.co.uk/freeinsulation

Media contacts

For further information about the British Gas Home Energy Report, please contact:

Elliott Grady - elliott.grady@centrica.com / 0800 107 7015 / 07789 579114

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