We recognise society is under increasing strain from the rising cost of living during a period of continued economic difficulty – and we’re mindful that money spent on powering and heating homes and businesses can add to this pressure. That’s why we are committed to helping customers keep costs down. One of the key ways we’re doing this is by reducing household consumption through delivering energy efficiency measures like insulation and energy efficient boilers. These measures can help customers cut energy bills.
These efforts can also limit energy’s impact on the environment as reduced household consumption also cuts carbon emissions. For example, the products we installed in UK homes since 2010 have saved around 9.8m tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions - this is significant and put more simply, equates to taking 668,000 cars off the road.
A primary way British Gas delivers energy efficiency is through its support for the UK Government’s programmes such as the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and before that the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP). These programmes are designed to increase availability and uptake of energy efficiency products as well as provide support for the vulnerable.
Here’s an outline of these programmes and our activity to deliver them:
- CERTran from 2008 to 2011 and required energy suppliers to deploy energy efficiency measures to households with the aim of delivering carbon savings. Despite our strong efforts, we like most other energy suppliers, were unable to meet the challenging CERT targets at the end of 2012, so we met our 1% shortfall early in 2013, equating to 96.8m tonnes of total lifetime carbon savings from the products we installed.
- CESPran from 2009 to 2012 and was an obligation on UK power generators and energy suppliers to install energy efficiency measures in areas of severe social deprivation. Due to challenging weather conditions in the winter of 2012, completion of British Gas’ projects became delayed so we concluded these in 2013 instead. The scheme saw British Gas work alongside local authorities and social housing providers in a ‘community-by-community’ and ‘whole house’ approach. This approach made an entire building or street more energy efficient, optimising energy efficiency gains in a cost-effective way. By the end of the programme, we had delivered 95 CESP schemes in low income areas and enabled 5.8m tonnes of equivalent carbon savings.
- ECO is now the main focus for us in this area and in 2013, our commitments under the scheme equated to £420m. The measures we installed will save 1.3m tonnes of carbon over their lifetime and £950m on heating costs. ECO requires energy suppliers to install energy efficiency measures and improve the insulation of properties, particularly harder-to-treat homes where installations are more complex. We welcomed the Government’s changes to the scheme announced last December because it allows us to deliver a wider range of energy efficiency measures to a greater number of homes over a longer period of time. This means we can deliver ECO in a more affordable way, which has enabled us to reduce average household gas and electricity prices.
While we’ve made strong progress in supporting our customers to reduce their energy bills and emissions through greater energy efficiency, there’s more we can do and we will work harder to help the UK realise the full potential of energy efficiency.
More information on our work to deliver CERT and CESP is available in our previous CR Reports.