Uswitch.com has called on households to focus on energy efficiency and ramping up insulation to ease the pressure of rising energy bills.
The watchdog’s head of policy Justina Miltienyte told City A.M.: “At a time when bills are higher, energy efficiency becomes more important as people try to save money and insulation is a good way to reduce your energy costs.”
The consumer price cap spiked 54 per cent last month, with household energy bills rising to a painful £1,971 per year, reflecting soaring wholesale costs and market carnage.
In response to the crisis, Chancellor Rishi Sunak earlier this year unveiled a £9bn rebate scheme and council tax exemptions for millions of households, providing an annual saving of up to £350 per year for consumers.
Since then Russia has invaded Ukraine, causing wholesale prices to spike and further uncertainty to enter the energy marker.
However, the government has not yet committed to further support this winter, despite the Bank of England forecasting today another 40 per cent hike in the price cap this October.
It is the latest in a line of forecasts anticipating a price hike, with Investec, Goldman Sachs, and Cornwall Insight also warning of vast hikes in household bills later this year.
Instead, Downing Street has focused chiefly on medium-to-long-term solutions such as ramping up energy production, rather than more financial support, energy efficiency and reducing consumption levels.
Miltienyte argued that insulation has improved drastically over the years, and that help should be provided to consumers looking to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
She explained: “Customers should invest in home insulation as this will ultimately save them money in the long run. However, not everyone can pay the upfront costs and more needs to be done to support them as bills continue to rise.”
Insulation key to saving households money
The head of policy’s comments to the newspaper follow a study published earlier this week from EDF Energy, revealing the insulation age of UK homes to be at least 46 years old.
The energy giant surveyed 2,000 UK homeowners, revealing more than than half (58 per cent) the country’s households only meet the insulation standards of 1976 or older.
Less than a tenth of homes scrutinised by the firm have an insulation age of 20 years or younger.
The study, conducted by EDF in partnership with property data platform, Sprift, assessed the levels of home insulation (including floor, roof, window and wall insulation) against building regulations of homes across different time periods to calculate the nation’s ‘home insulation age’.
EDF forecasts that loft insulation alone could save £250 per year from a £2,000 per year energy bill, while the average semi-detached homeowner could also save up to £285 a year by upgrading cavity-wall insulation and a further £390 a year by updating solid-wall insulation.
The need to reduce costs has become increasingly urgent, with 29 firms have collapsed since September, directly affecting over four million customers .
Suppliers are struggling to deal with the lethal combination of record gas prices and the constraints of the consumer price cap, which prevented them passing on rising costs to consumers.
This has resulted in heavy clean up bills for consumers, with Bulb Energy’s de-facto nationalisation estimated to cost £2.2bn so far, while market regulator Ofgem has provided £1.8bn in public funds to compensate surviving suppliers taking on customers from fallen firms.
Michael Lewis, EON chief executive also told Parliament last month that reducing household energy usage through boosting insulation across the country’s housing stock could cut down energy bills, warning that UK homes among the least efficient in Europe.
He explained: “These are things we can do quickly. These are things we can ramp up for vulnerable customers very quickly, and we were very disappointed the government did not address that directly. That actually is the silver bullet for solving some of our short-term problems – a massive investment in energy efficiency. “