Russia’s invasion of Ukraine costs Brits an extra £1,000 in higher bills, data reveals
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which sent gas prices soaring to record highs, has cost the average Brit an additional £1,000 over the last 12 months, new data reveals.
The spike in wholesale costs since the invasion last February has cost the UK an extra £50-60bn, as the total spending gas rose to around £70bn, according to fresh estimates from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU).
ECIU estimates that impact of gas prices on households would have been less severe, however, if the UK had been further ahead with key net zero policies such as improving the energy efficiency of homes, boosting onshore wind and rolling out heat pumps, which would have saved a typical household up to £1,750 last year.
The International Monetary Fund has previously calculated that British households have been the worst hit in Western Europe due to its high dependency on gas.
Dr Simon Cran-McGreehin, head of analysis at ECIU, believed the UK needed to stop being dependent on gas or otherwise it would struggle to bring down energy bills – regardless of the situation in Ukraine.
“The price of gas is largely set by international markets, so the only way to protect yourself is to use less,” he said.
“The onshore wind ban has been one of the barriers to this. We’re also running behind places like Sweden, Poland and Estonia on installing electric heat pumps. As renewables and heat pumps proliferate, less imported gas is needed, which in turn benefits our balance of payments and energy security,” Cran-McGreehin said.
Currently, the UK uses gas for generating 40 per cent of its electricity and for heating 85 per cent of its homes, which are some of the least energy efficient in Europe.
While the prices of gas contracts have fallen in recent weeks amid warmer winter weather and easing demand – the costs shouldered by customers are still dominated by trades made during last year’s peaks, with suppliers buying gas on long-term contracts.