Electricity use rises as big bills loom
Households in Sunderland recorded their largest rise in electricity consumption in eight years as Covid forced people to spend more time at home, according to new figures.
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy data show an average of 394 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity were recorded on domestic meters in the area during 2020 – a five per cent rise on the 377 GWh consumed the year before and the largest change since comparable records began in 2012.
Nationally electricity use by homes rose by 5.6% in 2020, but while people spent more time at home, lockdowns forced many businesses to close, with non-domestic consumption dropping by 11.1% – meaning overall electricity use dropped by 4.8% – the largest year-on-year fall on record.
The figures come as energy bills are predicted to rocket this year – driven by a spike in the cost of gas – and work from home advice has been reintroduced.
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves is calling on the Government to remove VAT on domestic gas and electricity bills through the winter months to help families weather the storm.
She said: “Right now, people are being hit by a cost-of-living crisis which has seen energy bills soar and food costs increase.”
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng met with energy companies and regulator Ofgem after Christmas to discuss how to deal with soaring gas and electricity prices.
A Government spokesman said: “Throughout the meeting there was discussion of the issues facing the sector and an agreement for meetings to continue over the coming days and weeks to ensure UK consumers are protected.”