Latest Government statistics reveal that while the UK’s GDP has increased by almost 60 per cent since 2000 energy consumption has actually declined. Here is a simple test for everybody. By how much has UK energy consumption already increased during this century? Actually, this isn’t just a question for generalists. I have been regularly trying it out on energy specialists in companies, in trade bodies. Even among the senior civil service. The answer given varies. But almost without exception, the response is that consumption has gone up. Sometimes by 5 per cent, sometimes 10 per cent, sometimes 20 per cent or more. I then ask: how much do you think the country’s wealth has increased over the same period? And when I tell people that – even despite the recession - Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has risen by no less than 58 per cent between 2000 and 2012, I instantly get a re-evaluation of how much energy consumption has grown.
ACE has today joined with nearly 30 other civil society organisations in issuing a joint statement calling on the Government to lay without delay tough, enforceable regulations to introduce a minimum energy efficiency standard in the private rented sector. The sector has the highest proportion of the very worst homes (those in EPC Bands F and G) – with nearly half the households living in them suffering from fuel poverty. The Energy Act 2011 required the Government to bring forward regulations to introduce a minimum energy efficiency standard, expected to be set at Band E. However, these regulations look likely to be laid at least a year later than expected, leaving landlords and tenants alike facing uncertainty and confusion. We are therefore calling on the Government to lay the regulations as soon as possible, to specify that the standard will be Band E in all circumstances and to ensure that exemptions will be kept to an absolute minimum.
Today, we submitted our response to DECC's consultation on the future of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). This is the consultation which seeks to rubber-stamp cuts to the ECO amounting to £30-35 off the average energy bill. We, and many others, have consistently argued that cutting Britain’s only national energy efficiency programme – designed to reduce household energy bills and carbon emissions in the long term – to achieve a modest one-off energy bill reduction is completely perverse. But our analysis with the Energy Saving Trust, the Centre for Sustainable Energy and the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency finds that the cuts amount to more: nearly £42 per household - yet energy suppliers are only handing back around £32.50, on average, to each household. This represents an aggregate windfall to energy companies of £245 million this financial year.