Half of West Northamptonshire homes among UK's least energy efficient as soaring bills leave thousands choosing to heat or eat

Experts call for more help on insulation to protect people against volatile gas prices

By Patrick Jack, Data Reporter
Monday, 7th February 2022, 10:05 am

More than half of Northamptonshire homes are among Britain's least energy efficient as soaring bills leave thousands having to choose between heating or eating.

The government is being urged to make energy efficiency a national priority after regulator Ofgem announced bills will rise by up to £700 from April.

Energy Performance Certificates show how effective a home is at keeping heat in with ratings from the most efficient A to G. Residents with lower ratings need to spend more on energy bills to keep homes warm.

Sign up to our daily Daventry Express Today newsletter

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced help for people coping with rising energy bills, but experts say it's not enough

The Energy Saving Trust says last week price cap rise, alongside higher living costs caused by further inflation, is 'extremely worrying.'

Mike Thornton, chief executive of the organisation, added: "As well as the need for immediate action and short-term support, the current crisis emphasises the importance of improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock in the long-term.

"Energy efficiency and more renewables are the best ways to protect everybody against volatile gas prices and rising bills in the long-term."

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show 55 percent of dwellings in West Northamptonshire had an EPC rating of Band D or below in 2020-21. In Northamptonshire, 52 percent of dwellings had a rating of Band D or below.

This was lower than the average across England, of 58 percent.

Ofgem announced the energy price cap will rise to a record £1,971 for a typical household as gas prices soar to unprecedented highs. This 54 percent increase affects around 22 million households across Britain from the beginning of April, adding £693 to typical annual bills.

In response, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £200 rebate on energy bills, which will have to be paid back, and a £150 reduction in council tax for millions in England.

ONS figures also show the median annual energy cost in West Northamptonshire was an estimated £739 in 2020-21 – above the England average of £731. In North Northants, bills were median bills were slightly lower at an estimated £720.

Analysis by the Regulatory Assistance Project shows that without energy efficiency measures already installed in UK homes – among the oldest and least energy efficient in Europe – bills could rise to as much as £3,000 a year on average.

Jan Rosenow, director of RAP, said insulation is critical for meeting the country's net zero climate goals, saving money on energy bills, and insulating households from future price rises.

He added: “What is missing is a well-funded energy efficiency policy for all households that enables people to invest in making their homes more energy efficient."

Mr Sunak said the Government's support will help around 28 million households with their rising energy costs over the next year.

He added: "We stood behind British people and businesses throughout the pandemic and it’s right we continue to do that as our economy recovers in the months ahead."