More people thinking about insulation as energy bills soar, says ONS

More than one in four adults in the UK are thinking about what they can do to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

27 May 2022

The energy crisis has increased the number of people who are thinking about upgrading their homes to ensure that less heat leaks out, new data show.

The Office for National Statistics found that 26% of adults in the UK are considering changes to their homes’ energy efficiency, up from 19% last autumn when it asked the question.

Energy bills soared by 54% for the average household on a standard variable energy tariff at the beginning of April when the price cap on bills was changed.

In October bills are expected to go up more than £800 again to around £2,800, considerably more than double their levels from just a few months ago.

The ONS found that among those thinking about the energy efficiency of their homes, 42% were considering improving their insulation, 21% think solar panels might be an option and 32% say they might make other improvements.

It also found that 24% of them might try to switch energy supplier.

But those trying to get a cheaper energy deal are likely to be disappointed as the price cap is the best on the market at the moment.

Cost of living crisis
An online energy bill (Jacob King/PA)

However, three quarters (74%) of those surveyed by the ONS said they are not planning on improving energy efficiency.

More than one in three of these (36%) said that it would cost too much to do, 29% cannot make changes because they do not own their homes, and 26% felt that their homes are efficient enough.

On Thursday the Government announced a package of new measures which will help the poorest households offset a large portion of the rise in their energy bills.

It will also hand £400 off energy bills to each household in the country.

The Government was forced to step in with the new £15 billion package after inflation soared to 40-year highs.

It is having a real-world impact on many people across the country.

More than four in 10 (44%) said that they are buying less food over the last two weeks.

When the question was asked a fortnight ago, 41% said the same and just 18% said so at the start of the year.

The ONS also found that 88% of people said their cost of living has risen over the past month, unchanged from two weeks ago.

In November last year the figure was 62%.

People also said they were spending less on non-essentials (56%), using less gas and electricity at home (50%) and cutting back on non-essential car journeys (39%).

Meanwhile the proportion of people who pay energy bills who find it very or somewhat difficult to afford them increased from 41% a few weeks ago to 46% in the latest survey.

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