Changeworks welcomes the lowering of the energy price cap but warns this will provide scant relief to those households struggling with energy bills. The only way to guard against fuel poverty whilst meeting our net zero targets is through the large scale retrofitting of Scottish homes.
Currently, the UK Government’s Energy Price Guarantee means that the average household energy bill is £2,500 a year. Energy industry regulator Ofgem announced that from July, the typical household energy bill will drop to £2,074.
Whilst any reduction in energy bills is good news, it’s worth noting that people will still be paying almost double their October 2021 costs. With energy markets likely to remain volatile, the next few years will be challenging for millions across the country.
Britain has some of the least energy efficient housing in Europe. This means that much of the heat we pay for doesn’t stay in our home – it disappears through the walls, windows and roof. As a result, we put our heating on for longer, which costs us more. Even before the energy crisis, this was unaffordable for many people: in 2019 an estimated 613,000 Scottish households were in fuel poverty. Furthermore, as most UK heating systems use fossil fuels, the wasted energy increases our carbon emissions.
Any viable solution to high energy bills and carbon emissions must therefore foreground the retrofitting of our homes. Over summer, the Scottish Government has the opportunity to up its commitment to properly insulating our homes. This will help protect households against fluctuating energy prices, as well as contribute to lowering carbon emissions.