Consumers in Coventry are paying far more for gas and electricity than the national average, according to a new report which reveals that energy bills in the city have risen at a disproportionate rate.
Analysis of government statistics carried out by consultancy WSP found that the annual spend on gas and electricity in the city is £1,439, which is not only the highest in the West Midlands, but also higher than the national average by £267.
The figures were all the more surprising, considering that homes in the region are far more energy efficient than a decade ago, with an average 25% increase in heat retention since 2005.
The variances between regions and even areas within larger regions are “really quite dramatic”, explained Paul Thomas, technical director at WSP.
“It’s interesting to analyse as, while to some degree the differences are down to factors such as temperature difference between north and south, house size and condition, there is also an element in the homeowner’s attitude to energy saving,” he added.
Thomas explained that, while every homeowner will be subject to fluctuating energy costs passed on by their supplier, there is action that families can take to retain heat, lower power usage and help reduce their energy bills.
As such, the difference between putting on an extra layer of clothing to turning up the heating can lead to substantial differences in fuel bills, he noted.
“As a region we’re not faring too badly in the green league when it comes to energy usage, but it looks as though Coventry and Solihull have some energy saving homework to do.”
Energy bills on the rise
It comes after the launch of energy regulator Ofgem’s Retail Market Review scheme, which aims to simplify energy plans in order to reduce consumer confusion over bills and bring greater clarity to the market.
However, the scheme has been criticised by some analysts, who warn that families with low energy consumption levels could be hit with significant price rises as a standing charge replaces the two-tier plan.
Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint said it is evidence that energy tariff reforms have backfired and claimed that thousands of consumers could end up paying more than they were before.