Energy bills are now so high that even the Queen is feeling the pinch, new research has revealed.
According to the Royal Estate, gas use rose by 14% in just one year, as Britain faced a cold winter.
What’s more, the Queen has been living in ‘crumbling’ surroundings, with a 60-year-old boiler heating Buckingham Palace.
The Royal Estate now needs repairs equating to some £50 million, as 39% of it is below ‘target condition’, according to reports.
Palace boilers need overhauling
Overhauling the Queen’s heating system could cost £1 million alone. This is expected to happen in the next three to five years.
The Royal Estate has been notoriously bad when it comes to driving down energy bills, with a 2009 survey finding that Buckingham Palace is the worst energy-polluting building in London.
As regular UK families are urged to look into the best tariffs for them, the monarch has seen utility bills jump by an incredible 50% in just a year.
Last year the Royal Estate used around 24.4 million KWh of gas – up on the 21.0 million kWh it used the previous year.
Palace: Cold weather drove rise in energy bills
According to the Palace, this significant rise in gas usage was down to “the prolonged period of cold weather in the final quarter of 2012-13”. However, Lib Dem MP Ian Swales described this as “an enormous increase in gas consumption in just one year”.
Palace aides are now facing questions as to why the royal family has not sought to drive down energy costs itself, despite having claimed there had been a renewed emphasis on going green.
MPs on the Public Accounts Committee have raised concerns over the fact that the heating systems are so old that the palace’s bills have rocketed to the extent they have.
Nick Smith, Labour MP, commented: “I was shocked that boilers hadn’t been changed in Buckingham Palace for 60 years.”
Mike Stevens, deputy treasurer to Her Majesty The Queen, commented: “We certainly saw a very significant increase in the final quarter of last year.
“But this is an area that we will wish to look at ways in which we can reduce.”
He said that the Sovereign Grant will be applied to the replacement of boilers in the main palaces, as these are “nearing the end of their useful life”.
“One of the key projects of the next 15 years will be refurbishment of Buckingham Palace,” he added.
Royal pay rise
This news comes after it was revealed the Queen is set to receive a 22% pay rise over the next two years, with the monarch to be given £37.9 million in 2014-15 to run her Household and host official engagements.
This is significantly more than the £31 million she received in 2012-13.
The pay rise follows reports from the National Audit Office that the Queen is ‘down to her last £1 million’, meaning that she is vulnerable to any unexpected costs.
The “staggering” cost of repairing the Queen’s estates could mean that the Royal Train will not be replaced in the next ten years, it has been reported. Courtiers have complained that it is too noisy, uncomfortable and expensive to be viable.