Aberdeenshire homes record pandemic-fuelled rise in electricity use
Households in Aberdeenshire recorded their largest rise in electricity consumption in eight years in 2020, as Covid-19 forced people to spend more time at home.
The figures come at a time of rising energy prices, driven by a spike in the cost of gas, with energy bills predicted to double this year.
The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy figures show 564 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity were consumed by domestic meters in Aberdeenshire in 2020.
This was a five per cent rise on the 535 GWh consumed the year before and the largest change since comparable records began in 2012.
Across Britain, electricity use by homes rose by 5.6 per cent in 2020.
But while people spent more time at home, lockdowns forced many businesses to close, with non-domestic consumption dropping by 11.1 per cent.
It means overall electricity use dropped by 4.8 per cent – the largest year-on-year fall on record.
Fears have been raised about the soaring cost of energy bills – driven by rising gas prices – as people continue to work from home.
The disruption has been bankrupting suppliers since September, costing consumers £4 billion.
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves is calling on the Government to remove VAT on domestic gas and electricity bills through the winter months to help families weather the storm.
Ms Reeves said: “Right now, people are being hit by a cost-of-living crisis which has seen energy bills soar, food costs increase and the weekly budget stretched.
“We need a sustainable and ambitious approach to energy, which is why Labour would also ramp up ambition with our plan to retrofit 19 million homes, making our energy supply chain more secure without hitting household savings.”
UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng met energy companies and regulator Ofgem after Christmas to discuss how to deal with soaring gas and electricity prices.
A Government spokesman commented: “Throughout the meeting there was discussion of the issues facing the sector and an agreement for meetings to continue over the coming days and weeks to ensure UK consumers are protected.”