Gas boiler usage witnessed a substantial winter decline, notably in rented households, falling from 72% in winter 2021 to 54% in winter 2022.

Gas central heating usage showed a notable decrease, especially in rented households, dropping from 72% in winter 2021 to 54% in winter 2022.

That’s according to a new government report which suggests during last winter there was a notable shift in home heating methods compared to the previous year.

The decline in the use of gas central heating was observed in owner-occupied households as well – from 82% to 60%.

The latest Public Attitudes Tracker also reveals that there was an increase in the use of alternative heating sources, including portable electric heaters (from 3% to 11%), solid fuel and wood heaters (from 1% to 7%), and natural gas heaters (from 1% to 4%).

Furthermore, the survey revealed that 41% of respondents paid significant attention to the amount of heat used in their homes during winter 2022.

This marked an increase compared to winter 2021 when only 27% reported being attentive to their heating costs.

The proportion of respondents who indicated they paid little or hardly any attention to their heating costs decreased from 25% to 15% during the same period.

These findings are likely influenced by rising energy prices and the overall cost of living, both of which have increased since winter 2021.

The UK experienced a record-breaking month for electricity smart meter installations in August, according to a report.

In August, 213,000 electricity smart meter installations were reported, reflecting a 9% increase from August 2022.

This figure surpassed the previous high for the year in March, which stood at 212,000 installations.

The growing trend of smart meter adoption is attributed to rising energy costs, as households use these devices to manage consumption and monitor bills.

To date, 1.576 million electricity smart meter installations have been completed in 2023, with East England, East Midlands and Southern England leading in installations.

Ministers are considering postponing the 2026 ban on oil-fired boilers, prompted by growing opposition from Conservative MPs and concerns about the impact on off-grid rural communities.

Ministers are reportedly contemplating a potential delay to the 2026 ban on oil-fired boilers.

The reconsideration comes in response to mounting opposition from Conservative MPs and escalating worries about the ban’s implications.

The proposed 2026 ban on oil-fired boilers is aimed at curbing carbon emissions and encouraging the adoption of greener heating alternatives.

However, this ban presents a particular challenge for approximately 1.7 million homes in off-grid rural areas across the UK.

These communities heavily rely on oil-fired boilers for heating, making them especially vulnerable to the policy change.

The ban could force homeowners in these regions to transition to more expensive heating solutions, primarily heat pumps, potentially imposing significant financial burdens.

Organisations like the Countryside Alliance have voiced their opposition, emphasizing that the ban could disproportionately affect rural communities.

Their concerns centre on the exacerbation of economic disparities and the risk of fuel poverty.

A source from Downing Street informed The Times that there is an ongoing discussion regarding various net zero policies, including the potential ban on gas boilers.

A spokesperson for the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero said: “We have consulted on new regulations to phase out boilers in homes and non-domestic buildings off the gas grid from 2026. We will confirm our plans when we publish our response to the consultation in due course.

“We are fully focused on meeting our aim of 600,000 heat pump installations a year by 2028, having offered grants of £5,000 and £6,000 towards the cost, totalling £81 million in vouchers to installers in the first year of our Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

“But we recognise that not all properties will be suitable for a heat pump and no one will be forced to install one.”

Experts have warned that the lack of clear regulatory guidance is discouraging most landlords from investing in energy efficiency upgrades.

Certain policy shifts unveiled by the Prime Minister yesterday could result in renters collectively facing an additional £1 billion in energy expenses.

The ongoing gas crisis has shed light on the importance of a well-insulated home, even with an efficient gas boiler.

In cases where the building’s fabric cannot effectively retain heat, energy bills can remain high.

This issue is particularly pressing for renters who rely on their landlords to maintain their living spaces.

According to the Social Market Foundation’s research, a significant portion of landlords appear to be in a state of indecision, reluctant to undertake energy efficiency enhancements without a clear understanding of the regulatory framework.

The think tank said the recent announcement regarding the withdrawal of support for insulation costs is likely to exacerbate this reluctance, ultimately placing the financial burden on renters to cover the costs.

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More people are content with the prospect of solar panel farms in their local areas compared to onshore wind farms, according to a new government survey.

Britons express greater satisfaction with the idea of a solar panel farm being built locally.

The latest findings from the government’s Public Attitudes Tracker shed light on how people feel about renewable energy infrastructure in their local communities.

In the spring of 2023, respondents were asked about their level of happiness regarding the construction of onshore wind farms and solar panel farms in their vicinity.

Approximately 54% of those surveyed indicated that they would be content with the construction of a solar panel farm in their area.

In contrast, 43% expressed happiness about an onshore wind farm being established nearby.

Notably, just more than a quarter of respondents stated that they had no strong preference for either option, with 28% expressing neutrality toward both wind farms and solar panel farms.

According to the report, these figures remained relatively stable compared to the survey conducted in Spring 2022.


Image: Joe Dunckley / Shutterstock