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Saturday 17 February 2018
17 February 2018 - NEWS UPDATE
Green Living

Consumers worry about energy bills, not climate change

Concern about fuel bills remains the biggest issue for UK energy consumers, according to the latest Government survey. A total of 59% of UK adults say they are worried about rising bills - up 14% in a year, though Ministers says this is likely to be because of the unseasonably cold weather prior to the survey.

Public support for renewable energy sources to provide the UK's electricity, fuel and heat is at its highest, peaking at 82%, 3% greater than a year ago.

But according to Concern about fuel bills remains the biggest issue for UK energy consumers, according to the latest Government survey.

A total of 59% of UK adults say they are worried about rising bills - up 14% in a year, though Ministers says this is likely to be because of the unseasonably cold weather prior to the survey.

Public support for renewable energy sources to provide the UK's electricity, fuel and heat is at its highest, peaking at 82%, 3% greater than a year ago.

But according to DECC's Public Attitudes Tracker survey, climate change and energy security are not viewed as key challenges facing Britain today.

Only 5% of respondents saw climate change as the top challenge, up from 2% in a year; and 6% cited security of energy supply, compared to 3% last year.

When asked directly, 66% were concerned about climate change (similar to the previous response of 65%), with 12% attributing it to natural causes, down from 15%.

Awareness of collective switching increased to 27%, from 21% and there was a significant increase in the proportion of people interested in joining a collective switching scheme, up to 42% from 34%

A total of 16% have switched energy supplier in the last year, up just one per cent.

Concern about energy security has increased. 88% were concerned about steep rises in energy prices in the future

(the next 10- 20 years) up from 84%.

Awareness of Carbon Capture and Storage increased to 41%, from 36%. 57% of those aware of the technology supported its use to generate electricity in the UK.

Support for individual renewable technologies remained static, with 85% now supporting solar, around three-quarters supporting wave and tidal (77%) and off-shore wind (76%) and around two-thirds supporting on-shore wind (68%) and biomass (64%).

Support for nuclear energy for generating electricity in the UK rose to 40%, from 37% in although overall views are split, with 23% opposed and 35% neither supporting nor opposing its use.

46% of people agreed that nuclear energy provides a reliable source of affordable energy in the UK, no significant difference to the previous survey.

In spite of concern about energy bills and 80% saying they think about energy saving behaviours, levels of energy wasting behaviours remained high overall: with 67% of people admitting to at least occasionally boiling the kettle with more water than they intend to use; 52% leaving lights on when they are not in the room; and 52% leaving the heating on when they go out for a few hours.

51% of households had installed or thought about replacing an older gas boiler with a more efficient condensing boiler, up from 45%. This is considerably higher than any of the alternative sources of heat measured - only 7% have installed or thought about installing solar panels, and 2% installed or thought about installing air source heat pumps.

Speaking in response to DECC's Public Attitudes Tracker survey, published today, Secretary of State, Ed Davey said: "The findings from today's survey show that energy and climate change issues are at the forefront of people's minds.  It comes as no surprise that energy bills are a concern, but the increase in collective switching awareness, as more and more people club together to increase their energy buying power, is encouraging.

"82% of people interviewed for the study were supportive of renewable energy – a rise of 3% from last year.  This shows clear public support for government to continue in its efforts of developing for low-carbon, home grown forms of energy"

The Survey can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/public-attitudes-tracking-survey-wave-5

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