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U.K. GAS AND ELECTRICITY consumption has not shown a significant decline so far in response to higher prices. I spent a large part of yesterday trying to find a price response in the available official consumption statistics without success. The charts are below. But there are some important limitations:
- Electricity consumption data is only available through June and gas data is only available through March owing to publication delays.
- Most of the rise in prices has occurred since April with another big increase scheduled to take effect from October.
- Heating demand and bills are lower in the summer months reducing consumers’ sensitivity to prices.
- Domestic and commercial consumption patterns have been distorted by the lockdowns in 2020/21 and then re-opening in 2022.
- Electricity and gas consumption has been on a long-term downtrend as a result of improvements in insulation and efficiency.
- Electricity and gas consumption shows significant annual variation depending on winter temperatures.
Once these factors are taken into account, there is no evidence of a significant reduction in gas and electricity use by households, offices and commercial premises so far. If reductions are going to occur, it will be later this year and into 2023:
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