Category Archives: Consumers

Disruptive change ahead in the way we buy and use energy

A thermal image of a house

In the spring, Ofgem announced its Insight for Future Regulation project, and has now produced the first paper of a series:  first Future Insights discussion paper. It sets out some of the dramatic changes in the way we use and buy energy which might come about in the next five or ten years.

First, a health warning – past predictions are not a firm guide to the future, though they are the best we have got.  Between December 2012 and March 2016, the number of active gas or electricity suppliers in the domestic market doubled from 20 to 43. Forecasts by the (then) Department of Trade and Industry in 2000 for electricity demand in 2015 turned out to be 20% too high – our appliances are much more efficient than anticipated. Continue reading

How best to support older people with Energy issues?

“[Energy Adviser] who came to assess our needs was very thorough and offered advice and suggestions. The work was promptly completed and has been a boom in the cold weather. It involved draught proofing our doors which had warped over the years. What a difference to the warmth of our home this winter”

“[Energy Adviser] who came to assess our needs was very thorough and offered advice and suggestions. The work was promptly completed and has been a boom in the cold weather. It involved draught proofing our doors which had warped over the years. What a difference to the warmth of our home this winter”

We know cold weather increases the demand on the health service, and with cold homes in particular, it is believed to be one reason behind increases in respiratory and circulatory diseases in winter. Older people are more likely to suffer from cold weather and in addition to affecting their health we know it can have an impact on their quality of life. The personal and family costs from becoming seriously ill or from a premature death because of the cold can be devastating. But it does not need to be this way. Continue reading

The future is electrifying

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Two thirds of our current electricity generating plants will be decommissioned by 2030.   In the next fifteen years, they will need to be replaced with a mixture of new power stations and by generating more energy from renewable resources – primarily wind and solar, and tidal might also have a place. On top of that, we will need more electricity as we proceed with the electrification of heating and transport – some predictions suggest that we should eventually be planning for a seven-fold increase in electricity generation capacity.    Continue reading

Wholly automatic driving

Photo credit: Del Mitch (Flickr: Creative Commons )

Photo credit: Del Mitch (Flickr: Creative Commons )

Mobility, as Age UK is constantly arguing, is a key to social engagement and active ageing. Bus travel is getting better in terms of passenger information, but public services funding means bus services are frequently faltering, so using a car is often the only option. The good news is that cars are getting easier to drive, and wholly ‘autonomous’ cars are just over the horizon. Continue reading