The average household has seen its energy bills increase by nearly 20 per cent over the last decade even though it is using a fifth less gas and electricity, according to new research by the Liberal Democrats.

An analysis by the Lib Dems of the government’s Annual Domestic Energy Bills statistics, published towards the end of July by the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, shows that the average family paid £178 more on their energy bills in 2017 compared to 2007.

Average combined gas and electricity bills were £925 in 2007, according to the figures which are based on actual average consumption. This broke down to £472 and £423 for average gas and electricity bills respectively.

In 2017, the combined figure had increased to £1,104, which equated to a 19.3 per cent rise. Over this period, average electricity bills had risen by nearly a quarter (23.1 per cent) to £558, while gas bills were up 15.7 per cent to £546.

The increase in average bills across the decade happened despite a fall in the average household’s consumption over the last decade due to better energy efficiency.

The analysis, published on Friday (3 August), shows that the average household consumed 12,714 kWh of gas per annum in 2017, 21.6 per cent less than in 2007.

This reduction was mirrored by average household electricity consumption, which dropped 19.5 per cent from 4,190 kWh per annum to 3,374 kWh.

Based on the estimate that there are around 26 million households in the UK, the Lib Dems calculate that households are paying £4.6 billion more than they were a decade ago.

Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “This is monopoly power in action. The big six are so dominant in the market that people are paying more for using less. Even assuming that companies need to invest more is no justification.

“People should not be punished for doing the right thing, they should demand better from their energy company.”

The Lib Dem analysis follows the publication of a report last week by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, which showed that the average dual fuel bill fell by £6 last year due to lower consumption resulting from the introduction of less wasteful appliances.

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