A government report has revealed large discrepancies between theoretical levels of energy being used in British households and actual consumption rates.

The report published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) found the theoretical amount, which is used as a baseline for many statistics and official reports, is on average £133 higher than the actual amount.

The report also warns that the discrepancies are much larger in fuel poor households, where the average theoretical amount is £319 higher than actual usage.

It also found that households that use prepayment meters use on average £186 less than their theoretical usage amounts.

The report adds the greatest difference between the theoretical and the actual amount is for couples with children and lone parents with children.

Speaking to Utility Week, the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit’s (ECIU) head of analysis, Dr Jonathan Marshall said theoretical household usage levels are “not particularly useful anymore”.

But he added that it is “hard to see what is actually happening”, particularly around fuel poverty if officials are not using the right data sets.

“When everyone has a smart meter you will be able to get more clarity,” said Marshall. “It might just be that fuel poor houses are smaller households, and they use less energy than the standard, because they have fewer rooms.”

He also pointed to an ECIU report, which was published last year which showed the average energy bill decreased by £6 in the previous 12 months as shrinking demand more than offset price rises from the energy companies.

According to a survey of MPs commissioned by ECIU at the time, nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) believe that both are rising, while just 1 per cent know that both bills and demand are falling.

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