Countries on the continent, such as Germany, are leading the way in slashing their demand for gas, according to a new report.
Meanwhile the UK is lagging behind its European counterparts, and is showing no signs of reducing its gas consumption, with an unseasonably mild autumn leading to only modest drops.
Independent analysis, carried out by Imperial College London for Drax Electric Insights, claims that households could save up to £200 by turning down their thermostat by just 1°C.
In turn, that would save Westminster around £3 billion in funding the energy price guarantee.
According to Drax’s Q3 2022 research, the UK’s gas reduction year-on-year was outpaced by Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.
Demand for the fuel actually rose in Britain in September, compared to previous years.
What reduction there was in gas use in the UK was attributable to unusually warm weather, rather than people adjusting their behaviour the company said.
Between September and the end of November, Britain’s gas demand was just 0.3% lower than would have been expected pre-energy crisis, when accounting for weather anomalies.
Europe is still battling an energy shortage, and there are fears the problem could worsen should January and February herald in a particularly cold snap.
Iain Staffell of Imperial College London, and lead author of the quarterly Drax Electric Insights report, said: “The UK is an outlier on the world stage, showing no signs of reducing its appetite for gas during a time of dramatically higher prices.
“If temperatures continue to drop during the festive season, managing the energy crisis will be both more difficult and expensive unless people and businesses break their addiction to gas. Turning the thermostat down by just 1°C would save households up to £200 a year on their energy bills and save the UK from importing 50TWh of natural gas over the winter – cutting the cost of the government’s Energy Price Guarantee by £3bn.”
On the continent, national governments have introduced demand reduction measures, alongside information campaigns to inspire the public and businesses to act.
In Germany, public buildings have turned down their thermostats to 19°C and outside illuminated advertising must be turned off between 10pm until 6am.
Penny Small, Drax’s group generation director, said: “As a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine the UK’s energy system is under considerable strain this winter and the combination of rising inflation and gas prices has put most household budgets under pressure.
“Britain’s long-term energy security will be strengthened by ending our reliance on expensive imported fossil fuels such as gas and instead increasing investment in homegrown renewables, and innovative green technologies such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and pumped storage hydro.”