Energy Consumption: Average UK usage and how you can save

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Last updated: January 2022

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What is the average energy consumption of the UK in kWh?

What’s a kWh?

Before you can understand how much energy your home consumes, it’s important to find out a little more about how energy is measured. Household energy consumption in the UK is measured in terms of kilowatt hours, or kWh. A kilowatt is 1,000 watts. A kilowatt hour is a measurement that equals the amount of energy you would use if you had a 1,000 watt appliance running for an hour. So for example, if you had a 1,000 electric radiator on for an hour, it would use up one kWh.

Smaller appliances take a lot longer to consume a kWh. Even the brightest light bulb is normally only 100 watts. This means it would take 10 hours to consume 1kWh of energy. A 2,000 watt appliance on the other hand would have an average energy consumption of 1 kWh every 30 minutes.

What's your average electricity consumption?

What is the average electricity consumption in the UK?

Average energy consumption varies dramatically between households. Large, poorly-insulated homes, and those that are jam-packed with tech, are likely to use considerably more electricity than small, well-insulated properties. According to government figures, the average household in the UK consumes 3760 kWh per year. This figure has dropped over the last few years, dipping below 4,000kWh for the first time in decades in 2014.

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This drop in average energy consumption is largely down to more efficient appliances and improved insulation. The increased popularity of smart meters has also made a lot of people more aware of the amount of energy they’re using. This has encouraged a number of households to cut their usage and reduce their energy bills.

What’s the average gas consumption in a UK household?

When it comes to average gas consumption, the figures are a little higher. A household with low consumption will probably get through around 8,000 kWh per year, while a high consumption household could use up to 17,000 kWh per year.
The UK compares relatively favourably with other developed nations around the world. For example, people living in the US and Canada consume almost 12,000 kWh in electricity every year. Australia and France are also high-energy consumers while households in Russia and Italy get through just 2,000 – 3,000 kWh per year each. Countries in Asia consume the least energy with the average consumption in China, India and Indonesia between 1,000 and 2,000 kWh per year.

  • Canada – 11,879 kWh
  • USA – 11,698 kWh
  • Australia – 7,227 kWh
  • France – 6,343 kWh
  • UK – 4,648 kWh
  • Italy – 2,777 kWh
  • Russia – 2,419 kWh
  • India – 900 kWh

How much energy do we produce and consume as a country?

The amount of energy the UK produces varies year by year. For a long time, the UK was fairly self-sufficient when it came to energy production. However, as the North Sea oil reserves have begun to dwindle, the country has started relying on imports for an ever-larger proportion of its energy needs.

Energy in the UK comes from a number of different sources including fossil fuels, renewables, gas and nuclear. At the moment, the majority of our energy still comes from fossil fuels. Although over the past decade, the percentage of energy derived from fossil fuels has dropped significantly. This has mostly been caused by the rise of renewable energy and more efficient green energy production processes.

Fuel 2011 2018
Gas 40% 39%
Coal 30% 5%
Nuclear Power 19% 19%
Renewables 4% 33%

In 2019, the UK produced a total of 323.7 TWh of electricity. That was 2.8% lower compared to 2018 when the UK produced 332.9 TWh of electricity. In 2019, total energy consumption in the UK stood at 301.76 TWh. A TWh is a Terawatt-hour, or 1012 watt-hours.

In 2017, net imports made up 36% of UK energy needs. This means that 64% of the energy consumed in the UK is made in the UK.

UK energy dependency 2008 – 2018:

  • 2008 – 26%
  • 2009 – 27%
  • 2010 – 29%
  • 2011 – 37%
  • 2012 – 43%
  • 2013 – 48%
  • 2014 – 47%
  • 2015 – 38%
  • 2016 – 36%
  • 2017 – 36%
  • 2018 – 36%

Manage your energy usage

What appliances use the most electricity?

Most of the electricity used in your home will be consumed by your appliances. Some of these appliances are surprisingly energy hungry, even when they’re on standby.

In general, the gadgets that use the most electricity are those that heat and cool things. So your fridge, freezer, kettle, toaster and electric boiler are likely to contribute the most towards your average electricity consumption. Appliances like lamps, TVs and stereos generally use much less energy than other electronics. Although leaving them on standby does add significantly to their average consumption.

The table below shows the average energy consumption of common household appliances and how much they add to your household energy bills.

Appliance Average energy consumption Annual cost
Fridge Freezer 0.40kWh £40.80
Tumble Dryer 2.50kWh £37.00
Electric hob 0.71kWh £30.10
Electric oven 1.56kWh £21.08
Dishwasher 1.44kWh £19.44
Kettle 0.11kWh £16.90

All of this adds up to annual average energy consumption of around 3,760 kWh per household per year. Which, according to energy market regulator Ofgem, results in an average dual fuel variable tariff of £104.50 per month, or £1,254 a year.

If you think you’re paying too much for your energy, we can help. 0330 818 6223 to compare tariffs and learn about our Switch Plan.

How to reduce your average energy consumption?

If you want to minimise your annual energy bills, or reduce your carbon footprint, there are lots of ways to lower your average energy consumption. Making a few small changes can actually make a significant difference to your annual energy bill.

  • Invest in energy efficient appliances
  • Don’t leave appliances on standby
  • Turn your thermostat down
  • Swap standard light bulbs for energy efficient alternatives
  • Turn lights off when rooms aren’t in use
  • Wash clothes at a lower temperature

How many kilowatts does it take to power a house?

The number of kilowatts it takes to power a house varies depending on a number of factors. As heating and cooling appliances are generally the most expensive, the size of your house can have a big impact on its energy consumption.

The table below shows the average energy consumption of different types of homes commonly found in the UK:

Type of home Average energy consumption (kWh)
Mid-terrace 2779
Flat 2829
End terrace 3442
Semi-detached 3847
Bungalow 3866
Detached house 4153

Would you like to know more about energy in the UK? Great! Check out these articles:

  1. Energy consumption
  2. kWh cost calculator
  3. kWh

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What is the average energy consumption per household?

The average UK household uses around 8.5 – 10 kWh electricity and 33-38 kWh gas per day. This totals 3,760 kWh per year for electricity and 8,000 – 17,000 kWh per year for gas.

⚡ How much power does the average person use per day?

The average household size in the UK is 2.4 people. This means that the average person uses 3.5 - 4.16 kWh electricity and 13.75 – 15.8 kWh gas each day.

Which household appliance uses the most energy?

This will depend on how often you use certain appliances. Kettles and tumble dryers can consume a lot of energy if they’re used on a very regular basis. However, as the fridge is generally left turned on around the clock, it’s often the appliances that draw the most energy from the grid.

What is the average energy bill for a 3-bed house?

A 3-bed house is considered to be a medium energy usage household. According to Ofgem, medium energy usage households consume around 12,000 kWh of gas and 3,100 kWh of electricity every year.

To know more, read:

Updated on 27 Jan, 2022

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