League tables look at how we power our homes
League tables comparing the consumption of energy in homes across the regions have been published for the first time by the DTI.The analysis, Energy - its impact on the environment and society, seeks to highlight habits across the country and point out the environmental effects of the energy choices householders are making.
It also looks at possible ways to address the national situation and reduce carbon emissions, from investing in renewable energy or nuclear power to improving energy efficiency.
"We probably all have a rough idea which parts of the country are colder than others, which tend to be more affluent, maybe which have better housing," said Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks.
"But this analysis shows us for the first time a picture of the impact these factors have on the levels of gas and electricity used.
"As we seek to ensure adequate energy supplies for the future, to reduce damaging carbon emissions and to improve the plight of those still living in fuel poverty, having a proper idea of variations in consumption and the reasons behind it at the local level is increasingly vital."
The figures are based on consumption of gas and electricity across England's nine regions and Scotland and Wales in 2003.
Average gas consumption per household across Great Britain was 20,111kWh in 2003 and there was remarkably little difference between the regions despite their differing climates, different dwelling stocks, varying insulation rates and different levels of general prosperity.
Only the South West stood significantly out from the national average with a consumption rate 11 per cent lower than the national average.
The next lowest was Greater London which was 2 per cent below whilst the highest was the North East at 4 per cent above the national average.
There were wider variations in electricity consumption per household across the country than gas.
This was mainly due to high rates of consumption in the areas to which the gas network does not extend.
The average consumption across Great Britain was 4,600 kWh per household, with the highest rates the Eastern region and the South West where consumption was 10 per cent above the national average and the lowest rate in the North East region where consumption was 15 per cent below the average.
A complete analysis of the figures and the challenges facing householders, policy makers and energy providers in reducing the impact of powering our homes can be found on the DTI's website.
By Sam Bond