Russia war anniversary – UK gas bill has now topped £100bn during gas crisis

Since the gas crisis began, the UK has spent an additional £75bn due to high gas prices.

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By George Smeeton

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New analysis from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has found that the UK has spent around £105bn in total on wholesale gas since prices started to rise two and a half years ago, ahead of the Russian invasion of Ukraine [1]. With pre-crisis wholesale gas costs of £10-15bn per year, this means an extra £75bn has been spent on gas over the last two-and-a-half years.

Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24th February 2022, two years ago, the UK has spent an estimated £85bn on gas, an additional £60bn.

Overseas gas producers have received around £50bn from UK customers during the gas crisis to-date [2]. The North Sea Transition Authority is clear that North Sea production will continue to decline whether or not new drilling takes place [3], so payments to foreign importers will increase in the coming years unless the UK switches away from gas to more renewables, heat pumps and home insulation.

Jess Ralston, Energy Analyst from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit said: “Despite 1,000 Terawatt hours of gas coming out of the North Sea since the crisis began, household bills still shot up. Prices are set internationally so more drilling won’t protect homes from high bills next time an international crisis comes along.

“What would have helped is more British renewable energy and insulating homes. A lack of investment over the past decade and recent Government U-turns on policies such as warm home standards for landlords is leaving households vulnerable to volatile prices with 13% of homes now in fuel poverty [4]. The fact that domestic gas use has gone down points to houses making difficult decisions between eating and heating.

“The switch to heat pumps that run on electricity would also help, not least with the UK’s energy independence by reducing the amount of gas we need to buy from foreign suppliers. Here again, Government appears to be dithering.”

As energy bills have increased, energy consumers have sought to save money by reducing energy use. Household gas demand has fallen by 15%, as has the amount of gas being used to generate electricity. Demand for gas from industrial and non-domestic consumers has also fallen by 5-10% [5].

Over the same two-and-a-half year period, the UK’s indigenous gas production stood at 1,000TWh [6]. Gas prices are largely set by international markets, so in spite of this UK-based production, gas consumers still faced very high prices.

Previous research from the ECIU has found that the costs of not having switched away from gas-dependent technologies to net zero technologies such as heat pumps and solar panels in homes has cost the average household £3,750 over the last two years [7].

In 2022 the International Monetary Fund stated that the UK is the country worst hit by the gas crisis in Western Europe because of our high dependency on gas [8]. Since then there have been a number of opportunities to reduce gas dependency that have not been seized, and other choices made which actively increase gas demand.

For example, in September the Prime Minister scrapped tighter energy efficiency standards for the private rented sector, which may result in nearly 3 million privately rented homes not being fitted with energy-saving measures like insulation [9] which could cost them up to £8bn. This increases the UK’s gas demand and keeps household gas bills high. In addition, the Government’s energy efficiency schemes are flatlining [10], with 2023 expected to see the lowest number of installations since 2012.

The Government also failed to secure any offshore wind bids in the latest Contracts for Difference renewables auction, due to low strike prices and a limited budget pot. This could cost consumers £1bn per year in missed bill savings, by having 5GW less offshore wind capacity [11].


Notes to editors:

[1] The full analysis is available here:

[2] This analysis considers net imports, i.e. imports minus exports, to give a realistic view of the UK’s balance of trade. This gives lower results than some other analysis, e.g. by the oil and gas industry that estimated that gas imports had cost the UK £49bn in 2022 alone (OEUK, 2023). However, as well as the issue of imports being by definition higher than net imports, the UK’s gas imports were abnormally high in 2022 due to extra LNG shipments arriving in the UK and being immediately shipped to the Continent. Correcting for this, and using the average day-ahead price gives a value that reconciles fairly closely with results within this ECIU analysis.

[3] North Sea Transition Authority: Production and expenditure projections, 2023

[4] HM Government: Annual fuel poverty statistics report, January 2024

[5] HM Government: Energy Trends (4.1), December 2023

[6] HM Government: Energy Trends (4.1), December 2023, and ECIU estimate for indigenous production in the last quarter of 2023, based on the average indigenous production in the last quarter of the previous three years.

[7] ECIU: Costs of NOT zero 2023, February 2024

[8] The Guardian, 2022

[9] ECIU, 2023

[10] HM Government: Headline Energy Efficiency Statistics, January 2024.

[11] ECIU, 2023

For more information or for interview requests:

George Smeeton, Head of Communications, ECIU, Tel: 07894 571 153, email: