Electricity Pylons
Rising prices and improved energy efficiency have combined to cut energy consumption

People in England and Wales are consuming less energy now than in 2005, due to increasing energy costs and improved energy efficiency.

According to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), average household energy usage in England and Wales dropped by 24.7% in 2011.

The highest household energy consumption within England and Wales was in the East Midlands. However, even there, consumption fell by 29.4% from 39.0mWh per household in 2005 to 27.5mWh in 2011.

The smallest fall in average energy consumption was in areas of London, the South West and Yorkshire.

The ONS data showed that regional differences between the highest and lowest consumers of energy per household decreased by 35% from 2005 to 2011.

The ONS said that improvements such as better loft and cavity wall insulation might be among several reasons behind the fall.

The introduction of energy rating scales for properties and household appliances, allowing consumers to make informed purchase decisions, were also contributory factors, said the ONS.

"It could be that households which receive some electricity at a cheaper rate may use more energy overall because it is cheaper," the ONS said.

Some of the areas that had lower average household energy consumption might not receive mains gas and may have opted for other energy sources, it added.

The areas that consumed higher amounts of energy are likely to have higher net income after taking account of housing costs, the ONS said.

The top 10 areas of energy consumption were all in the East Midlands.