Revealing these milestones in a raft of energy statistics published today, a spokesman for DECC said: “Our plan is working: we’re delivering affordable, secure and low carbon energy for hard-working families and businesses.
“Last year energy bills were down by £46 and we got a quarter of our electricity from renewable sources.
“For consumers, average annual household energy bills decreased by £46 in 2015 (down 3.5% to £1,298). Average electricity bills fell by £8. Average gas bills were down by £38.”
The number of households switching providers rose by 11% for electricity and 19% for gas between 2014 and 2015.
There are now three million smart meters operating in homes and businesses across Britain. There are 2.32 million smart meters operating in smart mode across domestic properties in Great Britain.
There was a 20% increase in domestic smart meter installations by large energy suppliers compared to the previous quarter (Q3).
A quarter of the UK’s electricity is now generated from renewables – up 29% on last year, and nearly half of electricity generation now comes from low carbon sources.
The DECC spokesman added: “We are making progress towards our renewable targets for 2020. We have exceeded our latest interim target with 6.3% of final energy consumption coming from renewable sources against a target of 5.4%.
“Our annual support for renewables will more than double in the next five years, reaching over £10 billion in 2020-21.
“And on carbon emissions, we are meeting our commitments to reduce our emissions. Provisional estimates for 2015 show that UK greenhouse gas emissions continue to decrease and are 3.4% lower than 2014. This is mainly due to the decrease in coal for electricity generation.”
Meanwhile, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney welcomed the energy statistics which also showed that Scotland raced ahead to have 50% of Scottish electricity consumption come from renewables by 2015.
The statistics published by DECC show that 57.7% of Scottish electricity consumption came from renewables in 2015 – up 7.9% on the year before and 7.7% ahead of the target.
The statistics also show that 2015 was a record year for both wind and hydro generation, with wind output up 21.2% and hydro up 7.2%.