AS energy prices and the cost-of-living crisis bit Barnsley’s hardest hit residents saw a record fall in the amount of gas people used to fuel their homes, the latest figures have revealed.

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) figures show Barnsley residents used 1,148 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of gas in 2022.

This was a 14.9 per cent fall on the year before, the largest decrease in domestic gas usage since comparable records began in 2006.

Campaign group National Energy Action said households may be reducing their energy use to ‘dangerously low levels’, and called on the government to provide more support to the most vulnerable.

Peter Smith, the group’s director of policy, added the record fall ‘is very striking’.

He said some of the fall could be due to people reducing needless energy use, but warned it is likely many of the 6.5m households in the UK ‘are having to cut their energy consumption to dangerously low levels’.

Mr Smith added: “We are continuing to call on the UK government to provide more support to protect the most vulnerable people.

“We know millions of people are no longer getting the support they need to offset the worst ongoing impact of this energy crisis.”

Domestic electricity use also saw a record fall nationally, with the amount used in 2022 down by 8.2 per cent on the previous year.

In Barnsley, 312 GWh of electricity was used by residents to power their homes.

This was 10.2 per cent down on 2021, and also a record fall since comparable figures began in 2006.

The DESNZ said it ‘recognises the cost-of-living challenges families are facing’, and is providing £104bn of support with bills.

A spokesperson added: “Thanks to our Warm Home Discount, three million low-income households are expected to benefit from £150 targeted support this winter.

“Our Energy Price Guarantee remains in place to protect people until April this year, and we’re continuing to help the most vulnerable, with eight million households expected to receive a £900 cost-of-living payment, while those on disability benefits will get an extra £150.”