Energy sector powers growth in the East of England, says EY


The energy sector directly supports around 8,000 jobs in the East of England, according to Powering the UK, a new report prepared by professional services firm EY for Energy UK.


In 2013, the East benefited from job creation in the energy sector with an increase of 1,000 jobs since 2012.

By contrast, London saw the number of people directly employed in the energy sector decline by 1,000, while the number in Scotland fell by 2,000. Regions that saw an increase include the North with 4,000 new jobs, the Midlands 2,000 and the South (excluding London) 3,000.

Across the UK, the energy sector employed an estimated 131,000 people directly, a 5% increase compared to 2012. Along with other activity that supports jobs in this sector, energy accounted for 680,000 jobs in 2013, which is equivalent to one in every 44 jobs in the UK.

Cathy Taylor, EY’s Senior Partner in Cambridge: “While a lot of other major sectors are concentrated in London and the South East, the energy sector is truly national in the distribution of its companies and assets. Steady investment over recent years has been good news for jobs in the East of England, where there is a requirement for strategic energy infrastructure assets, as well as a growing skills base to support growth in this sector.”

Investment in renewable energy

Investment in renewable energy represented over half of total investment in the energy sector in 2013, accounting for £7.4 billion. Renewables provided 15% of all electricity generated in 2013, a 30% increase on 2012.

According to the September 2014 EY Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI), the UK is the seventh most attractive destination for renewable energy investment. This represents the UK’s lowest position in the RECAI for five years.

Josephine Bush, EY’s partner specialising in renewable energy says: “The UK’s position reflects a range of factors including the Government’s recent consultation on solar subsidies that will see the withdrawal of Renewable Obligation (RO) support for solar projects earlier than planned.

“We should be doing more to encourage innovation in the region as there is a strong renewables presence in the East of England, particularly in solar energy generation, which is an important part of the future energy mix.”

Customer switching rises

The latest statistics on customer switching in the household sector show that, over the past year, around 3.5 million households switched their electricity supplier and 2.5 million switched their gas supplier.

From an international perspective, this positions the UK market as one of the most active in terms of customer switching activity. However, figures on switching reveal significant variation in the level of activity between UK regions. 

Customers in the East are more likely to have switched energy supplier than customers in other UK regions, including London. Customers in the West Midlands appear to be the most active switchers, whereas customers in North Scotland are the least unlikely to switch energy supplier.

Taylor concludes: “Recent years have seen the arrival of a number of new entrants in the energy sector, which means households and business customers are now able to choose from a greater range of providers.

“Energy suppliers in the domestic market now offer a range of products including off peak tariffs, bundled packages – where the firm sells the household a package of services alongside energy – and smart meters which give consumers more accurate information on energy consumption.

“It is perhaps not surprising that we see an increase in the number of these innovative offerings going hand-in-hand with an increase in the level of switching as consumers become more energy efficient and take advantage of smart ways to help lower their energy costs.”



EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. With over 400 employees in our Cambridge and Luton offices, our teams provide a range of services to a variety of sectors, including manufacturing, life sciences, consumer products and retail, technology, real estate and construction, health, and the public sector. The broad array of companies across the East allows us to bring real, relevant and key insights to our clients.