Downing Street plans UK energy-saving campaign

Downing Street plans UK energy-saving campaign

Rishi Sunak has given the green light to a public information campaign in the UK to encourage people to cut their energy bills using simple measures such as turning down their boilers and switching off electrical appliances during the day.

The Prime Minister is considering various options to launch a pre-Christmas public information campaign designed to encourage people to use less energy at a time when the government is paying tens of billions of pounds to cap gas and oil prices ‘electricity.

The government has capped the amount per unit that energy suppliers can charge consumers so that a typical bill will remain at £2,500 a year until the end of March. It will then extend funding so that typical bills are £3,000 a year from next April, while limiting the price of energy for businesses until next spring.

Sunak thinks persuading people to use less energy could save the treasury money while encouraging households to adopt energy efficiency measures such as attic insulation. The Times newspaper reported that the campaign would cost £25million, but government aides said spending on the scheme had not been finalised.

Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor, told the Treasury Select Committee on Wednesday that the Government wanted people to “change their behaviour” and reduce their energy use. He said some households could save up to £500 a year if they cut their energy bills by 15% through more careful use.

Other countries like France and Germany have launched energy-saving information campaigns, but Liz Truss, Sunak’s predecessor, blocked similar plans during her short-lived tenure.

Truss, a libertarian, believed advising people about their energy use would demonstrate “nanny-state” tendencies.

Energy executives and academics have wondered why the UK has yet to issue official advice on how the public can reduce their energy consumption in light of the continuing energy crisis.

Adam Bell, former head of energy strategy at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, had described Truss’s decision to block a £15million public information campaign as a “total failure to to have to”.

Earlier in November, the government’s official climate advisers also told the Chancellor in an open letter that the benefit to the Treasury from better information on energy savings was likely to be “significant”. .

Ofgem, Britain’s energy regulator, said on Thursday the country’s price cap – which dictates most household bills – would rise to £4,279 a year for a “typical” household, but the government is preventing that this is passed on to consumers.

The Climate Change Committee, which advises the Government on climate policy, had told Hunt that simply advising households to draw their curtains at night to conserve heat could save the Treasury as much as 7 to 34 million pound sterling.

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