Downing Street is preparing an energy saving campaign in the UK

Rishi Sunak has commissioned a UK public information campaign encouraging people to reduce their energy bills by taking simple measures such as turning off their boilers and switching off electrical appliances during the day.

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

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

Sunak believes that persuading people to use less energy could save the Treasury money while encouraging households to take energy efficiency measures such as attic insulation. The Times newspaper reported that the campaign would cost £25m, but government aides said the cost of the scheme had not yet been finalised.

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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt told a Treasury select committee on Wednesday that the government wants people to “change their behaviour” and reduce their energy use. He said some households could save up to £500 a year if they reduced their energy bills by 15 per cent through more careful use.

Other countries, such as France and Germany, have launched energy-saving information campaigns, but similar plans were blocked during the short-lived prime ministership of Sunak’s predecessor, Liz Truss.

Truss, a libertarian, believed that advising people about their energy use showed a “baby animal” tendency.

Energy leaders and academics have questioned why the UK has not issued official advice on how to reduce household energy consumption in light of the continuing energy crisis.

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

At the beginning of November, the government’s official climate advisers also informed the chancellor in an open letter that better information about energy savings is likely to be a “significant” advantage for the treasury.

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Ofgem, Britain’s energy regulator, said on Thursday that the country’s price cap – which sets the bill for most households – will rise to £4,279 a year for a “typical” household, but the government is preventing it from being passed on to consumers.

The Climate Change Commission, which advises the government on climate policy, told Hunt that just by advising households to draw the curtains at night to keep in the heat, the Treasury could save between £7m and £34m.

Source: https://www.ft.com/content/2afdbf2a-fa8e-4e8c-b628-2f11132b419c