24 November 2022

Government energy-saving advice ‘not nannying’, says Gove

24 November 2022

A public information campaign to encourage people to save energy will not be “nannying or patronising”, a senior minister said.

The scheme could show households how to knock up to £420 off their bills, while at the same time delivering potentially huge savings for taxpayers by reducing the cost of the energy price guarantee.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said the Government would be pointing people towards “authoritative sources of advice” on managing energy usage.

The Times reported that ministers are preparing a £25 million public information campaign including advice such as switching off radiators in empty rooms and taking showers instead of baths.

Officials have identified eight changes to save up to £420 a year including reducing the flow temperature from boilers, switching electrical devices off rather than leaving them on standby and changing from baths to showers.

As well as easing the pressure on hard-pressed household finances, cutting energy consumption will also benefit the state.

The price the Government will pay to shield households from enormous energy bills will increase sharply in the New Year after Ofgem raised the price cap.

Without the Government’s support, bills for the average household would be 67p per unit of electricity instead of 34p, and 17p per unit of gas instead of 10.3p.

The average household bill would have reached around £4,279 per year, instead of the £2,500 that they will now pay due to the Government support – a figure which will rise to £3,000 in April.

Energy consultancy Auxilione estimates the higher Ofgem cap will push up the cost of running the Government’s energy price guarantee from £7.8 billion in the last three months of 2022 to £15.1 billion in the first three months of next year.

It means that the Government will pay around 33p every time households use their oven for half an hour or an electric shower for six minutes – according to estimates from energy supplier Ovo.

Mr Gove told BBC Breakfast: “What we will be doing and should be doing is pointing people towards authoritative sources of advice on how to minimise energy usage but it’s important that advice comes from experts and that there’s nothing nannying, or patronising, or directional about it from people like me.”

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt told MPs on Wednesday that “for most people we need you to play your part in reducing our energy dependency” and “we’ve got this national ambition to reduce energy consumption by 15%”.

Reducing energy consumption and improving domestic supplies will leave the country less vulnerable to global price shocks such as the one triggered by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

A previous attempt to introduce a public information campaign on energy-saving measures was reportedly blocked under Liz Truss’s administration.

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