21 September 2022

Give public information to help them cut energy use – think tank

21 September 2022

Councils should set up “one-stop shops” to help people save money on their energy bills this winter, a green think tank has said.

Green Alliance has called for local authorities to establish advice centres in vacant shops to give their residents information on how to reduce their energy bills and help them access loans and grants for energy-saving solutions such as insulation.

As well as reducing bills during the immediate cost-of-living crisis, the think tank said providing more information would help people reduce their energy bills in the long term as well.

This is the moment not just to keep people warm this winter, but every winter after that

Sam Alvis, head of economy at Green Alliance, said: “We are in an emergency. The government is seeing how much supporting energy bills is going to cost.

“That means using every tool in the box, alongside emergency support to protect households, to drive down energy waste and gas demand.

“This is the moment not just to keep people warm this winter, but every winter after that, unlocking the financial and information barriers that are stopping people accessing cash-saving technologies.”

Green Alliance pointed to polling conducted by Public First that found a lack of information was a major barrier to people reducing their energy bills.

A poll of 2,000 British adults in May found 40% did not know how much it would cost to install low carbon home improvements, while 90% thought more information about insulation measures would help people make changes to their homes.

Government interventions so far have focused on subsidising energy bills over the winter and opposition parties have criticised a lack of action on cutting energy usage in the long term as a way of permanently shrinking bills.

Along with advice centres run by local councils, Green Alliance called for a national advertising campaign, similar to the Covid-19 “Hands. Face. Space” adverts, to tell people how they can reduce their energy usage.

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