Government energy-saving advice ‘no nanny’, says Gove

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

The scheme could show households how to cut up to £420 off their bills, while offering potentially huge savings to taxpayers by reducing the cost of energy price guarantees.

Upgrade Secretary Michael Gove said the government would direct people to ‘authoritative sources of advice’ on managing energy consumption.

Michael Gove said people would be directed to expert advice on lowering energy bills (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The Times reported that ministers were preparing a £25million public information campaign including advice such as turning 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 of boilers, switching off electrical appliances rather than leaving them on standby and switching from baths to showers.

In addition to easing the pressure on the finances of struggling households, the reduction in energy consumption will also benefit the state.

The price the government will pay to protect households from huge energy bills will rise sharply in the new year after Ofgem raised the price cap.

Without government support, an average household’s bills would be 67pence per unit of electricity instead of 34pence and 17pence per unit of gas instead of 10.3pence.

The average household bill is said to have risen to around £4,279 a year, up from the £2,500 they will now pay thanks to government support – a figure that will rise to £3,000 in April.

Energy consultancy Auxilione estimates that Ofgem’s higher cap will drive the cost of operating the government’s energy price guarantee up by £7.8billion in the last three months of 2022 to £15 £.1 billion in the first three months of next year.

This means 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 and should do is direct people to authoritative sources of advice on how to minimize energy consumption, but it is important that the advice comes from of experts and that there is nothing nanny, condescension or orientation about 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 dependence’ and ‘we have this national ambition to reduce energy consumption by 15% “.

Reducing energy consumption and improving domestic supply will make 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 the administration of Liz Truss.