New campaign estimates households could save £120 a year on energy bills if they adjust the temperature flow setting of their fossil gas boilers
Number 10 may have controversially rejected proposals for a government-backed energy-saving public information campaign, but businesses and consumer groups are looking to fill the gap left by Ministers' inaction.
Skills charity Nesta has today teamed up consumer advice website Which? and a raft of clean energy suppliers to deliver a new campaign urging households to turn down the flow temperature on their combination boilers this winter.
The partners are urging households and small businesses up and down the country to change one setting on their boiler in order to reduce their gas consumption, energy bills, and the carbon intensity of their homes.
Nesta has this morning published an online tool to help guide people quickly and easily through the steps required to turn down their combi boiler flow temperature, having recruited trade body EnergyUK and leading suppliers EDF, E.on Next, and Octopus Energy to support the campaign.
If 10 million households with combi boilers reset their flow temperature to 60C or below, roughly £1bn would be cut from energy bills and 1.7 million tonnes of carbon emissions would be prevented, according to analysis from Salford University commissioned by Nesta.
It would also reduce the amount of public funds being paid out by the Treasury as part of the energy price freeze by £500m, according to the findings.
The Energy Price Guarantee means that the maximum unit price households can be charged for electricity is 34p per kWh and 10.3p per kWh for gas, with the government set to pay out the difference between the cap and wholesale prices to energy suppliers.
"While the Energy Price Guarantee is helping millions to avoid financial ruin from high energy bills, the actual amount people pay still depends on their energy use, so it is important that anyone needing to keep costs as low as possible this winter feels confident taking action," said Madeleine Gabriel, director of sustainable future at Nesta. "Many people are already doing as much as they can to save money on energy bills but there are hidden tricks that people can take themselves that don't affect their comfort."
Despite providing more savings for households than better-known energy saving tips, there is little public awareness of the benefits of adjusting the flow temperature on combi boilers, Nesta said.
Analysis commissioned by the organisation reveals that reducing a combi boiler's flow temperature saves signficantly more money than fitting a smart thermostat, which typically saves £64 a year.
And yet Office for National Statistics data shows that just one in 10 people lowered their flow temperature over the last year, compared to six in 10 who had lowered the temperature on their thermostat.
Nesta's step-by-step guide, dubbed the Money Saving Boiler Challenge, has been launched in the wake of reports that suggest a public information campaign developed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to encourage households to reduce their energy was blocked by Number 10.
The mooted £15m energy saving campaign, designed to help households shave money off their bills and boost the UK's energy security amid a shortage of gas across Europe, was reportedly blocked because of objections from the Prime Minister's office and the Department of Health and Social Care.
However, green groups remain adamant such a campaign could deliver significant net savings for the Treasury, could be delivered in a way that does not come across as nannying, and would actually minimise the risk of people turning down heating too low and contributing to health problems.
Meanwhile, calls are continuing for the government to do more to improve the efficiency of homes and businesses. Which? director of policy and advocacy, Rocio Concha, urged the government to accelerate the roll out of insulation and other energy efficiency measures that would shield energy consumers from soaring gas and electricity prices.
"We are supportive of Nesta's new tool, which shows how reducing the flow temperature on combi boilers can help consumers shave money off their heating bills, without compromising on the temperature they heat their home to," he said. "We are also calling on the government to turbo boost the insulation of homes to help consumers save energy and reduce their bills. It is also vital that energy companies do all they can to support their customers through this extraordinary cost of living crisis."
For their part a number of energy companies have also recently launched new incentive schemes, offering consumers with smart meters payments if they reduce demand during periods of peak demand on the grid.
Businesses and the third sector do appear to be trying to step into the gap created by the government's reluctance to do more to pull every policy lever available to curb energy demand. But they are also stressing that such initiatives would be more impactful with bolder leadership from government.
* This article was originally published here