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Rapid moves to cut energy demand ‘will curb bills and Russian gas imports’

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apid moves to cut energy demand could save households an average of £150 on bills and reduce Russian imports by 80% this year, a report has said.

The report by climate think tank E3G urges the Government to cut VAT on insulation, launch a major public awareness campaign on saving energy, and make changes to stamp duty to boost energy efficiency work on homes.

They are among nine suggestions for action this year and up to 2025 to reduce energy demand, which the report says is the quickest way to reduce exposure to soaring costs.

Combined with a renewables drive, which the Government has signalled it wants, Russian gas could be eliminated from UK supplies completely this year

It comes as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine worsens already soaring gas prices, pushing up energy bills as much of the heating for UK homes and nearly two-fifths of electricity generation comes from gas.

The report urges the Government to use the Spring Statement and the energy supply strategy it is due to announce, to cut household energy use through existing policies and mechanisms.

It calls for a public awareness campaign to promote simple measures such as turning down the “flow temperature” on condensing boilers to reduce the temperature of the water sent to radiators and turning down the thermostat by 1C – without compromising on warmth and comfort.

VAT on green home measures should be removed or reduced, and there needs to be a boost to funding for energy efficiency and electric heat pumps, which use less energy to run than boilers, it says.

The report also calls for efforts to speed up deployment of highly efficient white goods, lighting and electronics, and accelerate the introduction of standards due in 2025 to end the installation of gas boilers in new homes and make them highly efficient.

Taking historic “green” policy costs, which currently fall mostly on electricity bills, into general taxation would lower energy bills “noticeably” at a stroke and encourage the switch to heat pumps by lowering the cost of electricity, the report said.

The Government should change stamp duty so energy efficient homes pay a lower rate, with a rebate that can be claimed within two years to incentivise buyers to improve the energy performance of their homes.

The report also says a comprehensive training scheme for heating engineers to install heat pumps could train up 10,000 installers for just £10.5 million.

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