Standby for TV energy efficiency ads, but don't leave it on standby

A series of television adverts made by Shane Meadows, the director of “This Is England” and “A Room For Romeo Brass” are aimed at driving home the importance of energy efficiency

by Michael Smith

Government says the campaign has been launched as a surge in the number of advice line calls suggests that large numbers of people are keen to take up schemes to help them cut their heating bills.

The television adverts follow the announcement of a £1 billion government package offering assistance to householders, particularly the elderly and those on low incomes, to make their homes more energy efficient.

They focus on the efforts of a dad to get his family to cut down on their energy use, cutting their bills and their CO2 emissions as a result.

Statistics from the Energy Saving Trust's ACT ON CO2 advice line show that since the announcement, phone calls have more than quadrupled, with people seeking information on how to take up the offers.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said: "We have set out assistance to help people cut their energy bills permanently. We now need to do all we can to ensure they take up this help. This advert is part of that drive.

"I am encouraged that following our announcement, people are looking to take action to cut their fuel bills and save energy at the same time. We now need to build on that enthusiasm."

Around £560 million of the £1 billion adds to the existing energy efficiency programme CERT (Carbon Emissions Reduction Target), which funds subsidised improvements such as loft and cavity wall insulation.

One can but hope that the government bodies themselves too will heed this and, finally, turn off appliances left needlessly on. Why are there offices in Whitehall and elsewhere more or less light up all night while in fact there is no one home, not even the cleaners. Is it so that an eventual burglar does not trip and sure the authority, in the same way as certain empty council properties up and down the country have lights on all the time; just in case of a break in and the burglar has forgotten his flashlight.

All this government and others, it would appear, can do is preach at the people – often coated in the mantle of “advice to help you reduce your energy bills”, and I must say that I still need to see a saving on the CFLs over incandescent light bulbs, aside from the fact that CFLs are toxic – while they have a “get out of jail free” license, it would appear.

Citizens get told they HAVE to change their light bulbs to reduce their carbon footprint while government offices, and even places long closed down, have lights on unnecessarily. This does not compute and the people know that too.

© M Smith (Veshengro), September 2008