UK government not asking people to use less energy: Climate minister

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The British government is not asking people to use less energy, Climate Minister Graham Stuart said on Friday, following a warning from the National Grid that homes and businesses could face three-hour planned power cuts this winter.

“We plan for all eventualities and the public should be confident that we have a very strong and diverse supply, and that we've taken all the steps to look after our needs for this winter,” he told Sky News.

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When asked if people should be using less energy, Stuart said: “We are not sending that out as a message.”

National Grid's warning on possible blackouts was based on a worst case scenario, if Britain is unable to import electricity from Europe and struggles to attract enough gas imports to fuel its gas-fired power.

The government, which has stepped in with support package to help people with soaring energy bills, said on Thursday it was working with energy suppliers and regulator Ofgem on a voluntary service to reward users who reduce demand at peak times.

On Friday, Stuart said that he did not expect blackouts to actually happen: “That's not our expectation at all.”

“The last thing you want to do is tell someone to switch things off for the national need when it makes no difference to the national (energy) security position,” he said.

He also dismissed media reports that Prime Minister Liz Truss had blocked a planned public information campaign on energy savings. The Times reported that she was said to be “ideologically opposed” to the campaign due to concerns it would be too interventionist.

“We're not in the business of telling people how to live their lives,” Stuart said later on Times Radio.

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