Tory minister Jacob Rees-Mogg’s boast that he told staff in his Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department to turn off non-essential lights seemed a little feeble today — as MailOnline found that three floors shone at midnight. .
The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, 53, said yesterday that he had spoken to officials in Victoria Street about saving electricity.
Mr Rees-Mogg said members of the public have “a responsibility” to use energy wisely as the government helped with bills this winter.
He specifically mentioned groups involved in the industry to ‘lead by example’ and that he had instructed his own department to do the same.
But the memo didn’t appear to have landed in the staff bins last night, as many lights were still burning in the apparently empty floors of the office building.
After the photos were released by MailOnline, a BEIS spokesperson said: ‘The lights in our headquarters are activated by motion and are set off at night by security patrols.
They are not lit when there are no staff around. Some lighting in the reception and escape stairs remains on for safety reasons and we are shortening the time it takes for sensors to switch the lighting off again.’
The BEIS building at 1 Victoria Street in London was barely in darkness at midnight, despite the urging of Mr Rees-Mogg
Earlier at 11pm last night the lights were still on although Mr Rees-Mogg had told staff to turn off the lights at work
Mr Rees-Mogg said on Wednesday that he believes companies involved in business should set an example in the present day
Yesterday, Mr Rees-Mogg revealed he had urged officials to turn off non-essential lights at night.
He said: ‘People have a responsibility to use energy wisely, especially when the government gives a major intervention to help them pay their energy bills.
“I must confess that I’ve asked the Victoria Street office for BEIS to make sure the lights that aren’t needed are out.
‘On the outside of the building you can see some light at night for the stairwells and emergency exits that you have to do.
“But I think energy companies probably want to lead by example,” he added to LBC
Gas prices have skyrocketed across Europe and Britain after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which in turn has pushed up the cost of electricity.
Mr Rees-Mogg said yesterday that he thought ‘Energy companies probably want to lead by example’
Rees-Mogg ‘I must confess that I asked the Victoria Street office for BEIS to make sure the lights that are not needed are out’
At 7pm, most of the lights in the building are still on as officials – those who don’t work from home – have finished their workday
Company Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg signed a £15 million public information campaign that would encourage people to take simple measures such as turning off radiators in empty rooms and turning off the heating when they leave the house.
Electricity prices are usually driven by gas, so the measure would apply to low-carbon generators that sell their power at those rising prices, but don’t have to buy expensive fuel.
It comes weeks after the government announced a cap that would limit households’ energy bills to 34 pence per unit of electricity and 10.3 pence for every unit of gas they use.
It happened less than a week after the Tories were embroiled in a row over how to help the country cope with a potential winter power crisis after Liz Truss vetoed a public information campaign for being too “cautious.”
Backbench MPs attacked No10’s decision to quash a £15million plan advising people to turn off the heating in unused rooms and when they leave the house, which had been approved by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Rees -Mogg.
Allies of the Business Secretary said Beis’ public information campaign would have been “slightly” and would help save up to £300 per household, but it was labeled by Liz Truss’ No10 operation for being too “interventionist” and that was available elsewhere.
But the decision sparked unrest in the back seats of MPs who were already tense over the prime minister’s financial plans during her first month in power.
Former minister Guy Opperman tweeted: “Fully behind an energy-saving campaign…reducing energy helps voters save money and saves taxpayers money, as the public sector should be leading the way. Reduce usage while we tackle the offer. Government must act….
“This is not a nanny state. It’s preserving inventory, saving money for everyone, and encouraging localization.’
But when asked why the prime minister might oppose a public information campaign on reducing energy consumption, climate minister Graham Stuart told LBC: “Technically, a general campaign on reducing energy probably wouldn’t make a difference to our energy security.” . So that would be a good reason not to.
“We’re also hesitant to tell people what to do if we’re not a nanny state. What we do want to do is talk to the big energy consumers and talk to consumers with smart technology about rewarding them for cutting energy at peak times.
“The danger is that if you had some sort of general ‘use less energy’ message that people would take the wrong lessons.”
The public information campaign, which echoed a campaign by TV chef Delia Smith in the 1970s, was culled when the National Grid warned of potential power cuts this winter as the system struggles to meet demand.
It launched its own scheme to offer people cash back on their accounts if they restrict usage during peak hours.
But there was also a backlash against that as the deal relies on smart meters, which are unreliable and installed in about half of homes and small businesses. It means tens of millions of people will miss out.