Despite planned improvements to the Green Deal, there are some industry concerns over the Government’s ‘watering down’ of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which works alongside the flagship scheme.
DECC announced a proposed streamlining of the Green Deal in December, aiming at boosting take-up of energy efficiency measures.
DECC says the changes should make the scheme more straightforward and less time-consuming for families
and will include an online tool that gives consumers energy efficiency advice.
Other measures include making the Green Deal Advice Report clearer for householders, and better signposting where consumers can get extra support and services. Meanwhile, Energy Performance Certificate data will be opened up so that companies can more easily identify properties that will benefit most from energy efficiency improvements.
DECC also says it will look at adding to the list of measures that can be supported under the Green Deal, along with more flexibility on the specification to which companies can install. Other steps will see the Green Deal Finance Company offering customers the opportunity to move from quote to Green Deal Plan in a single day.
There are also plans to examine the ‘Golden Rule’ – which requires that energy savings must be equal to or more than the cost of implementing energy efficiency measures. DECC wants to look at how the Golden Rule controls what can be borrowed, and consider what adjustments would make sense for consumers.
Heating and Hotwater Industry council director Roger Webb said: “The industry welcomes the proposed changes to Green Deal because to date it has not been an effective tool in encouraging consumers to make energy efficiency improvements. We look forward to working with DECC on developing and implementing these new changes.”
But he added: “With regard to ECO, we are concerned that there is a watering down of the affordable warmth requirements by extending the delivery deadline to 2017. We urge DECC to publish the number of heating appliances they expect to be installed each year up to 2017 and we would be disappointed if this did amount to a halving of the original numbers.”
The government says the planned ECO remodelling should result in more than £30-£25 off average bills this year. Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: “The existing dedicated support in ECO for low-income and vulnerable households – Affordable Warmth and the Carbon Saving Communities Obligation – will both be maintained at current levels and extended from March 2015 until March 2017.
“The other element of
ECO – the Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation – will also be extended by two years but reduced by 33 per cent.”
Plumb and Parts Center’s head of sustainability Tim
Pollard said: “DECC’s plans make a lot of sense to us. The majority of people start thinking about their heating systems and energy consumption when they’ve got a problem, or when they get a huge bill. So if you capture people at that point, and make Green Deal easy to understand, that’s going to help.”