Government launches energy efficiency scheme

29 January 2013
By Sofia Mitra-Thakur
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Green Deal to help householders cut energy bills

Green Deal to help householders cut energy bills

A government scheme aimed at making homes more energy efficient has gone live.

Ministers said the Green Deal would bring about a revolution in energy efficiency - and provide a much needed boost to the economy.

Officials at the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said anecdotal information from suppliers suggested hundreds of household have been assessed for the Green Deal - but said precise numbers could not be revealed because they were being collated for official statistics.

Reports had earlier suggested just five assessments had been carried out ahead of today's launch, which will see government-backed loans available for energy efficiency work made available for the first time.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "The Green Deal will help thousands of homes stay warm for less. Those people will benefit from energy saving improvements - and their energy bills will fall.

"The UK green sector is a success story - it is the sixth largest in the world and has a crucial part to play in building a strong economy. The Green Deal will support thousands of jobs - not just over the next few years, but in the long-term."

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey added cutting energy use was the best defence against rising bills.

He said: "The Green Deal is a great deal. Improve the look and feel of your home, make it cosier and at the same time save energy - what's not to like?"

The Green Deal involves having a home reviewed by an accredited assessor, who will look at what upgrades can be made and over what time period energy savings would cover the cost of the work.

Green Deal Providers then quote for the work and households can get multiple quotes for some or all of the work. If they proceed, a Green Deal Installer will carry out the work.

The cost is covered by a loan via the Green Deal Finance Company and repayments are added to the cost of the household electricity bill. 

The company has been created as a not-for-profit institution tasked with the costs of the loan as low as possible.

A DECC spokesman said tweets from two Green Deal assessors suggested hundreds of assessments were taking place.

He said Green Place had commented on January 23 that "we have already completed over 100 assessments with 1800 in the wings" while Ampere GDP said on January 19: "Ampere GDP has already conducted over 40 Green Deal Advice Reports this week alone."

But Ed Matthews, head of fuel poverty campaign group Energy Bill Revolution, said the government's flagship plan did not go far enough.

"The Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation, will not stop fuel poverty rocketing in the face of high gas prices," he said.

"We call on the Prime Minister to use money from the Carbon Tax to super-insulate this country's homes. This will provide households with five times more subsidy to insulate their homes and not add a penny more to energy bills.

"It is enough to eliminate fuel poverty and in time cut bills for everyone. It is the just and fair solution."

Rhian Kelly, CBI Director for Business Environment policy, said: “Energy efficiency can be a triple win for businesses, households and the environment, but without consumer buy-in this scheme will fall flat.

“There will need to be really strong incentives in place to attract consumers to sign up.”

RenewableUK welcomed the energy efficiency scheme, which offers financial incentives for householders to insulate their homes and install microgeneration systems, such as small wind turbines, so that they can reduce fuel bills.  

Loans from the not-for-profit Green Deal Finance Company can be repaid gradually over a period of up to 25 years. 

As well as cutting bills by generating clean energy to power their own homes, wind turbine owners could also earn money by feeding their surplus electricity into the National Grid.

RenewableUK’s Small and Medium Wind Development Manager, Indre Vaizgelaite, said: “The Green Deal offers practical measures for householders desperate to escape spiralling international fossil fuel price rises which have inflated all our energy bills for too long.

“It makes it easier for people to take part in our transition to a green economy powered by local sources of low-carbon energy which are secure and affordable.

“The government has specifically identified small wind turbines as part of the solution for hard-pressed bill payers wanting to get a grip on the cost of energy by generating their own clean electricity.

“The Green Deal will transform the way we run our homes in Britain, as well as reducing carbon emissions and helping to support the growing Small Wind industry in the UK, which already employs 800 people.”

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