Amid criticism of the UK government’s stance on rising energy prices, the countdown to its flagship energy efficiency scheme, the Green Deal has started.
The Energy Act 2011, which sets the legal framework for the scheme, has formally become law so that the Green Deal can get underway.
Starting next autumn, householders will be able to install energy saving measures like improved insulation without having to bear the upfront costs. Instead, the Green Deal will provide financing for energy efficiency measures, which will be repaid through the savings on energy bills.
According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) figures, over half of the country’s home have inadequate levels of insulation.
“The Green Deal will be as easy as ABC by making work affordable, providing bespoke independent advice and choice in the market from well-known and trusted high street names,” says Energy Secretary Chris Huhne.
The legislation contains tighter consumer protection measures and will require that the initial property assessment of what work needs to be done to a property is carried out by an impartial organisation.
Consumers will also be able to have the assessment carried out by several Green Deal providers before agreeing to any work.
The scheme will also have to conform to the ‘golden rule’, ensuring that householders’ repayments are less than the expected energy savings.
“As well as helping people save money through home energy improvement, the Green Deal will be a massive business opportunity.
It’s expected to attract capital investment of up to £15 billion in the residential sector alone by the end of this decade and at its peak, the Green Deal could support around 250,000 jobs,” adds Climate Change Minister Greg Barker.
But critics have raised concerns about the details of the scheme, which are still hazy. Despite the move by a number of businesses including British Gas, EON, Kingfisher (B&Q) and HSBC to join forces on the financing of the Green Deal, it still remains to be seen the level of interest that will be set on the loans and what sort of deal will be on offer to consumers.
The legislation will now move through a formal consultation period before secondary legislation is laid before Parliament in the spring. According to DECC, the first Green Deals should appear in the autumn.
For further information:
UK government urges consumers to switch supplier to save money (18-Oct)
UK businesses join forces to finance Green Deal (6-Oct)
Landlords eying up UK Government’s Green Deal (20-Sept)
Consumer protection tightened up in UK Government’s Green Deal (14-Sept)
19 October 2011