Business welcomes Green Deal ‘progress’

Business leaders have welcomed clarification from government on the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), but warned that there is "still plenty of work to do".

Unveiling the secondary legislation on the deal yesterday (June 11) following consultation, DECC said that this will give industry the “green light” to bring the Green Deal energy efficiency market into operation, as well as reduce regulatory burdens.

It also promised that the policies will boost the UK’s low carbon economy by supporting and creating about 60,000 new jobs, alongside helping consumers reduce their energy bills.

Energy secretary Edward Davey, said: “The Green Deal will play a huge role in improving the energy efficiency of our homes and businesses, with ECO making sure that the most vulnerable homes benefit too.

“We have listened very carefully to what industry, consumer groups, and other organisations have told us. Broad support for a managed, tested and careful introduction of the Green Deal fits exactly with our objective to provide an excellent customer experience from day one and a market where a range of new players can readily participate.”

Changes to the Green Deal include; better consumer protections such as restrictions on ‘cold calling’, and new rules requiring Green Deal assessors to declare any commission they might be receiving for carrying out an assessment and any ties to Green Deal Providers.

A change to the warranties proposal has also been made, which aims to ease requirements on businesses to hold warranties for the length of a Green Deal Plan.

CBI director for Business Environment policy Rhian Kelly welcomed progress on the Green Deal, saying that details on how it will operate on a practical level is an “important step” for the scheme, adding that it has “real potential” to generate business investment and jobs.

However, she warned that “there is still plenty of work to do”. She said, “With the launch of the Green Deal expected towards the end of the year, the Government needs to move quickly to put everything in place. It must ensure that businesses who want to get involved are in the best position to do so and put the right policies in place to stimulate consumer demand.”

Last month speaking at the Flash conference in London, Technology Strategy Board (TSB) consultant Paul Ruyssevelt said that the Deal must gain a “credible reputation early” if it is to succeed.

Energy advisor Climate Energy said that it particularly welcomes improvement to consumer protection.

Climate Energy Head of Green Deal Garry Worthington, said: “These new safeguards, along with the plans to calculate savings on a daily rather than annual basis, will go a long way in encouraging homeowner and tenants to take advantage of the finance available for energy efficiency improvements.”

However, he said that it was disappointing that the Government “remains undecided” about the £200m fund needed to kick-start the scheme.

He said: “We think the current plans to use this purely as a cash-back incentive over the next two years are mis-guided and that could be used much more creatively to support regional schemes, local innovations, jobs, communities and delivery to give take-up an initial boost.”

Echoing this opinion, Consumer Focus director of energy Audrey Gallacher expressed concern that the Government has not outlined further steps to stimulate consumer demand for the Green Deal and called for greater ambition from government to reach people living in fuel poverty.

She said: “Without clear incentives to attract consumers, such as council tax or stamp duty discounts, we are worried that people won’t see the benefit or relevance of the scheme to them.”

Carys Matthews

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