Government records 57 completed Green Deal plans

Energy efficiency measures installed under the Government's Green Deal scheme has risen to 57 as of the end of September, up from 12 the previous month, according to the latest figures.

The Government recorded 954 Green Deal Plans that had at least reached the ‘quote accepted’ stage for individual properties at the end of September, compared to 677 at the end of August.

Of these, 392 were ‘new’ quotes for Green Deal Plans, 505 were pending signatures and 57 measures were completed.

At the end of September, 85,177 Green Deal assessments were lodged, up from 71,210 at end of August. The 13,967 assessments in September was 7% higher than the number in August (13,086), although there were slightly fewer assessments in August than in June or July.

Last month, the Government released research showing that the Green Deal assessments experience “continues to be positive”, with 78% of people saying their Green Deal assessment was “highly useful”.

It also found that 82% of people had confidence in the recommendations made by their assessor, and 72% of people said they would recommend a Green Deal assessment to friends and family.

However, businesses in the industry have started to feel the effects of the Green Deal’s slow uptake. At the start of October, construction and support services company Carillion announced that it was to restructure its energy services division due to the slow uptake of the Green Deal.

Earlier in the year, the company noted that the slow start to the Green Deal market, together with the delayed start to the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) market, affected revenue expectations from energy services.

The interest rate charged on domestic Green Deal plans has come under widespread criticism and is being partly blamed for the discouraging uptake figures. This week, the UK Green Building Council announced that it will be launching a new Task Group to examine ways to reduce the current interest rate for the domestic Green Deal.

The current rate being offered by the Green Deal Finance Company is 6.96%, with the APR for Green Deal Plans ranging from 7.9% to 10.3%. Although these rates are competitive for long-term fixed rate lending, they have been highlighted as a potential barrier to households taking out Green Deal Finance.

Reducing the interest rate could allow more measures to meet the scheme’s Golden Rule principle, which states that expected financial savings must equal or be greater than the costs attached to the energy bill, and potentially reduce the need for customers to make any upfront payments. The Task Group will also investigate the way Green Deal Finance is communicated to the public.

Chair of the Task Group Christoph Harwood said: “We aim to take a practical view on Green Deal interest rates and help policy makers understand their options. We are unlikely to come out with a silver bullet solution but what I hope we can do is inform the debate.”

UK-GBC policy and public affairs officer, Richard Twinn, said: “It is no secret that the Green Deal has got off to a slow start, with the cost of finance repeatedly blamed.

“It is essential that we now shift the debate onto finding solutions so that we can make the Green Deal a success.”

The Task Group will present its findings in January 2014.

Leigh Stringer

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