The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has today announced that it will introduce measures next month to make it more straightforward and less time-consuming for people to participate in the Green Deal scheme. It said it would reduce time and cost for industry and making things simpler for consumers.
In a related move, the government has also announced cuts to the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme – an insulation scheme delivered by major energy suppliers – that should save an average of £30-35 a year from domestic energy bills, it said.
The Green Deal is the government’s flagship energy policy that offers householders to get home improvements that reduce energy consumption, such as insulation and boiler upgrade, at no upfront cost. Instead, they are paid off through repayments on reduced energy bills. The scheme only applies where independent assessment shows that the savings outweigh the cost of the work.
However, take-up to date has been poor. After eight months, only 12 homes had Green Deal plans in place, although several thousand were waiting for applications to be processed having had home assessments carried out.
To improve the scheme for companies operating in the market, DECC said it would open up access to energy performance certificate (EPC) data so that companies can better target their marketing of the scheme. It will add more home improvement measures to the list of those that can be supported under the Green Deal, and allowing more flexibility over the exact specification to which companies install.
To increase consumer interest a new website will be set up that will be expected to do a better job of promoting the scheme than its current one.
DECC also plans to work with the Green Deal Finance Company to make it possible for customers to go from a quote to a Green Deal plan in a single day, removing the need for different people to make separate visits to homes as an application is processed.
Some of these changes will happen in January. Others require Parliamentary approval to amend legislation so may take a few more months.
The reforms come on the back of a report in October by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment, which called for new incentives to make the Green Deal work.