The proposed target of making 14 million UK homes more efficient may have hit a snag as MP’s and consumer groups have warned the government that an upfront charge of £150 would put people off the proposals to make their homes greener.
The Green Deal, which is due to launch later in January allows homeowners the opportunity to take out loans with firms who specifically upgrade older, less efficient boilers and make sure that loft spaces are lagged correctly, making homes more efficient and thus using less energy, saving money they would owe to energy companies.
The issue now is that 18 of the 24 companies who action the property assessments for the scheme would be charging an upfront fee of between £95 and £150 in order to carry this out. Only one company, the Mark Group, would be offering a free assessment of people’s homes.
Consumer group, Consumer Focus, stated that whilst in the long term people would most definitely save money the original outlay would be off-putting and would likely the numbers of people who would choose to adopt the project. Schemes like this have struggled to meet targets in the past where loft insulation for free, so having a cost attached would likely have a negative impact.
No one could argue that the intentions of the green deal are nothing less than positive but the extra costs could see the project not becoming a success.
In order for the project to become as such it needs to be a good deal for the general public. Those that would be less likely to adopt such a scheme would be those on low incomes and also pensioners – who would likely say no before investigating the matter further. Ironically it is these groups of people that would see the most benefit from such a project.
The government will be phasing out its current energy saving schemes, Warm Front and Carbon Emission Reduction Target which see efficient light bulbs and loft insulation packs been given to homes which sign up. This will ensure that the green deal is most prominent as part of the government’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions by 2020.
The only energy company who are offering assessments as it stands are British Gas, who are charging a call out fee of £99 but this will surely see the other “big six” energy companies to come forward and offer their services as part of the scheme.
Michael Wood is a keen green blogger and has many years experience in working for energy companies like Southern Electric. Michael often blogs on sites such as The Green Forums and Energy News UK.