Today marks a very significant achievement of our party in Government. The Green Deal is being launched.
After two and half years of toil the pledge in our manifesto to, “offer a home energy improvement package … paid for by the savings from lower energy bills” has become reality.
Chris Huhne started the ball rolling way back in 2010 and Nick Clegg and I are visiting a college in Sheffield today to mark the opening of a brand new market in home energy efficiency and meet trainees in home insulation.
Millions of homes do not have full double-glazing. More than half do not have enough insulation or an efficient condensing boiler. Most do not even have proper heating controls. Homes and businesses across Britain are wasting energy and money, yet demand for energy efficiency measures remains low.
The Green Deal will let people transform their homes by allowing them to pay for energy efficient home improvements with the savings on their energy bills. And hundreds of pounds in “cash back” is currently available to householders in England and Wales as well. Households quick off the mark could get over £1,000 cash back.
The Green Deal is empowering consumers by providing more options for making home improvements. One of the many advantages of the Green Deal is that consumers can benefit from an impartial assessment, and they can decide which company they want to use for the installation. They can pay for the cost of the work in a way which suits them. This is not a centralised restrictive scheme like Labour with huge administration costs and baffling bureaucracy.
All Green Deals will have to pass the ‘Golden Rule’. This limits the amount of Green Deal finance you can get to the estimated energy bill savings from the new measures. Hence, the Green Deal charge on future electricity bills will include both the cost of the measures and the finance, and that will be less than the energy savings. So people get warmer homes and pay less – and the Golden Rule means consumers can be confident of a great green deal!
With expensive measures such as solid wall insulation you can get extra help with the costs from the Energy Company Obligation that mandates the companies to subsidise those more expensive green deal measures.
We’ve also set up a robust set of rules to protect consumers including warranties for work done, a system of redress, sanctions for sub standard providers and a independent adjudicator. All Green Deal providers must be approved and identified with the Green Deal ‘kite mark’.
And it’s not just good for homeowners and tenants, it’s good for business too. There are currently 24 registered Green Deal providers including Kingfisher (owners of B&Q and Screwfix), British Gas, NPower, Carillion and Wolsey (owners of PlumbCentre) and the number is set to increase.
This means new green jobs – tens of thousands across the country – in energy efficiency and in the supply chain.
And by switching some of our subsidies away from loft insulation and easy to treat cavity walls – most of which have been done – to solid walls and hard to treat cavity walls – which past governments largely ignored – there will be more green jobs, more carbon saved and less fuel poverty.
This is just the latest in a long line of achievements we can be proud of that will build a stronger economy in a fairer society.
You can find out more about the Green Deal at www.gov.uk/greendeal and we will be making sure the party hears about more ways to support the Green Deal over the coming months.
* Edward Davey is Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and MP for Kingston and Surbiton