Ed Davey MP writes… The Green Deal goes live

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

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10 Comments

  • Helen Dudden 28th Jan '13 - 4:09pm

    I am concerned about the suggestion that it ould be used for social houising. I feel this to be unfair, as those in new property have this on the moving in, and the start of the tenancy. Tenants, would have to effectively pass this onto to the next person and I feel it could make the property less attractive.

    There is the cost to conside, to those, on a much lower income, I suggest that with the housing trusts, things are looked into further.

    There are some comments on “Inside Housing” an on line web page on social housing.

  • Seth Proctor 28th Jan '13 - 4:28pm

    This is very annoying, to say the least. For two successive years I have tried to get a grant for free insulation (I am on DLA), to no avail. Each time I have rung to make an appointment for a survey, only for the survey company to then cancel the appointment as govt funding has ceased, ie all of the grant for that year has been spent, or so am I told/led to believe. This is as recent as January of this year (having started all this in November). Having been told to wait until April, with ever increasing bills as my insulation is non existent, I could not wait any longer and got the job done, at my expense. I would not mind it so much, but having gone to the quango concerned mentioning the green deal, I was told this would take place until April. Grrr

  • Daniel Henry 28th Jan '13 - 4:36pm

    I don’t understand your objection Helen.
    Why would it make the property less attractive?

    You mention costs to consider, but aren’t they largely met by government grants?

  • Helen Dudden 28th Jan '13 - 4:41pm

    If you read the “Inside Housing” on line you will understand the argument. If it is free, and I was at a recent housing trust meeting ,then no problem.

    You arfe saying that it will be free for social housing tenants? Of course with the housing trust responsible then it becomes a different subject.

  • edward Davey MP 29th Jan '13 - 2:00pm

    Helen – many social landlords are telling us that they see Green Deal as a very useful ‘tool in the box’ for themselves and their residents, supporting the delivery of improvements which may not have been possible under previous schemes. However, it will be for individual landlords, in consultation with residents, to decide whether Green Deal finance is right for them.

    The Green Deal has a clear consent and disclosure framework. This makes certain that Green Deal finance cannot be attached to a property without the express consent of the bill payer, and ensures that any tenant considering moving to a GD property is made aware of the charge and repayment rates at the earliest opportunity – and before they have signed the tenancy. This ensures that incoming tenants can make informed choices, and would not have to move into a GD property if they are unhappy with the charge.

    Social Housing trials undertaken in advance of the Green Deal launch (the Gentoo trial in Sunderland for example) showed that a majority of social housing tenants were happy to accept a small charge in return for a cosier, better performing home.

    In the Gentoo trial:
    - 79% of the 1200 social households approached agreed to have an energy efficiency charge attached to their property,
    - 91% of the total charges due for collection have been collected,
    - In many cases improved energy efficiency made properties more attractive to tenants; the trial showed that where energy efficiency measures were installed in an area, positive word of mouth led to more households coming forward to request improvements and a charge.

    Seth – I’m sorry to hear you have had problems accessing schemes in the past couple of years.

    Green Deal went ‘live’ on Monday 28th of January and is available to households now. Interested households do not have to wait until April to have a Green Deal assessment and start to benefit.

    The previous energy efficiency scheme, CERT, closed on 31 December 2012. In anticipation of this, energy suppliers started closing down their schemes last October. This may be the reason why some householders were unable to have insulation measures installed.

    The good news is that the new Green Deal will enable householders to install measures, without having to pay all of the costs upfront, from January 2013. Details of how to access Green Deal can be obtained by contacting the Energy Savings Advice Service on 0300 123 1234.

  • Helen Dudden 29th Jan '13 - 6:35pm

    Ed, for many years I have had ice on the inside of my windows when it is very cold, had temperatures well below the healthy level. I dread winter. I still have concerns that those who need help, as with the above gentleman, just do not receive it.

    I could pay around £50 a week with storage heaters to heat my Georgian flat, high ceilings, social housing, large windows, and I have had my energy supplier round to see what it is all about. I am sorry but I believe the housing supplier should take the responsibility for the housing that I rent. I am not willing as a pensioner, to support social housing. In any case, the walls would need dry lining and some sort of secondary glazed windows. Not cheap, I can assure you.

    It is beyond what I can afford. Little choice with properties , there are very few, we have 12,000 and rising on the list here in Bath, ask Don.

    You are more than welcome to take a look at the flat, and see for yourself, the problems that are out there.

  • Robert Hamilton 30th Jan '13 - 11:57pm

    This sounds like a good idea but as with most things it’s the detail that matters.

    There are some major causes of concern

    1. There is an initial cost for an assessment, reckoned to be about £100.00. Is this refundable if you don’t go ahead because it would be too costly?

    2. Interest is chargeable on the loan but the Govt is keeping quiet about the interest rate. Seems its going to be a fixed rate. There are suggestions that it will be round about 6-7% which is quite high in present circumstances. It would probably be cheaper to borrow the money elsewhere if you can.

    3. The costs are supposed to be offset by the energy savings but what is the margin and how do we know how energy prices will go. The supposed savings cannot be guaranteed so its a gamble

    4. The scheme is open to tenants as well as homeowners but why should a tenant get involved? The charges will fall on the tenant through the energy bills but they are surely paying off the cost of a capital asset that will accrue to the landlord. Conversely it would be attractive to landlords who would be passing the capital cost on to the tenant.

    5. As far as homeowners are concerned, the loan attaches to the house. If you want to sell the house will a buyer want the loan paid off before going ahead or want the price dropped to reflect the outstanding loan.

    Generally I think we should be very wary of encouraging people to go for this until there is much more information available and we can see how it pans out.

    Which? is being very cautious and there are a couple of Guardian articles that highlight some queries

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/energy bills
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/energy efficiency

  • Richard Harris 31st Jan '13 - 1:08pm

    Personally I think the upfront charge for the initial assessment will leave this dead in the water. If a builder wanted to charge me for producing an estimate I would show him the door pretty quick. How is this any different?

  • Helen Dudden 31st Jan '13 - 7:07pm

    I have been reading on line, about the subject for social housing, and this is the area I have the most disquiet for. There should be something in place that helps the housing trusts themselves, they become responsible for the works, and the loan. It seems unfair that those in new property have this done and completed, as with the new energy controls on the new builds.

    Of course, to save energy is important for us all, it still needs a lot more thought. For those of us with cold homes, a much warmer outcome, as heating cost s more to use.

  • Mrs Irene Fraser 15th Feb '13 - 5:57pm

    I live in a housing association house with my husband, we are both disabled, my husband has demetia and arthritis after having multiple strokes and I have C.O.P.D. along with arthritis. My home is insulated and has cavity wall insulation.BUT I have an anti room with no heating, this goes down to 14 degrees and as my kitchen and bathroom lead of this it makes them both cold, consequently I have to turn my thermostat up to 23 to compensate especially as my husband forgets to close the doors with his dementia, but lets face it internal doors are not insulated so I’m losing heat even when the doors are closed. I’ve asked the housing association to put a radiator in my anti room, but there refusing saying its not a room that is lived in. Consequently it’s costing me a fortune to heat £283 from October to January just on gas. I pay by direct debit, have both electric and gas through EDF on there blue price promise so I don’t think their’s anything else I can do apart from freeze. Please help Irene

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