Official figures confirm flop Green Deal is a "disaster"

by Search Gate staff. Published Thu 27 Jun 2013 15:13, Last updated: 2013-06-27
Only 4 homes have so far signed up for the Green Deal

The first official statistics of take-up of the Government's flagship Green Deal scheme reveals a disastrous launch with not one single household yet benefiting from the energy efficiency programme.

And after six months of operation and 38,259 Green Deal assessments, figures released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change today reveal just FOUR customers have signed up and are currently waiting for installation.

Despite sitting on £50 million of taxpayers' money, the Green Deal Finance Company – created to underpin the financing of the scheme – earlier this week confirmed it will not reveal details of the organisation's spending.

The Green Deal was supposed to be the Government's flagship to help retrofit the property stock of the nation with energy efficiency measures to reduce utility bills and emissions.

But critics have attacked the fine detail of the scheme and highlighted how sky-high interest rates, hidden charges and penalty payments would often fleece the homeowner.

The first step in the Green Deal process involves an assessor coming to the home, talking to the owner/occupier about their energy use and seeing if they can benefit from making energy efficiency improvements to their property.

The main output from this process is that a Green Deal Advice Report (using information from an Energy Performance Certificate and Occupancy Assessment) will be produced and will be lodged on a national register.

The customer is then able to view the energy efficiency measures which have been recommended and understand the potential costs and savings.

Up to 16 June, there were 38,259 Green Deal assessments lodged in total. According to today's release the number of assessments in May was 28 per cent higher than that in April (which in turn was 27 per cent higher than in March).

Following an Assessment, for householders who choose to take on some of the recommended measures, there are a number of routes to pay for the improvements. Some customers may choose Green Deal finance to pay for part or all of their planned improvements, whilst others may choose to pay for measures out of savings or other sources of finance, and some may be part funded through ECO support.

For those who choose Green Deal finance, there are three stages in the life cycle of a Green Deal Plan for which reports are generated.

In total, there were 245 Green Deal Plans in the system for individual properties as at 16 June. Of these, 241 were ‘new’ Green Deal Plans and 4 were ‘pending’.

The first stage (a ‘new’ Green Deal Plan) is after a customer has obtained a quote from a Green Deal Provider and confirmed they wish to proceed. The Green Deal Provider has then successfully requested a Green Deal Plan record prior to signature by the customer.

It is possible that more than one Green Deal Plan may be requested for each household. There were 241 households with a ‘new’ Green Deal Plan reported up to 16 June.

The second stage (a ‘pending’ Green Deal Plan) is when a Green Deal Plan has been signed by the customer, progress is being made to install Green Deal Plan measures and the Plan is being finalised so that charging can start. There were 4 households with ‘pending’ Green Deal Plans reported up to 16 June

The final stage (a ‘live’ Green Deal Plan) is after the measures have been installed in the property, the information required to disclose the plan to future bill payers has been attached to the Plan and the energy supplier has all the information required to bill Green Deal charges.

At this stage the daily charge has been confirmed along with the date from when the charge will be accrued on their electricity bill. There were no ‘live’ Green Deal Plans up to 16 June.

According to DECC's report: “It has only been possible for Green Deal Providers to request plans once commercial agreements between the Green Deal Finance Company and Green Deal Providers have been agreed.

“It took Green Deal Providers some time to prepare their businesses to bring offers to the market with Green Deal Plans being created from May onwards for the small number of GD Providers who have finalised their offer to date.”

However, Friends of the Earth's Warm Homes Campaigner Dave Timms described the figures as a “disaster”.

He added: "Today's figures are a disaster but not unexpected – the Green Deal's potential has been absurdly overhyped by Ministers to cover the fact they didn't have a comprehensive strategy for insulating the UK’s cold, expensive to heat homes.

"Saving energy is vital for making energy bills affordable and tackling climate change, but with only four households taking up loans since the Green Deal began, the Government’s efforts are falling embarrassingly short.

"Lower interest rates, more incentives and tough regulations on landlords to improve the worst insulated rented homes would all increase the take-up of energy efficiency measures.
“The fuel poor especially have been left in the cold by recent cuts to Government energy efficiency schemes, which must be reversed.”

Rhian Kelly, CBI Director for Business Environment policy, said: “While it is still early days for the Green Deal, this is a wake-up call to the Government that they need to do more to help get this scheme off the ground.

“The Green Deal has real potential to help businesses and households manage their energy bills, and the Government must explore all possible options to attract more consumers.”

In an open letter orchestrated by the UK Green Building Council, a cross section of chief executives from housing, energy, finance and construction companies urged the three main parties to collaborate to address “major concerns” with current retrofit policy.

Following release of today's first quarterly Green Deal statistics, the UK Green Building Council reacted by publishing an open letter from construction industry leaders urging all political parties to come together to ensure the Green Deal doesn’t fail.

Paul King, Chief Executive of UK-GBC, said: “It is obviously disappointing that more Green Deal assessments have not been turned into finance plans, and it shows just how crucial additional incentives are to drive take up. But we simply cannot let this fail – retrofitting the UK’s housing stock is too important for reducing energy bills, improving health, creating jobs in the construction sector and avoiding costs of new generating capacity – and no one has a credible alternative.

“Business leaders are saying loud and clear that we need to forge a new consensus between politicians of all parties, the private sector and the public around retrofit, to depoliticise something that simply has to be done. It will require some tough choices, but it is absolutely in the public and nation’s best interest to address this as a matter of urgency. The Green Deal provides an important foundation to build on.”

Last week, Shadow Climate Change Minister Luciana Berger accused DECC of publishing flawed research on energy saving improvements.

She commented: “The research completely papers over the cracks in the Green Deal and ignores the fundamental flaws that have put many people off signing up for energy efficiency improvements.

“For months Labour has warned that the Green Deal needs to be a good deal for the public and that the sky high interest rates, hidden charges and penalty payments would put people off. Now there are reports that as few as 200 households have signed up for the scheme and one in four workers in the insulation industry have lost their jobs since the scheme has launched.

“Ministers need to take urgent action to deliver the energy efficient homes needed to lower bills, create jobs and cut carbon emissions.”

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