MPs demand answers as Green Deal support falters

A senior MP has demanded answers from Energy Ministers as support for the Green Deal appears to have started crumbling away.

The Green Deal is scheduled to be launched on October 1 but reports this week suggest the full roll-out may be delayed until next year in a wrangle over the payment mechanism.

And industry leaders and consumer groups are beginning to question if the energy efficiency programme aimed at better insulating the UK’s homes will actually deliver value to the consumer.

Shadow Climate Change Minister Luciana Berger has called on the energy department to “come clean” as the scheme launch now seems have been “thrown into chaos”.

Responding to reports that energy firms had delayed the implementation of the funding framework, the Labour MP said yesterday: “This is yet another blow to the beleaguered Green Deal scheme, undermining the confidence of consumers and jeopardising jobs and growth in the energy efficiency market.

“Paying off loans through household energy bills is fundamental to the Green Deal model. If energy companies are now saying they can’t deliver that, then it casts severe doubts over the scheme’s viability. DECC should come clean about exactly what is going on by putting correspondence from the big six about this delay into the public domain.

“Every week the launch of this scheme seems to be thrown into chaos, yet Minsters are ploughing on regardless, instead of listening to those who are urging them to change course.

“It’s time they worked with the CBI, the Committee on Climate Change, consumer groups like Which?, small businesses in the sector and Labour, all of whom want to create a scheme that will actually deliver affordable bills, more jobs and lower emissions.”

And critics are going further by accusing the Green Deal of being a flawed policy, which could actually double the cost of installing energy efficiency measures, once a list of extra costs are factored in.

John Oddi, CEO of London-based home improvement firm, Crystal, said these extra costs would include an increase in product costs and interest fees if the ‘golden rule’ does not actually save more than the price of energy it conserves

He told GreenWeek: “The Green Deal could have been a wonderful opportunity to help, consumers, the environment, the UK economy and SMEs, instead what DECC are offering is quite the opposite.

“It’s the lose, lose, lose of paying twice as much for goods, being fooled into believing others will take over the debt and the damage to the UK economy and the environment, that is the Real Green Deal.

“DECC are promoting the no up-front costs, many consumers already believe this to mean it’s free. Nothing could be further from the truth, Green Deal products cost twice as much, with arrangement fees and commercial rates of interest the consumer pays double the true cost of the products.

“DECC have spent millions of pounds of tax payers money to arrive at a Green Deal scheme that is nothing more than a very expensive and complex “buy now, pay later and pay much more” finance offering. A scheme that will lead to consumers receiving extremely poor value and that will harm the UK economy and destroy jobs.

“A way of using subsides to destroy tens of thousands of longstanding non-subsidised jobs, that’s all that DECC have achieved, is it any wonder they are desperate to promote the Green Deal.”

Consumer group Which? say customers could potentially pay back far more under the Green Deal than they are actually saving on their energy bills because under the ‘golden rule’ average savings figures are used rather than figures tailored to the household’s actual energy usage.