Climate change minister Greg Barker has played down expectations of what the Green Deal can deliver prior to January.
During a webchat session hosted by DECC this morning, Barker conceded that October’s launch date meant very little for homeowners in practical terms before finance becomes available at the end of January.
DECC has so far received no completed Green Deal Assessments despite an earlier understanding that these could be submitted now.
This has sparked suggestions from some, including shadow climate change minister Luciana Berger, that the scheme was launched in October purely to save face rather than admitting to further administrative delays.
During this morning’s online session, Barker said: “Let’s be clear, the Green Deal wasn’t ‘launched’ six weeks ago.
“The framework went live on October 01 to allow companies to begin getting registered as Green Deal Assessors. The real ‘launch’ as such will be 28 January when the first consumer finance plans can go live.
“However, as more Assessors gain accreditation and Green Deal Providers begin marketing their services, we expect the number of assessments to rise.”
Barker went on to confirm that 247 installers have been registered so far to undertake Green Deal work and 12 companies have become Green Deal Providers. DECC expects these numbers to rise significantly before Christmas and has published new Green Deal Provider guidance on its website today (available here).
DECC is also currently funding training for the first 1000 installers and assessors. Further details are available at www.assetskills.org.
Another major issue addressed by Barker this morning was the current status of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) after questions flooded in from individuals concerned by Barker’s apparent backtracking.
Despite the stalling of Green Deal, Barker confirmed that the ECO strand of the scheme, which focuses on those in fuel poverty or with hard to treat properties, is currently available and is being pushed by local authorities.
“Energy companies can already start delivering against their ECO targets but we want to open the market up further and will be consulting shortly on the ECO brokerage,” he added.
“I specifically designed ECO to have a ring fenced pot of subsidy for rural areas and we also expect all Local Authorities to have a plan to offer Green Deal to their residents in every part of the country and expect the private sector to work closely with them.”
In the hour long session, the minister also had time to say that Green Deal interest rates would be lower than typical consumer credit, that he envisaged the scheme to run until at least 2030 and confirmed that the government had ‘a major PR plan’ pencilled in for 2013.