Green Deal cash incentive too little

Published:  23 October, 2012

LONDON: The government has been criticised for not going far enough with its £125m cash-back scheme to drive uptake of the Green Deal.

The cash-back scheme, unveiled by energy secretary Ed Davey last week, will see households receive up to £650 per energy saving measure installed through the Green Deal, depending on what measures they install.

The cash-back rates will apply from January 2013 until the first £40m of the scheme is used-up, when rates will be reset. Customers will only be able to get the cash-back offer if the work is done by an approved Green Deal installer. Social and private landlords will also be able to access the scheme.

The cash-back scheme comes amid concerns that the Green Deal's 'soft launch' and delays to its full implementation could undermine the industry, with many fearing there will be limited take-up of the flagship scheme over its first year of operation.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said the government should go further. "Little has so far been done to encourage people to make energy efficiency improvements to their homes outside of the Green Deal," he said. Mr Berry also said that he hoped to see such plans in the chancellor's autumn statement in December.

Brian Smithers, director, Rexel UK commented: “A headline grabbing cash incentive is exactly what the Green Deal needs to raise awareness amongst consumers. If this initiative is a success, and we see a rush in enquiries, this is where the recently announced Green Deal advisors will be crucial. Solid, impartial advice  from accredited advisors and commitment from accredited providers to install energy saving solutions, will be key to converting those interested by the cash back scheme into early adopters of the Green Deal. It’s down to us, as an industry, to work together and ensure that all the relevant information is easily accessible for households and businesses alike.”

Alpha Heating Innovation has welcomed the cashback announcement but cautions that more must be done to support the industry. “Announcing details of the cashback is a real step forward as we progress towards January and the issue of the first Green Deal loan, especially as consumers can claim on Flue Gas Heat Recovery when they upgrade or replace an old non-condensing boiler,” said Steve Hopkins, product marketing manager of Alpha Heating Innovation. 

“All incentives are welcome in order to promote uptake of the Green Deal, however more can be done to help the industry sell-in the Green Deal to consumers. This latest round of incentives is definitely a good start but there are considerable opportunities that would help the work of everyone involved – from installers to Green Deal assessors and providers.

“Alpha will continue to work closely with all partners as we move towards the first Green Deal installations to make sure the heating sector can play an active role in this energy saving scheme.”

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