Knauf Insulation supports Centrica’s calls for the government to widen the scope of the ECO.

Knauf Insulation supports Centrica’s calls to widen scope of ECO

Published:  19 August, 2013

As Centrica’s chief executive, Sam Laidlaw, calls on the government to rethink its Energy Company Obligation (ECO) policy, branding it as complicated and expensive, Knauf Insulation continues to press for a broader focus on energy efficiency across the retrofit market.

Mr Laidlaw made the comments in an interview published in the Financial Times, in which he argued that the ECO scheme is more expensive and less effective than its predecessor, the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT).

Pointing to carbon abatement costs of £100-£120 per tonne, as opposed to £25-£30 under the previous scheme, Mr Laidlaw urged the government to consider a more cost effective means of reducing customers’ carbon emissions and suggested broadening the scope of ECO as the means to achieve this.

John Sinfield, managing director of Knauf Insulation Northern Europe, said: “While it’s important to recognise that ECO and CERT are very different animals, Sam Laidlaw raises a crucial question when he asks whether this is actually the most cost effective way to reduce emissions. The government needs to take a long hard look at the Green Deal and ECO and question whether they really are delivering what is required.

“The simple fact is that DECC’s own statistics show there are 5.3m cavity walls and 7.4m lofts still to be insulated in the UK, and yet the Green Deal and ECO figures issued in July revealed that only 39,000 cavity walls and 57,400 lofts have been tackled under the scheme so far.

“Even more disturbingly, the figures also showed that of the 3,449 Green Deal cashback vouchers paid up to the end of June, only four were for cavity wall insulation and nine for loft insulation. This leaves a huge number of cost effective and quick-win measures unfilled, which is a shocking wasted opportunity.

“So, in answer to Sam Laidlaw’s question: ‘is the customer getting value for money?’ I would say at the moment, no. The government must accept that the Green Deal is not delivering these vital low cost measures and should look instead at driving them through under ECO, until the Green Deal can be made attractive enough to appeal to householders. This is also in the government’s hands and we’ve been calling repeatedly for the introduction of tangible incentives to drive demand, such as linking the stamp duty to energy efficiency and opening up access to cashbacks and incentives for all generic energy efficiency retrofits.”

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