The Government today set out secondary legislation that will give industry the green light to bring the Green Deal energy efficiency market into operation, alongside measures to strengthen consumer protection, reduce industry burdens, and implement the Energy Company Obligation (ECO).
In addition to setting out the parts of the framework that are already in place, today’s announcements give clarity to the market by detailing next steps to getting Green Deal and ECO rules set by October, including, in legislation to be laid later this week, ensuring support worth around £1.3bn a year to deliver energy efficiency and heating measures across Great Britain to help tackle fuel poverty and climate change. An increased focus on poorer areas should see an extra 100,000 households in low income areas benefitting each year, compared to our original proposals, bringing the total number of low income households and those in low income areas assisted to around 230,000 a year.
Following consideration of more than 600 responses to the Government’s November consultation on the Green Deal and ECO, full details of the final policy are set out in the response document published today.
This includes ensuring that robust consumer standards are met, creating a market that balances consumer protection and burdens on businesses. Changes include improved consumer protections such as restrictions on ‘cold calling’, and new rules requiring Green Deal Assessors to declare any commission they might be receiving for carrying out an assessment and any ties to Green Deal Providers. A change to the warranties proposal eases requirements on businesses to hold warranties for the length of a Green Deal Plan while maintaining robust minimum standards of protection for consumers, including 25 year warranties in the case of wall insulation. Improvements for behind the scenes operations make it easier for energy companies administering the Green Deal charging to deliver a smoother customer experience.
Changes have also been made to the ECO to include allow more hard-to-treat cavity walls to qualify for support, and to provide specific support for low income and rural areas. These changes will help the insulation industry, which has been supported by current schemes, transition successfully to take advantage of the new market opportunities created by Green Deal and ECO. An estimated technical potential of around 2.8million hard to treat cavity wall properties will now be eligible under the ECO.
Today’s publications also include a final impact assessment and associated research, and confirm the appointment of Ofgem to be the ECO Administrator. Also today, guidance for industry sets out which measures will qualify for Green Deal finance and the ECO – 45 in all – providing clarity on which sectors fall within scope and underlining the opportunities for innovation enabled by the Green Deal.