The Government’s flagship Green Deal scheme is “doomed to failure”, according to a leading energy sector entrepreneur. Adam Mitchell, founder of national installer network Futureproof, says regulation, cost of finance plans and the lack of energy savings for homeowners meant that uptake was likely to remain poor.
Mitchell’s comments follow the publication of the latest Government figures for Green Deal, which showed that only 33 plans were signed in February.
The figures are a far cry from the Green Deal’s initial stated objective of cutting energy bills for 14 million homes in Britain. Mitchell said: “In many ways the Government is a victim of doing things properly. It is important that the Green Deal is set up and delivered in a professional, regulated way, but the downside is that the costs are more expensive and therefore a lot less appealing to homeowners.
“While the cashback incentive helps, the reality is that the majority of homeowners still have to add to this out of their own pockets. Because most homeowners move on after a few years, whether upsizing or downsizing, it means they will not see any real benefits in terms of energy savings.
“There is no question that the Green Deal was launched with the best of intentions, but the reality is that it is doomed to failure and there is very little the Government can do about this. By doing it less professionally and in an unregulated manner would simply open the doors to cowboy installers operating within the industry.”
One possible solution suggested by Futureproof is to incentivize householders by allowing them to use the carbon they will save through the Green Deal as an offset against the funding required to implement the measures.
Mitchell’s comments on the Green Deal follow earlier criticism of another Government initiative, the Energy Company Obligation scheme.
Under the scheme, the “Big Six” energy suppliers were expected to invest around £1billion a year to provide almost 250,000 low income homes with free A-rated boilers and insulation.
But, according to Futureproof – a national network which helps people take advantage of ECO – thousands of boiler installments are being delayed because of the lack of a robust system to administer the process.
Gas heating engineers are also being hit with many going unpaid by approved Green Deal providers for jobs they have completed or finding forms they have submitted for potential boiler replacements being rejected.
Under Mitchell’s guidance, Futureproof has developed its own quality management system (QMS) which he says could act as the industry-wide model to dramatically overhaul the way ECO is delivered.
Mitchell said: “ECO is simply not working in its current format and is failing consumers and installers. The scheme is supposed to be helping some of our poorest households keep warm and become more energy efficient, while creating significant amounts of work for installers across the UK.
“While the scheme is working for some, it is clearly not working for the majority and this position will not change until proper processes and systems are put in place.”