Speaking at the Ecobuild exhibition at the ExCeL in London this week, Davey launched a discussion over the lack of take up in the scheme so far, which he described as “clunky”, “complex” and “disappointing”.
Davey announced that the changes to the Green Deal would be introduced in coming weeks, and highlighted changes which have already been made to the scheme, including introducing a rebate on stamp duty to anyone who improves the energy efficiency of a newly purchased home, the online Home Energy Tool which allows customers to assess which improvements they might need and what support they can get, and a simplified lending process, allowing customers to sign their plan as soon as they get a quote.
The key changes to the Green Deal set to be introduced in upcoming weeks include:
- A single route through for customers, allowing them to access the information and upgrades they need, through either the Energy Company Obligation, the Green Deal or through self-financed methods, in order to keep the process simple and hassle free.
- A marketplace of accredited installers who can perform quality work to the Green Deal standard and ensure the customer receives all the benefits of the scheme.
- The introduction of attractive incentives and access to a suitable finance package for the customer.
Davey defended the decisions to make changes to the Green Deal early on, stating that alterations to the scheme’s incentives “shouldn’t be too surprising given the ambition” of the schemes.
The lack of popularity of the Green Deal throughout its first year has been blamed on an initial vagueness over the scheme in the 2011 Energy Act, in which it wasn’t made clear whether the responsibility of paying the Green Deal charge lay with the tenants or landlords if the property is rented in the private sector, leaving many potential customers unsure of where they stood.
For Davey, clarity on this point is vital, stating: “I’ve always regarded the Green Deal- with the Green Finance Plan- as tailor-made for the private rented sector. But a mistake was made. And now we’ve corrected it. Now, as of last month, Green Deal Providers can access the as yet untapped demand in the private rented sector.”
Davey revealed that, while the numbers of potential customers receiving Green Deal assessments on their homes looked more promising, with more than 145,000 taking place over the past year, the most disappointing figures lay with Green Deal finance plans, with just 1,277 plans being signed as of January 2014. But Davey stated that getting customers to sign finance plans was not the main objective of the Green Deal, but to help make homes “warmer, cheaper and greener”, and that the upcoming changes will help to further streamline the scheme, bringing in more interest and a higher uptake from customers and more positive outcomes overall.
Image sourced: Department of Energy and Climate Changetagscost and financegovernment schemegreen deal