The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has released the findings of its inquiry into the government’s energy efficiency loan scheme ‘Green Deal’ and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO).
The enquiry found that Green Deal had an ‘abysmal’ take up rate because it had not been tested with consumers; adding that the scheme was ‘too complex’, with ‘excessive paperwork’ and people were ‘also put off by the interest rates of up to 10%.’ In addition the PAC concluded that the Government had no way of knowing whether ECO had achieved its stated aims of saving carbon emissions and reducing fuel poverty.
Groundwork has a long track record of providing householders and communities with energy efficiency advice and practical support to make their homes warmer and to reduce their utility bills. This has included working in partnership with energy companies and others involved in promoting Green Deal and discharging ECO obligations.
Last year, Groundwork’s ‘Green Doctors’ supported 43,000 households across the UK to save energy, water and money through practical advice and behaviour change support. Green Doctors also signpost vulnerable households to other sources of support, tackling fuel poverty and isolation, particularly among older people.
Graham Duxbury, CEO of Groundwork UK said:
“The PAC report sets out a number of lessons to be learned if we’re to get better at being an energy efficient nation. Green Deal was a big idea but was undone by the lack of a concerted, area-based approach to delivery and its emphasis on measures over behaviours. ECO had the potential to improve the lives of many thousands of vulnerable people but those responsible have found it difficult to get the right support to the people who need it most.
“There is now a significant body of research which says that practical advice and support from trusted, impartial local sources can go a long way to ensuring a sustainable change in behavior and putting more people in control of their energy use.
“With the dismantling of DECC we would urge those ministers now responsible for our energy strategy to ensure that they don’t lose sight of community solutions that have been proven to deliver both carbon reduction and health improvement benefits.”