You might have heard about the government’s Green Deal. It’s an energy efficiency scheme launching in 2012, and means you won’t have to pay the upfront costs of installing energy-saving measures. But what’s the catch?
After a sales pitch from your energy supplier, a supermarket, or your local ‘green deal assessor’ you might be tempted to take up the ‘Green Deal.’
Someone will then visit your home and recommend a package of energy efficiency measures, such as loft insulation, a new boiler or solid wall insulation.
No such thing as free money
However, as Drew Richie commented in a previous Conversation, it’s not free money – you do have to repay it (plus interest) over time. The difference between the Green Deal and other home improvement loans is that your monthly repayments should always be lower than the savings you make on your bill. But the government can’t guarantee this, it’s only an estimate.
It’s also not technically a loan, since if you move the Green Deal stays with the house and the new owner will take it over (in theory).
But we think the Green Deal needs more measures to protect consumers, and we’ve been feeding our views to the government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). We’re all in favour of lower energy bills, but there are still lots of questions to be answered.
Many confused by the deal
When we discussed this in March, commenters seemed worried about the practicalities. Some raised concerns about cowboy builders, and others wondered how estimated savings would be calculated. We wanted to follow this up and get your reaction to some of our key concerns.
It’s not as if the Green Deal is the first scheme of its kind – many people haven’t taken up loft and cavity wall insulation yet, even when they’re widely available for free or at heavily discounted rates.
The reasons are many: worrying about the cost and how long it will take to pay back, not knowing where to get advice that you trust, the hassle involved etc. Who can say these same problems won’t affect the Green Deal?
Risk of people being ripped off
We’re also worried that if the assessor is tied to the Green Deal provider – say M&S or British Gas – they might not advise you to buy what is best for you, but rather what is best for them.
If the Green Deal is a government scheme, then DECC needs to make really sure it doesn’t open doors for unscrupulous companies to sell unnecessary energy saving products.
So, please tell us what you think. Is the Green Deal something you would be interested in or does it sound too complex to bother? Would you be put off if a house you were buying came with a Green Deal ‘charge’, or would it be a plus point?