The architect of the Government’s much-criticised household energy efficiency scheme has blamed the Big Six electricity providers for its failure.
Greg Barker, the former Tory energy minister, launched the Green Deal at the start of 2013, saying he would be having “sleepless nights” if 10,000 households hadn’t signed up for a loan for home energy-efficiency upgrades by the end of the year.
Two and a half years later, the number of households with Green Deal-financed measures in place has yet to reach 10,000, says the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
Its latest figures show that 7,817 households had “live” Green Deal plans at the end of April (ie, the work has been done), with the number rising to 10,354 when work-in-progress is included.
Once billed by Mr Barker as “the biggest home-improvement programme since the Second World War”, the scheme allowed households to take out loans for boilers, insulation and other energy-saving measures. The loan was to be repaid over 25 years through household energy bills, with the resulting energy savings more than compensating for the loan repayments.
“I’m very disappointed that the Big Six haven’t really seized the opportunity provided by the Green Deal. I expected them to come forward with a comprehensive package for their millions of customers and the bottom line is they haven’t – despite early promises,” said Mr Barker.
“Installing a whole house retrofit would require substantial investment in skills and equipment to offer that. They prefer to invest their capital in just selling electricity down a wire, as they always have,” he added.
A spokesman for DECC said: “The Green Deal was a new, world-first scheme [which] was just one option for people to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and complemented a wider package of support under the Government.”
A spokesman for Energy UK, the industry association, added: “Energy suppliers are committed to helping customers manage their energy consumption ... which includes the Green Deal”
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies