The government's much-vaunted Green Deal energy efficiency scheme urgently needs overhauling following new figures showing new sign-ups have virtually ground to a halt, according to the Energy Advice Line.
Monthly figures released by the Department of Energy & Climate Change show only 33 plans new plans were signed in February, taking the total to 1,754. The government originally predicted that 10,000 consumers would sign Green Deal plans by the end of 2013.
The Green Deal, launched in January 2013, is aimed at cutting the electricity rates of 14 million homes by providing loans to pay for the installation of energy-saving technology such as solar panels and loft insulation. It was intended that the amount householders saved on their energy bills, as a resulting of installing the technology, would be sufficient to cover the interest on the loan taken out to pay for the improvements.
"No-one argues that energy efficiency is one of the best ways to help consumers reduce their energy bills while simultaneously helping the environment," said Julian Morgan, managing director of the price comparison and switching service, "but it's time that the government acknowledged that the Green Deal has failed to achieve its end and needs to be reformed. Many cash-strapped consumers who are struggling to pay for the energy to heat their homes are not willing to pay the £100 for the initial Green Deal assessment report."
Many cash-strapped consumers who are struggling to pay for the energy to heat their homes are not willing to pay the £100 for the initial Green Deal assessment report. The scheme is also complicated, with many consumers highly sceptical about the size of the purported savings that can be achieved through the installation green technology. "I can understand why many consumers think the Green Deal is not worth the time, money or rigmarole."
Under the ECO scheme, the big energy suppliers are legally obliged to help low income and vulnerable households, homes that may not benefit from the Green Deal and homes in low income areas with energy-efficiency measures.