‘Climate Change Committee’ Chair responds to Elmhurst on ECO consultation

As part of Elmhurst’s ongoing commitment to campaigning for the Energy Efficiency Industry, we recently wrote to Angus MacNeil MP, Chair of the influential ‘Energy and Climate Change Committee’. We were drawing Mr MacNeil’s attention to the proposal by Ofgem to move the ECO policy to deemed scores and the fact that the new policy will not target E, F and G rated properties.

We told Mr MacNeil that there were some positives, but also some negatives within the proposals: “The consultation is effectively stating that the Government will switch all the ECO funds towards fuel poverty, which in our view is great news. However in their over simplification of this, they are clearly making a massive mistake.”

We suggested that if his committee could ask BEIS “Can you guarantee that the reduced activity outlined in the new ECO policy will go to the worst energy efficient homes (i.e. those that are E, F or G rated)?”

We stated that; “The simple answer is no they can’t; the deemed scores method they are moving towards, is a harp back to the ‘good old days’ of CERT and CESP, where energy efficient measures had very little oversight, but everyone was happy, because lots of installs took place. All Government aims and policies are about reducing fuel poverty and make homes warmer and putting families first. The fact they are removing the measuring tape that are Energy Performance Certificates is one thing, but to allow utility companies, Ofgem, BEIS et al to claim that measures were applied and everyone is warmer and happier is just plain wrong.”

We highlighted an imbalance that was likely to occur in reality; “The Installers/Utility Companies will trade the same amount of carbon/cost savings for installing loft insulation in a warm new (c.2000) semi detached with a ‘B’ or ‘C’ rating, as they would if they put the same insulation in a leaky cold inefficient 1900 semi detached with an F or G rating. The logic in our opinion is madness. They will target easier properties for installs, not actually getting to the worst ones first.

We also highlighted all the good work coming from various parties interested in this important area; “The recent NAO report, The Public Accounts Committee report, indeed your own Committee work, all recognise that fuel poverty needs targeting and measuring correctly – ECO is the only policy left from Government, and they are in  danger of hiding behind big numbers of installs, and putting the families last.”

Mr MacNeil (pictured above) kindly took the time to respond. He stated:

Thank you for your email regarding the Energy Company Obligation and your concerns about the Government’s proposals to tackle fuel poverty.”

In reply to our question Mr MacNeil suggested that:

“The question you ask is an important one and one that was raised by my Committee during our Home energy efficiency and demand reduction inquiry earlier this year. In our report, we voiced serious concerns regarding the Department’s proposed approach to tackling fuel poverty through energy suppliers, as they may not be best placed to reach those households who need it most. We called on Government to re-evaluate the best approach to tackle fuel poverty.”

Furthermore; “We also noted that accurate, accessible data on property characteristics, energy use and income were key to tackling fuel poverty and that such data would help drive a more targeted approach to delivering energy efficiency measures through various policies. We recommended that the Department assess what legislative changes would be needed to improve wide-scale access to- and sharing of data.”

Mr MacNeil also mentioned that “In light of the recent restructuring of Government departments, the exact timetable and nature of further scrutiny on this topic will depend on the timeframe for any changes to select committees agreed by Parliament once the House has returned. Please do continue to look at our website for developments. If you have not already done so, you can join our mailing list by emailing ecc@parliament.uk.”

Elmhurst very much welcome Mr MacNeil’s positive response, we hope that the new Climate Change Committee takes up the batten with BEIS and that the worst homes get the limited funding that is currently  be made available. We hope that when the new policy is outlined in more detail following the consultation period, that Elmhurst’s views are incorporated.

 See our news for all articles/response so far on this matter:

 Deemed Scores: http://www.elmhurstenergy.co.uk/eco2-deemd-scores-elmhurst-response

Consultation Information: http://www.elmhurstenergy.co.uk/breaking-news-decc-issue-consultation-on-eco-replacement

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