DECC and OFGEM looking to change rules for new ECO for April 2017

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have recently announced that Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) funding from April 2017, is considering  a move to a method called ‘deemed scoring’.  This would mean that only a small number of inputs would be needed to calculate the ‘scores’ for the ECO measure. Obviously this is still subject to and dependent on a new Government Policy and any consultation(s) that takes place before hand.

DECC believe that the new method simplifies the current ECO process. Deemed scoring essentially groups properties together so that ‘simple’ traits such as style and built age will be enough to calculate the carbon saving on installing any given ECO measure, such as cavity wall insulation or loft insulation. This move would remove the requirement for working out the ‘carbon savings’ from using the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) as is currently the case.

The new proposed system is indeed simple, but it is also crude. The introduction of EPCs into the ECO policy apparently caused, for some, an overly complicated system of bureaucracy and regulation.

However Elmhurst Energy believes that the UK population would want to know the ‘truth’. An EPC measures the home as it is, and also vitally identifies all other ‘energy efficiency’ measures that the homeowner/renter/landlord could apply to their home, saving them money and making their home warmer. It is also an ‘independent’ certificate that is not just interested in the one or two measures being delivered by any given Government Policy.

It is vital therefore that if deemed scores are decided to be the way forward; that OFGEM and the Government mandate that, an EPC is created after the improvement measures have been installed. Not to interfere in the mechanics of the ECO policy, but to give homeowners and tenants the ‘truthful’ position of their home after the improvements have been made. After all who doesn’t want to see that their home has improved?

We believe families wouldn’t want to know the rough carbon saving which deemed scores would be providing; they would want to know how much money they will be saving off their fuel bills, something that the EPC provides.

If there is no measurement at the end, how do we manage our housing stock moving forward? Elmhurst believe that we need to create a culture of change in the UK. We need to give homeowners and tenants the information they need to get best value for money. This will allow good decisions at the home level, as well as at regional and national level. As the old statement goes if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

Elmhurst agree that if the tweaks to the ECO policy deliver more energy efficiency installs then this is a good thing. However the only way we can all work together is to start to look at homes as an entity and that is what the EPC does.  If we as a society want to get rid of Fuel Poverty and eradicate cold and hard to heat homes, we all need to work together. The EPC is the measuring tool, without it, we are blind and can’t move forward together.

Stuart Fairlie, Head of Technical, Elmhurst Energy

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