ECO3 – massive opportunity wasted

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have recently consulted on their flagship ‘energy efficiency’ policy for domestic homes in the UK called the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO).

Elmhurst have reviewed the consultation, read the impact assessments, listened to observations and been to all the presentations by BEIS and Ofgem in a concerted effort to see the policy from all sides.

We have concluded that the policy is now a mixed bag of complex rules and bureaucracy that can’t ascertain the improvements that it makes to people’s homes. The policy is exclusively measured on the number of measures installed, not on the impact it makes to people's homes, warmth and comfort.

We are extremely disappointed as the Government's Clean Growth Strategy was so conclusive in its ambition to move as many homes as possible to band C on the EPC by 2030 (fuel poor) and everyone else by 2035. ECO was to play a major part in solving this conundrum. 

With so much opportunity it is a shame that government policy appears to confuse the picture by only using benefits to ascertain occupant eligibility for improvement measures. The consultation states its aims to remove people from fuel poverty and yet makes little attempt to focus on our least energy efficient homes and, at the same time, facilitates the replacement of oil boilers with appliances that are more expensive to run and may actually exacerbate fuel poverty.

Elmhurst suggests to try and salvage any hope within the policy, that they place an inflator into the ‘deemed scores’ (the way individual measures are traded) for all E, F and G rated homes, in an effort to focus measures into the least energy efficient homes first. The total money in the policy has significantly reduced since inception and, as such it is essential that measures do not go into energy efficient homes e.g. A, B or C rated homes at the expense of the worst performing homes.

Standing back we actually believe the model is broken, with utility companies who have little interest or expertise in home improvements being dragged, involuntarily, into a sector they don’t understand . Elmhurst believes that a better solution would be for all utility providers (not just the big ones) to be taxed an amount per customer. This money should be moved away from the utility companies and its regulator (Ofgem) and implemented by an independent mechanism. The current system is far too complex, bureaucratic and actually puts families last. 

Elmhurst encourages its members to respond to this important consultation, please be quick as the deadline is this Sunday (29th April).

To read Elmhurst's final response to the consultation: click here

Information on the Consultation:

Deadline: Sunday 29th April 2018 at 11.45pm

Article Published: 27th April 2018

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