Green Deal and ECO

The Green Deal is an innovative financing mechanism that lets people pay for energy-efficiency improvements through savings on their energy bills.

Green Deal launched in January 2013 and applies to both the domestic and non-domestic sector. It has replaced policies such as the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP).

The government has appointed a Green Deal Registration and Oversight Body. Part of their role is to register the organisations that are approved to deliver the Green Deal – Advisors, Providers and Installers. To find an assessor in your area go to: Green Deal: energy saving for your home or business

 

How the Green Deal works  

The Green Deal process has four stages:

Assessment by GD advisor, Finance by GD provider, Installation by GD insstaller, Repayment through electricity supplier, all overseen by GD registration and oversight body
 

Assessment

This is carried out in your home or business premises by a Green Deal Advisor or Assessor. They will:

  • use standardised software to identify what energy efficiency or microgeneration improvements you can make and what the financial savings would be
  • outline how the payments will work
  • identify which improvements are likely to be cost effective
  • produce a Green Deal advice report outlining your options
  • declare any links they have with Green Deal Providers.

 There will generally be a charge for the assessment. You may have to pay this up front, or you may be able to pay it off over time as part of the finance package.

 

Finance

Once the Green Deal Advisor has given you your report, you can take it to one or more Green Deal Providers who can arrange and fund the improvements. If you decide to take up a Green Deal offer you will then sign a Green Deal Plan, which is a contract between you and the Green Deal Provider.

 

Installation

The Green Deal Provider will arrange for a Green Deal installer to come and carry out the work you have agreed to. The installer will have been vetted to ensure they meet the standards set out for the Green Deal.

 

Repayment

You pay back the cost of the improvements over time through your electricity bill. Your electricity supplier will pass your payments on to your Green Deal Provider. The amount you pay back will be no more than a typical household will save on heating bills, so you are likely to be better off overall from day one.

Although the cost of the improvements is repaid, this is not a conventional personal loan as the charge is attached to the electricity meter in your house and paid back through your electricity bill. If you move out, the new occupant will pick up the charge while also benefiting from a more energy-efficient property.

Interest will be charged on these payments, but the rate will be fixed and you will be shown a full schedule of all the payments before you sign up to the plan. It is up to the Green Deal Providers to decide on the interest rate, so it will be worth shopping around to find the best deal. You will be able to pay off the plan early if you choose, though the Provider may charge a fee for this.

 

Details of the Green Deal   

 

How do I apply for a Green Deal?

The first step in getting a Green Deal is to have an assessment carried out on your property. A Green Deal Assessor or Green Deal Provider can arrange this for you. You can search for Assessor and Provider companies operating in your area by going to gov.uk/greendeal, or you can phone Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282.

 

What improvements will the Green Deal cover?

There are 45 measures or areas of home improvement approved to receive funding under the Green Deal, covering:

  • insulation
  • heating and hot water
  • glazing
  • microgeneration (generating your own energy).

For the non-domestic sector lighting, mechanical ventilation and heat recovery measures can also be covered. More areas may be added as technology develops.

 

Incentives to kick-start the Green Deal

In Scotland on 1 November 2012 the Scottish Government launched the Green Homes Cashback Scheme to encourage people to make improvements.

 

Where can I get more information?

Independent advice services provide impartial advice around energy saving and the Green Deal, funded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Scottish Government.

In Scotland, call 0808 808 2282 to be directed to Home Energy Scotland.

 

The ECO (Energy Company Obligation)  

The ECO for the big six energy suppliers is also being launched in early 2013. It is in three parts:

 

Affordable Warmth Obligation

To provide insulation and heating improvements to low-income and vulnerable households (but social housing tenants are not eligible for affordable warmth).

There are complex eligibility criteria for this means-tested scheme. Call Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 to check whether you might be eligible, and to apply if you are.

 

Carbon Saving Obligation

To provide funding to insulate solid-walled properties (internal and external wall insulation) and those with ‘hard-to-treat’ cavity walls.

This is not means-tested but can be used in conjunction with the Green Deal. The aim is to provide enough support to make these relatively expensive measures cost-effective.

 

Carbon Saving Communities Obligation

To provide insulation measures to people living in the bottom 15% of the UK's most deprived areas. It is expected that this element of ECO will particularly benefit the social housing sector.

Through ECO, the government aims to help 230,000 low-income households or those in low-income areas. Of the expected investment by suppliers of £1.3bn per year, there will be a 75:25 split between the carbon and affordable warmth obligations.

 

Timescales for Green Deal and ECO  

All the elements of the Green Deal and ECO are now available, and assessments and ECO surveys are now being carried out.

 

Green Deal FAQ  

 

Are there guarantees that savings will be achieved and the Golden Rule will be met?

No, there are no guarantees but the savings estimates used by Green Deal Providers to calculate the amount of finance they can offer a customer will be reduced by a set percentage (called an 'in-use factor'). This approach was also taken in the CERT Scheme. The in-use factors have been recommended by a team of experts and are different for each measure.

 

Is there a cap on the amount of Green Deal finance available?

No, there is no cap on the amount of finance a customer can receive through Green Deal, but the total amount available will be limited by the Golden Rule.

 

Can Green Deal be used with Feed-in Tariffs or the Renewable Heat Incentive?

Green Deal packages can include energy efficiency, renewable heat and energy generation products together. However, you will not be able to use expected income from the Feed-in Tariff, for example, to help you meet the Golden Rule.

Renewable Heat Incentive payments will be conditional on making 'Green Deal-able' thermal efficiency improvements to the property, so that renewable heat is not wasted.

 

What is the Green Deal Finance Company?

The Green Deal Finance Company is a private-sector consortium looking to provide Green Deal finance to a wide customer base. It has submitted a business plan to the government for investment but the service has not been procured by government. Members of the Green Deal Finance Company include British Gas, Carillion, Clifford Chance, E.ON, EDF Energy, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Insta Group, Kingfisher, Linklaters, Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets, Mark Group, npower, PwC, RBC Capital Markets and SSE.

 

What protection is being put in place for consumers?

The government has put in place a range of consumer protections including:

  • new accreditation and standards so customers can have confidence in those authorised under the Green Deal
  • strengthening cold-calling protections by introducing a cooling-off period of one day
  • only allowing cross-selling of products where the customer has agreed to this in advance
  • ensuring that assessors outline any commission they receive or ties they have to Green Deal Providers and disclose when they are moving from the impartial assessment stage to a sale
  • making Green Deal Providers offer minimum periods of mandatory cover: five years for warranties, 10 years for building damage cover and 25 years for cavity or solid wall insulation
  • comfort that the Golden Rule has to be met in all instances.
 

Can customers on pre-payment meters take out a Green Deal Plan?

Yes. However, the current design of prepayment meters does not allow for the collection of the Green Deal payment as a standing charge, therefore the charge will be collected in the same way as arrears are collected.

 

Can customers that take out a Green Deal Plan still switch energy supplier?

Yes, providing that the new supplier is participating in the Green Deal payment collection mechanism.

 

How can I get my product included within Green Deal?

The process for adding new measures to RdSAP (and as a result to the Green Deal) is called 'Appendix Q'. It enables the testing and verification of measures to ensure that they are able to reduce energy consumption. If they can, they can be modelled in the software, recommended during a Green Deal Assessment, and added to the list of eligible measures.

 

  How to complain about Green Deal participants 

The Green Deal process brings customers into contact with a wide variety of individuals and organisations. The majority of customers will experience a smooth process from assessment through to installation and repayment. If, however, you need to complain at any point, the processes below take you through who to complain to and how to escalate complaints.

 

Complaining about a Green Deal assessor before you have signed up to a Green Deal plan

If you wish to complain about a certified Green Deal assessor and you have not yet signed up to a Green Deal plan then your first step is to complain directly to the assessor. If you are unable to contact the assessor within a reasonable time or you are unhappy with their response then you will need to contact the assessor’s certification body to escalate the complaint. Details of the assessor’s certification body can be found on page 5 of your Green Deal advice report. Contact details for all certification bodies can be found at the following website:

http://gdorb.decc.gov.uk/certification-body-search

If you are unable to find the correct certification body details or have not received your Green Deal advice report then please contact Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 for further assistance.

If you have followed the steps above and you are still unhappy with your Green Deal assessor contact Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06 who will advise on how to proceed with your complaint. 

 

Complaining about a Green Deal installer before you have signed up to a Green Deal plan

If you wish to complain about a certified Green Deal installer and you have not yet signed up to a Green Deal plan then your first step is to complain directly to the installer. If you are unable to contact the installer within a reasonable time or you are unhappy with their response then you will need to contact the installer’s certification body to escalate the complaint. Your installer can supply this. Contact details for all certification bodies can be found at the following website:

http://gdorb.decc.gov.uk/certification-body-search

If you do not know who the certification body is and you are unable to contact your installer please contact Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 and they will assist with your complaint.

If you have followed the steps above and you are still unhappy with your Green Deal installer contact Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06 who will advise on how to proceed with your complaint. 

 

Complaining about a Green Deal provider before you have signed up to a Green Deal plan

If you wish to complain about a certified Green Deal provider and you have not yet signed up to a Green Deal plan then your first step is to complain directly to the provider.

If you have spoken to them and they have not resolved things to your satisfaction you should put your complaint in writing to them. 

If you have followed the steps above and you are still unhappy with your Green Deal provider contact Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06 who will advise on how to proceed with your complaint. 

 

Complaining about a Green Deal accredited assessor, installer or provider when you have taken out a Green Deal Plan

In all cases you should approach the Green Deal provider in the first instance.  If you have spoken to them and they have not resolved things to your satisfaction you should put your complaint in writing to them. 

The provider must:

  • Acknowledge the complaint within 7 working days;
  • Provide their complaints handling procedure (or any other relevant complaints procedure);
  • Provide the details of the Ombudsman Service;
  • Use reasonable endeavors to investigate and resolve the complaint;
  • Notify of the decision within eight weeks;
  • In the event of a breach of the relevant requirements by an installer/assessor, notify the Certification Body.

If your provider has not resolved things within 8 weeks of receiving your written complaint, or if you have reached a deadlock with your Green Deal Provider before the 8 weeks have passed, you can escalate your complaint to the Green Deal Ombudsman. 

You can complain online at http://www.ombudsman-services.org/green-deal.html or call Ombudsman Services on 0330 440 1624.

 

Complaining about Home Energy Scotland

If you have a complaint about the service you have received from Home Energy Scotland please call Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 and ask to speak to a manager.

If you have still not managed to resolve your complaint please contact The Home Energy Scotland operations team, Energy Saving Trust, 2nd Floor, Ocean Point One, 94 Ocean Drive, Edinburgh, EH6 6JH or email scotlandoperations@est.org.uk.

 

Complaining about any other aspect of Green Deal

If you wish to complain about any other aspect of Green Deal please contact Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 for advice on how to proceed with your complaint.

 
 

FREE help and advice

For independent advice on how to save energy in your home, call HOME ENERGY SCOTLAND free on:

 

0808 808 2282