Consumers

The Big Green Government Deal

The Green Deal has been something of a hot topic in recent weeks, with organisations such as the BBC and The Sunday Times running a number of articles on its benefits and drawbacks. Various debates have arisen as a result of this around the scale of uptake and the consequences this new government initiative will have on the energy industry.

Utilities companies are now bound over the next couple of years to insulate a certain amount of properties. The extent of this is dependent on the value of the company – for example, British Gas has to invest more in internal and external wall insulation than EDF.

At Truth our work often leads us to consider/reflect with consumers on how they feel about their homes, so we’ll be interested to see how this initiative pans out in light of what has been published in the last couple of weeks. From what we know so far, it seems that many customers are apathetic about making this long term investment to insulate their homes. Even the chance to save money on their energy bills is met with apprehension, as they may not notice this saving immediately.

Currently, customers can receive grants from utility companies for the upfront costs of wall insulation (with some being as large as £10,000). Essentially, these offer customers a line of credit which they repay through their energy bill over a period ranging from 10 to 25 years. What remains uncertain, though, from a consumer perspective, is how great the savings on energy bills will be after insulation, and how long it will take to reduce the amount of energy they use. Below are some further links on the Green Deal initiative describing how customers can be swayed by the ‘buy now, pay later’ attitude:

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/business/money/Consumer/article1206092.ece

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2013/jan/28/green-deal-home-improvement

The DECC has given evidence that loft and cavity wall insulations are expected to fall from 800,000 in 2012, to approximately 110,000 per annum under the new Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and Green Deal landscape. The figures, released under DECC’s Green Deal impact assessment this week, represent a fall of over 86% and could have a devastating impact on the loft and cavity wall insulation market.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-green-deal-and-energy-company-obligation

For millions of homes, solid wall insulation is considered the best option to retain warmth and save on energy bills in the long term, but it is expensive, intrusive and can look ugly; will the consumer buy into the technology as the government hopes?