Loyalty card scheme aims to boost take up of energy saving measures
Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 October 2012 at 9:14 am
Loyalty cards have been around for ages. Most airlines and supermarkets have them. But so far, they haven't played much of a part in the energy market. This is all set to change with the launch of the National Energy Card which will be piloted with solar PV, and is due to start in November this year.
Just like at the supermarket, cardholders will earn points when they buy a solar PV system or other energy efficiency products and services from partner companies. But the National Energy Card will offer a much wider range of benefits than that.
Access to finance is one of the biggest barriers to investment in renewable energy systems for both homeowners and businesses. The National Energy Card has raised £250 million for loans to both homeowners and businesses based on the security of the feed-in tariff payments. Chief executive Reza Shaybani assures me the loans will be flexible enough to allow people to pay them off if they want, without any penalties.
Finding a good installer of renewable energy is another challenge that people investing in renewable energy face. MCS is a minimum standard that all installers must achieve, but it doesn't guarantee that you'll get the best advice, or that their customer service will be up to scratch. Reza Shaybani is setting the bar high for installers to become partners of the Card. "Money can't buy entry," he says. "They must meet the quality standards."
He declined to reveal what the quality standards are to me. However, he did say that they are "so tough, I'll be shocked if we get to 50 by next April".
Other benefits of the scheme include: discounts, extended warranties and insurance on solar PV systems, points when buying energy saving products from scheme partners which can be redeemed against future energy saving purchases and confidence in a high quality job and a competitive price. Membership will be free to domestic consumers, and cost £10 a year for businesses. This will be paid to the Power Africa project for funding the installation of renewable technologies in Africa. The donations will be matched pound for pound by the government of the African countries who benefit.
The National Energy Scheme will also include a savings programme where savers will also earn points and a better rate of interest than the banks are offering.
The scheme will go live in November, by which time it aims to have 10 manufacturers, five distributors and 25 installers on board. It will have a full launch in April 2013 with a national TV advertising campaign. As it grows it will expand from solar PV to cover a wide spectrum of renewable energy, energy efficiency and electrical vehicles.Cathy Debenham
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