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Green deal advice to be made easier to understand says Government

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 5 December 2013 at 11:34 am

For anyone who has been baffled by the amount of technical information available on their green deal advice report, help may be at hand. The government has announced plans to make green deal advice reports clearer and easier to understand, and to contain more information about what support there is for homeowners wishing to proceed to installations.

While the details are yet to be announced, the move is part of government plans to ‘streamline’ the green deal, in an effort to improve take up of advice issued in the reports. Latest figures show that while 101,851 assessments have been carried out only 219 households have actually had installations made under a green deal plan with a further 954 in the pipeline.

The government blames the slow uptake of green deal plans on hard to understand reports, the time it takes for an essentially new market to get going and the fact that many people don’t yet fully understand what the green deal can do for them. Others suggest that while there are 107 registered green deal providers a far fewer number are actually ready to issue plans. 

Indeed, recent research from the Department of Energy and Climate Change shows that while uptake of green deal finance plans has been slow, around 50 per cent of those who have had a green deal assessment have gone ahead and had at least one recommended measure installed. This suggests that a large proportion of people are funding installations themselves, rather than taking out green deal plans. 

The review is also looking at the possibility of an online green deal assessment where people could proceed directly from assessment to installation, the announcement on Monday (December 2) said. If it happens, this will be a dramatic change to the green deal model, which has so far hinged upon a home visit from a green deal advisor. 

“We know through research that customers put a high value on the green deal assessment. But some do want to move straight from an online assessment to installation,” the announcement said. 

A DECC spokesman said the plans were still in their early stages but that for those "who really know what they want, and who are likely to look at funding some or all of the measures themselves, the online assessment will be a way of removing some of the bureaucracy surrounding the green deal".

Linn Rafferty, who runs the Green Deal Advisor Association, an umbrella group for green deal advisors, said: “It would be a great concern, for both green deal assessment organisations and for consumer protection, if there were any suggestion that customers might be able proceed within green deal without the need for an assessment by a green deal advisor.  That’s because the advisor’s visit is the only opportunity for impartial face to face advice to be given to the customer.”

Among the other measures the government is looking at are plans to speed up the process by which green deal providers are approved and to give them more support once they are. One way of doing this would be to make energy performance certificate data more accessible, so providers find it easier to target potential customers. Finally, the government is going to re-visit the ‘golden rule’ – the provision under the green deal whereby the cost of repaying your green deal loan is offset by the savings you should make on your energy bill.

Some changes are likely to come into effect from January 2014, with more refinements being rolled out as necessary changes to legislation progress through Parliament. 

More information

YouGen guide to the green deal

From the blog

How to choose a green deal advisor (August 2013)

How to read your green deal advice report (July 2013)

 

 

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