How to find a Green Deal provider and what to look out for when you hire one.
The cornerstone of the Green Deal is how it is paid for, with upfront costs covered whilst the loan is paid back over time in energy bills, the idea being that the costs will be covered in energy bill savings.
But who actually pays for these upgrades, who undertakes the work? That's where the actual Green Deal providers come in. But where can you find Green Deal providers, what process do you have to follow, and what sort of work should they do?
Green Deal providers
As with any industry you should first and foremost make sure that whoever you are dealing with is qualified to do the work. Green Deal providers have to be authorised and must carry the Green Deal Quality Mark.
A Green Deal provider will quote for the energy-efficiency improvements your Green Deal assessor has recommended and provide the finance.
Once you choose a Green Deal provider you will need to sign a Green Deal plan, this is the loan contract between you and the provider. The provider will then arrange for the improvements to be carried out.
What is a Green Deal provider?
A Green Deal provider is an organisation that has been authorised to provide finance under the Green Deal. Once you have had a Green Deal assessment carried out you can contact Green Deal providers to get some quotes.
Green Deal providers must carry the Green Deal Quality Mark, which shows they meet the Green Deal standards.
A list of Green Deal Providers can be found on the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) website.
What should a Green Deal provider do?
A Green Deal Provider should quote for the energy-efficiency improvements that have been recommended by your Green Deal assessor.
A provider also should discuss the Green Deal plan with you and explain how it works to help you decide whether it is right for you.
Once you have chosen a provider they will draw up a Green Deal plan. This document is the contract between you and the provider and should include the total cost of the improvements, the term of the loan, the interest rate and your schedule of monthly repayments, as well as any other terms and conditions that apply to the financing, such as early repayment charges.
When you have signed the Green Deal plan the provider will arrange for a Green Deal installer to carry out the energy-efficiency improvements.
How do you find a Green Deal provider?
Your Green Deal assessor may be able to recommend a Green Deal provider to you, but even if this is the case, it makes sense to get quotes from a number of different providers.
A full list of providers is on the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) website. Alternatively the Energy Saving Advice Service can help you find a provider, call 0300 123 1234.
What do I need to look out for in a Green Deal provider?
A Green Deal provider should carry the Green Deal Quality Mark. This means they meet Green Deal standards and are authorised to work under the Green Deal.
If a Green Deal assessor recommends a particular provider then you need to check what their arrangement is. For instance, a ‘free’ assessment may be linked to you choosing the recommended provider, and you may be charged for the assessment if you choose a different provider.
Not all providers offer all types of products, so you need to find one that matches your requirements.
When you are weighing up your options check the small print. Make sure you are clear about the terms and conditions of the finance deal that is being offered and that you are comparing like with like.
Pay particular attention to any early repayment charges and whether this may affect you in the future, for instance if you sell your home and a prospective buyer is unwilling to take on the debt.
What can I do if I’m not happy with my Green Deal provider?
The first thing you should do if you’re not happy with your provider is to go back to them directly. Green Deal providers must adhere to the Green Deal code of practice, which gives you additional consumer protections if something goes wrong.
If you are still not happy and don’t feel the matter has been resolved, then you should contact the Green Deal Ombudsman.
Can I undertake energy-saving upgrades by myself?
Yes, there's nothing to stop you improving the energy-efficiency of your home on your own without the Green Deal. The Green Deal is simply there to help you pay for it.
Certain measures like loft insulation and, even more so, draught-proofing, can be easily accomplished by yourself and are relatively cheap to install. Just do a bit of research and be prepared to get your hands dirty.
Bigger and more-extensive energy-efficiency measures though, like wall insulation or solar panels, cost a lot of money and require you to call in the experts. That means the financial support of the Green Deal could come in handy.
Depending on where you live and what type of home you have some solar panel providers may even provide you with solar pv for free. This is thanks to the Feed-in Tariff scheme, whereby you forego any potential earnings from your panels in return for free energy.
However some most more extensive upgrades like wall insulation and traditional paid solar panels cost a lot of money, making the Green Deal a very useful option to have.