Fewer than 200 homes have signed up for Green Deal energy loans, it has been revealed, indicating that many people are missing out the benefits of the government’s flagship scheme.
The BBC reports that while almost 19,000 homes have so far been assessed for the measure, very few householders have actually gone ahead and taken out the loans.
The Green Deal
Launched back in January, the Green Deal offers long-term loans, allowing homeowners to make energy efficient improvements to their home, thereby lowering their bills.
Homeowners can spend the funding on energy-saving measures such as newer, more efficient boilers or insulation, and then pay the money back over a maximum of 25 years. The payments are made through their energy bill.
However, the new figures uncovered by BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme indicates that not many people have yet benefitted from the innovative scheme. This is despite energy minister Greg Barker saying he hoped to have 10,000 signed up by the end of the year.
Low take-up explained
This low take-up could partially be explained by the fact that although the policy officially launched in January, there have been some delays when it came to setting up the funding to allow installation work to be carried out.
According to Paula Owen, independent consultant in the energy sector, there is a complex rule meaning that the loan is attached to the property, not the homeowner. As such, some people were at first slightly wary of signing up due to the worry that it could affect their ability to sell their houses in the future.
Owen commented of this worry: “I think not, but some areas of the housing industry are putting that fear into people’s minds, too.”
She suggested that the government should do more to ensure the Green Deal is “communicated properly to the public”.
The government has contended that the Green Deal is a long-term policy, and households will have plenty of time to take up the deal.
A spokesman for the Department for Energy and Climate Change commented: “The Green Deal is an ambitious 20-year programme designed to deliver home improvement in Great Britain on an unprecedented scale. It’s only just getting started.
“Official numbers on installations will be available at the end of June. However, the early signs are encouraging, with over 18,000 assessments carried out before the end of April and the supply chain building steadily.”
How to make the most of the Green Deal
People interested in making the most of the opportunities offered by the Green Deal first need to get an assessment of their property – this will tell them what improvements can be made as well as how much could be saved on energy bills by doing so.
The second step is to choose a Green Deal provider to carry out the work. They then have a conversation about what work they want done, as well as whether the Green Deal is right for them.
If the homeowner decides to go ahead with the improvements they need to sign the Green Deal plan, which sets out what work will be done and how much it will cost. The provider will then contact a Green Deal installer to carry out the work.
Once all the work is complete, the money will be paid off through instalments through the individual’s electricity bill.