Energy leaders highlight boiler replacement industry as sector that might see cuts due to uncertainty about the government’s flagship energy efficiency scheme
The bosses of energy firms have warned there may be further job losses in the Green Deal supply chain if they do not get clarity from government on what work they will be able to include as part of the Energy Companies Obligation scheme.
Under the Green Deal’s sister scheme, the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO), the big energy firms have to meet targets for reducing carbon by improving the energy efficiency of buildings.
However, following an announcement last December the scheme is currently undergoing a raft of cuts and changes which, the energy firms say, has left them unable to plan a flow of work.
Among these are changes to what type of measures they can install and count against their targets after 2015.
Giving evidence to the Energy and Climate Change Committee of the House of Commons alongside bosses from Scottish Power and British Gas, Simon Stacey, managing director of energy services at Npower, said: “What we are all saying is that there are potential for job losses in the boiler replacement market unless we get clarity about what we can carry forward [after 2015].”
But he added that there were “some opportunities” for firms in the energy efficiency market that were opened up by the planned changes.
The boiler replacement sector has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the ECO with replacement boilers accounting for 31% of of the energy efficiency measures under the scheme, to the end of February.
Gillian Noble, head of UK government obligations at Scottish Power, added: “The changes that have been brought in around the lower cost measures should enable a number of those companies that are clearly looking at the future in terms of what it means within their business to come into the market.”
The bosses said they wanted to see a greater level of flexibility for customer to disregard the scheme’s golden rule – which guarantees the cost of an energy efficiency package will be less than the savings it provides – and a national marketing campaign to reinvigorate the Green Deal.
Claire Williams, managing director of British Gas New Energy, quoted figures from the firm’s own market research which showed while 43% of consumers were aware of the Green Deal only 17% would consider having one and only 9% would have an assessment.