Government scraps plans for life time warranties on every Green Deal measure

Climate change minister Greg Barker has announced changes to the way warranties for work undertaken through the Green Deal will be imposed.

Speaking at the Ecobuild conference today, Barker said the government had decided not to require lifetime warranties on every measure undertaken through the government’s flagship energy efficiency scheme as this would increase costs for some measures, such as boilers.

Instead, he said the government would limit lengths of Green Deals to estimated measure lifetimes and set minimum standards.

Under the changes Green Deal providers would be required to utilise appropriate existing market schemes and where they were not available, the government would mandate “robust minimum standards”, he said.

Barker said: “We have … changed the warranties proposal, removing the requirement to hold warranties for the length of the plan. We are still proposing to include robust minimum standards.

“Use of existing schemes where appropriate will mean that consumers will receive as much protection as is available. Where schemes don’t exist, our proposal to include a 5 year product warranty plus ten years of consequential building damage cover go further than the current industry norm.

“The minimum requirements we are putting in place means the warranty will be of real value to the consumer.”

The announcement came amid a wide-ranging speech at the Ecobuild conference in which Barker also said the government would ease other measures, including the need for Green Deal providers to have a surety bond in place prior to authorisation.

He said the government would also deal with complaints around the Green Deal centrally by procuring a Green Deal Ombudsman rather than require providers to have individual complaints services.

Barker also confirmed that full details on the operation of the £200m Green Deal incentive scheme designed to boost consumer take-up will not be revealed until later in the year.

He said: “The Chancellor announced a £200m injection of government funding to provide a time limited introductory offer. It demonstrates that we are serious about hitting the ground running. We will lay out the details of how this will be used as we get closer to the launch of the Green Deal.”

The move comes amid growing concerns about the government’s plans for a “soft launch” of the Green Deal scheme, which is scheduled to be operational from October.

As Building revealed this month, the six major energy firms - EDF, Scottish Power, Southern Energy, Npower, E.ON and British Gas - have told ministers they will not be ready to deliver the payment mechanism for the Green Deal until “first quarter 2013”.

A well-placed industry source said the energy firms were pressing ministers to delay the October launch as they feared that, unless all the elements of the scheme were in place, the Green Deal could be undermined from the outset.

In his speech today Barker said the Green Deal would launch in the “autumn” and said the government was aiming for “controlled growth”.