Take-up figures for the massive Birmingham Green Deal programme show just one in 680 homes signed up to a Green Deal plan
Fresh fears over take-up of the government’s flagship energy efficiency scheme have emerged after one of the country’s biggest Green Deal programmes in Birmingham revealed that just one in 680 assessments undertaken on homes has led to an actual Green Deal being taken out.
Carillion, which is running the £1.6bn Birmingham Energy Savers scheme, is the first Green Deal provider to reveal detailed numbers on Green Deal take-up.
It said it had signed just one Green Deal plan despite having conducted 680 assessments since the Green Deal launched in January this year.
Carillion said that said a further 95 people had had a Green Deal priced and of those 11 were in receipt of a Green Deal plan but had yet to sign it.
Even if all 95 go ahead with their plan, the conversion rate will be below 15%, massively short of the government’s estimate that one in three people asking for a Green Deal assessment would go through with a Green Deal.
The news comes ahead of the first official figures on national Green Deal take-up, due to be released on Thursday (27 June). The Department of Energy and Climate Change would not comment on the figures, but it is understood that the number of Green Deals in place across the country are likely to be in the low hundreds.
Luciana Berger, labour’s shadow climate change, said consumers were put off by the scheme’s “sky high interest rates, penalty payments and hidden charges”.
She said: “Ministers said that more than 10,000 households would sign up to the Green Deal this year – but it looks like people in Birmingham are saying ‘no deal’.
“Ministers urgently need to get a grip and ensure the Green Deal is a good deal for the public.”
Sustainability expert David Strong, said it was “deeply concerning” if a very competent and experienced provider like Carillion was finding it difficult to sell Green Deal plans to consumers.
He said offering free assessments, as some providers currently are, at this low a conversion rate would be “inconceivable” and “no company could afford it”.
This month pioneer Green Deal firm Enact Energy fell into administration, in part due to delays in the implementation in the Green Deal which, combined with the end of previous government insulation programmes, caused a drop-off in energy efficiency work.
“The concerns are that even more companies will go into liquidation or pull out of offering the Green Deal,” Strong said.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said the Green Deal was still in its early development. She said: “It is important to remember that a Green Deal finance plan is only one option for people to pay for energy saving home improvements. For some it will be the best option, but others may choose to pay in a different way.”
Delays to Green Deals for rental sector
Green Deal plans for rental sector may not be available until the end of the year according to the chief executive of the Green Deal finance company.
Speaking to Building Mark Bayley, chief executive of the Green Deal Finance Company, said there were difficulties working out the interaction of the Green Deal regulations and rules on consumer credit.
The industry had hoped the framework for Green Deals for the rental sector would have been in place soon after the launch of the programme in January.
Bayley said: “The issue is that there has to be absolute clarity who is the debtor under the Consumer Credit Act.”
He said this currently wasn’t always the case when landlords were doing work to their properties.
He said there may need to be changes to the regulation of consumer credit by government.
The GDFC will also finally publish generic Green Deal plans for use by providers on 30 June.