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'UK's poorest failed by government's carbon reduction scheme'

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'UK's poorest failed by government's carbon reduction scheme'

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Environment and also in Central Government, Housing

British Gas repairs more than 100,000 boilers during big freeze British Gas repairs more than 100,000 boilers during big freeze

Some of the UK’s poorest households are being failed by the government’s energy companies obligation scheme, an organisation has claimed.

Under the ECO - the grant-funded element of the green deal - the 'Big Six' energy suppliers are expected to invest around £1 billion a year to provide almost 250,000 low income homes with free A-rated boilers and insulation.

However, according to Futureproof - a national network launched last year to help people take advantage of the ECO - thousands of boiler instalments are being delayed because of the lack of a robust system to administer the process.

Futureproof says that gas heating engineers are also being hit, with many going unpaid by approved green deal providers for jobs they have completed, or are finding forms they have submitted for potential boiler replacements rejected.

Adam Mitchell, a director of Futureproof, has called on the government to urgently review the way ECO is being implemented, listed a number of key issues that need to be addressed, including:

  • Lack of one overarching Ofgem-approved system for capturing and administering consumer enquiries – different methods are currently used, online and paper-based.
  • Lack of structure allowing green deal providers to dictate terms to installers offering no guarantee of payment.
  • Too much collected documentation being rejected by providers because it does not comply with requirements.
  • Technical surveys at people’s homes being carried out by sales people when they should be carried out only by gas safe registered engineers.
  • Door-to-door sales people damaging the ECO by making false promises to consumers, leaving thousands of people without heating.
  • Energy companies driving down costs making the system unworkable.
  • Lack of quality control and regulation leading to many installers losing their jobs because of the failure of the ECO to deliver as promised.

Mr Mitchell said: “ECO is simply not working in its current format and is failing consumers and installers. The scheme is supposed to be helping some of our poorest households keep warm and become more energy efficient, while creating significant amounts of work for installers across the UK.

“While the scheme is working for some, it is clearly not working for the majority and will continue to be a dog’s breakfast until proper processes and systems are put in place.

“Futureproof has developed a robust system which could provide the solution, a totally joined up and transparent system that would work for installers, providers, energy companies and, most importantly of all, consumers.”

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