The full up and running version of the Green Deal has been here for almost a year. You might be forgiven for finding it hard to tell just when it was officially live and when it was not quite in the land of the living. Indeed some would say it’s even now little more than a ghostly presence trying to get noticed by the general public who just tend to walk right through it, oblivious to its very existence.
The Green Deal Ghost however, is certainly haunting the political arena. Greg Barker said that if there were not 10,000 green deal plans by the end of 2013 he would be having sleepless nights. Figures just released show that at the end of December there have been just 1,612. Oops. Buy that man some extra pillows to hide under and a glow in the dark map to the The Land of Nod.
Impact on fuel bills
Back in the waking world, the recent activity by The Opposition has pushed the cost of fuel bills right up the political agenda, so to speak. If only the Green Deal had assumed corporeal form and was knocking on the doors of a welcoming public to make a difference to energy efficiency it would make life so much easier for Sleepless Greg.
And the blame goes to…
The Green Deal is a flagship policy of The Coalition (expect the parties to be pointing the finger of blame at each other come election time if matters don’t improve) and therefore gets all the bad press. Actually, it’s not really that fair to blame the Ghostly Green Deal for all the problems with the vast reduction in insulation measures installed in 2013. The Green Deal was only ever a new way to encourage energy efficiency take up in existing homes using an innovative finance mechanism. It’s trying to create a new market not replacing something that already exists.
The real issue has been with a lesser known policy called ECO, the Energy Company Obligation. This has crawled from the grave of the old CERT obligation and been tasked with ensuring that The Big 6 install carbon reduction measures and continue to provide assistance for vulnerable households and the Fuel Poor. So, what about ECO’s performance? Sadly, so far, very so so. It didn’t help when ECO was linked to adding to the cost of fuel bills by Government (even though it is actually doing quite the reverse in the long term) and tagged, allegedly, as ‘green crap’ by none other than the PM himself.
No one likes being called names and ECO has also, due to political pressure, been kicked into a different shape as a short term fix to cut fuel bills now and worry about the long term effect on energy efficiency after election time.
So it’s quite a tough existence if you are an energy efficiency policy. Either wandering around trying to get noticed, or getting kicked and called names because your predecessor was so much better than you.
The real picture of course is that while all this political manoeuvring goes on, the steps that should be taken now to reduce bills, help the Fuel Poor, lower carbon emissions and reduce global warming are not happening with the urgency they deserve.
That should be enough to give many politicians of all parties a haunted look and many sleepless nights.
For more information on Green Deal, take a look at our blog posts.