SmartestEnergy has called for safeguards to be put in place to protect consumers and smaller suppliers when the new Green Deal energy efficiency initiative is launched later this year.
In its response to the Government’s Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation consultation which closes today (WED), SmartestEnergy raises concerns over the independence of the assessors who will carry out energy efficiency reports on properties.
The company argues that assessors should be completely separate from providers, installers and suppliers involved in the scheme.
“According to the Government’s consultation document, some potential Green Deal providers are already indicating they are likely to offer assessments with no upfront cost as a way to engage with consumers,” pointed out Colin Prestwich, SmartestEnergy’s Head of Regulation.
“We are very concerned that providers will not be able to resist the opportunity for cross-selling or marketing of other products.
“That would disadvantage smaller energy suppliers who are less likely to be involved in the Green Deal scheme.”
The company is also concerned that unless assessors are independent they may not make it clear to consumers that they can choose where to go for quotes for finance and installation of energy efficiency measures.
SmartestEnergy also warns that the proposed annual administration fee of £3 per Green Deal plan to be paid to electricity suppliers by providers – regardless of the number of customers involved – will disadvantage smaller companies in the market.
“The costs involved in changing billing systems to accommodate Green Deal would be considerable but smaller suppliers may pick up only a handful of customers taking part in the scheme. The expense involved would be prohibitive for them and bad for competition,” said Prestwich.
Although SmartestEnergy broadly supports the overall aims of Green Deal, the company also believes business consumers should not be included.
The company argues that businesses will choose to access cheaper forms of finance than will be available via Green Deal but that their inclusion will place unnecessary administrative burdens on energy suppliers.
Read more at www.smartestenergy.com/greendeal