Guest Blog: Alex Tsimboykas says green is no longer DECC's favourite colour

It’s been a week now since DECC’s announcement addressing the green taxes and although there were not too many surprises, we can already see the policy starting to take shape. […]

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By Sumit Bose

It’s been a week now since DECC’s announcement addressing the green taxes and although there were not too many surprises, we can already see the policy starting to take shape.

The Autumn Statement confirmed a delay in ECO targets, a Green Deal review, as well as the vote winning ‘gimmick’ of a £50 energy bill saving through the ‘rolling back’ of green taxes.

There were some positive proposed changes too, including the acknowledgment that fraud has been recognised as an issue to be addressed, as well as some widening of the ECO criteria to allow more properties to access the scheme.

Dare I tempt fate and say it’s seems that Government are now listening? I think the reason is clear….

Let’s be honest, time for a reality check, ECO and the Green Deal have not worked!

In 2013 the Government has seen Green Deal and ECO targets missed by a country mile, the industry has seen 25,000 jobs lost in the energy efficiency sector and the whole supply chain, end to end, has experienced the spiralling costs of red tape. More importantly though, the ECO scheme itself is on track to miss 80% of fuel poor people – the very people it set out to help.

To do nothing to try and fix these obvious flaws is simply a non-starter for Government, especially as we have now entered the ‘fun and games’ of voting season. So what did they announce last week?

A two year delay in ECO targets.

A Government funded energy bill rebate of £12 for two years, as well as a £5 bill reduction by Energy Suppliers due to network cost changes.

The ECO Criteria is set to widen to include normal wall and loft cavities that aren’t deemed hard to treat.

A standardised process within ECO will be introduced to aid the eradication of fraud.

A full consultation is expected in January 2014, with the full changes coming into effect in April. Are these changes enough?…Are they heck!

Working on the front line of the Energy Company Obligation we at  EUM have lobbied DECC and Ofgem hard for six key changes to the scheme and I’m pleased to see that two of the changes were included in DECCs announcement.

Two out of six ain’t bad but we cannot afford to become complacent.

There is still a bonkers amount of unnecessary, costly red tape within the scheme that has been missed off the proposals. So, whilst these steps forward are positive, we still need to focus on getting the ECO scheme right through cutting the red tape, removing pointless and costly processes and expanding the scheme criteria further.

Alex Tsimboykas is Director of EUM Consultants Ltd