Streamlining and improving the Green Deal

Changes to make the Green Deal more straightforward for families who want to improve their homes and benefit from lower bills.

The Green Deal, which is designed to work alongside the Energy Company Obligation to make Britain’s homes more energy efficient, will be streamlined and improved to boost take up of energy efficiency measures.

The changes are designed to make the Green Deal more straightforward and less time-consuming for families who want to improve their homes and benefit from lower bills in future

The Green Deal is an initiative for the long term. And these are early days. It will need to adapt as the energy services market develops, and as consumer attitudes to energy efficiency change. We are talking to industry about their early experiences over the last ten months, and researching how consumers are finding the Green Deal.

There are also opportunities to cut costs for the supply chain, while still ensuring that consumers are properly protected and can rely on work done under the Green Deal Quality Mark.

So the market is already seeing simpler documentation available from the Green Deal Finance Company (GDFC), for example. And by speeding up the processes through which Green Deal Providers are approved, then giving those companies more support once they are approved, we will help them to become active quickly, giving consumers more choice in future.

Starting from January and then over the following months:

We will make Green Deal easier for consumers by:

  • Introducing a new on-line tool that will give consumers straightforward advice on the steps they can take to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, and how they can get help.
  • Improving the Green Deal Advice Report that gives householders important information on what an assessment is telling them. The Report will be clearer and easier to understand, and better signpost the range of Government support available.
  • Giving consumers better signposting to the companies that can provide the services they want, both through the Energy Saving Advice Service and the GOV.UK website.

We will make Green Deal easier for the companies operating in the market by:

  • Opening up access to Energy Performance Certificate data, so that companies can more easily identify properties which will benefit most from energy efficiency improvements.
  • Adding more measures to the list of those that can be supported under the Green Deal, and allowing more flexibility over the exact specification to which companies install.
  • Working with industry to find ways to reduce the cost of insurance requirements attached to Green Deal measures.

We will work with the Green Deal Finance Company to make sure the finance offer gives customers what they need by:

  • Ensuring customers can, if they choose, move from quote to a Green Deal Plan in a single day. We know that the need for different people to make separate visits to homes is unpopular with customers and companies alike.
  • Seeking Parliament’s approval to change legislation to make it clearer that landlords and tenants can benefit from the Green Deal and encouraging industry to offer finance in the rented sector.
  • Working towards increasing the range and availability of “top up loans” that customers can put alongside Green Deal finance if they wish.

Some of these practical changes will happen in January. Others are planned in the first half of 2014 as we seek Parliamentary approval to amendments to legislation and work with industry to change the systems through which Green Deal operates.

There are more improvements to come. By working with industry and listening to consumers, we will:

  • Liaise closely with the energy suppliers and GDFC to ensure that the Green Deal can work better in combination with the Energy Company Obligation. There are circumstances where customers should be able to get a subsidy alongside a Green Deal loan and have the ability to make repayments through their energy bill. We want more companies to offer a “blend” of these products, to ensure that customers get the best possible deal.
  • Look at how the “golden rule” controls what can be borrowed under the Green Deal – and consider what adjustments make sense for consumers.
  • Work with industry to see how we can minimise the number of visits to a home for assessments, work and inspections. We know through research that customers put a high value on the Green Deal assessment. But some do want to move straight from an on-line assessment to installation. We will look at ways to make that possible.
  • Work with companies to ensure they give customers the best possible support throughout the Green Deal process, right from the initial expression of interest through to care after installation.
  • Make sure that consumers get clear, joined up information about the different Government schemes (including the Green Deal, renewable heat and feed-in tariffs) and how they can be used to make their homes warmer and more efficient at lower cost.

We will keep the customer journey under review, and are open to views and ideas about how to make it more streamlined for all involved in the Green Deal.