British Gas launches green deal forerunner

British Gas launches green deal forerunner

British Gas has launched its version of the government’s green deal home energy efficiency scheme.

The ‘home energy plan’ will operate in a similar way to the green deal, which is due to launch in the autumn of 2012.

Households will be able to get measures to improve the efficiency of their home without paying for the up front costs. They will then repay the money over time using savings in fuel bills.

Under the British Gas scheme, customers will make payments over five, 10 or 15 years at a fixed interest rate of 6.9 per cent. They will be able to choose a finance plan that keeps repayments below the fuel savings, so there is a financial benefit from day one.

The technologies covered by the scheme range from passive measures such as increased insulation to efficient forms of heat and electricity generation such as solar panels and ground source heat pumps.

John Kimber, managing director of British Gas New Energy, said: ‘Britain’s housing stock is some of the most inefficient in the developed world with £1 in every £4 spent on heating our homes wasted because of poor insulation.

‘Under our offer, customers can improve their homes and save money by cutting bills – all at no upfront cost.’

Unlike the green deal, the British Gas scheme is only open to homeowners and to its customers.

The green deal is likely to allow repayments over a longer time frame, interest rates have not yet been set out. It is being targeted at social landlords as well as homeowners.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change released a paper earlier this month on the measures that would be covered, but said these will vary according to the type of property.

Darren Shirley, campaign manager for sustainable homes at WWF UK, said the 6.9 per cent interest rate charged by British Gas would be too high for the green deal.

Research published last year by the Great British Refub campaign suggested only 7 per cent of the public would be ‘likely’ or ‘fairly likely’ to take advantage of the green deal if interest rates were set at 6 per cent.