Utility Week

Uberflip 15 11 13

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

Issue link: https://fhpublishing.uberflip.com/i/209844

Contents of this Issue


Page 25 of 31

Customers Analysis Is Eco hitting a brick wall? Eco is supposed to help those most in need, but progress is slow and costs are rising. Mathew Beech joined some Eco surveyors to get first-hand experience of the problems they encounter. T he Energy Company Obligation (Eco) aims to insulate Britain's leaky and inefficient housing stock and help reduce the UK's carbon emissions. Householders will benefit from warmer homes and cheaper bills because of the scheme, which the government estimates will cost energy suppliers £1.3 billion a year – although the suppliers themselves say the scheme could cost double this. One of the reasons for this is the inefficient delivery of the scheme, coupled with the limited number of measures and the "overly prescriptive" criteria on what energy efficiency measures can be installed. Utility Week joined Safa Kafali and Darren Murphy, Eco surveyors for EUM Consultants, which is helping Npower to meet its Eco goals, on two prearranged surveys. On a normal day, Kafali says, they would be door-stepping households they thought may be eligible for insulation in hard-to-treat cavities, as well as additional loft insulation. "What we do is we do our research by going onto PrimeLocation.com," says Kafali. "You put in the information and the types of houses come up. We tend to travel all the way to Twickenham, Richmond and Surrey. "We do a lot of travelling because we have to go to those areas, so we're spending hours and hours a day burning fuel. So it's a Catch 22 situation it terms of saving carbon." He adds that "80 per cent of our time is spent trying to find people who are eligible" for Eco, and in a typical day he and Murphy will knock on up to 30 doors but only be able to survey one or two houses. Today, the groundwork has already been done so we can see the pair in action. We arrive at the first property, a semidetached house close to Woodford Cross tube station, and I'm slightly surprised that the property is eligible for Eco because it looks rather too affluent. I was expecting something more down at heel. There is a two-storey extension to the side of the property, as well as a small, single level extension at the front, and a conservatory at the rear. Kafali says: "What you'll find is people have some money and they've spent it on their property and now they qualify, whereas someone who lives in a mid-terrace property and in fuel poverty potentially, they haven't got anything that will qualify them as hard to treat." Murphy is preparing to start drilling into the walls so he can examine the cavities and Provisional number of measures installed under eco, by measure type, by obligation, up to end of august 90,000 Affordable warmth (HHCRO) Number of measures installed 80,000 Carbon Saving Community (CSCO) 70,000 Carbon Saving Target (CSO) 60,000 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 0 Loft Cavity wall insulation insulation Boilers 26 | 15th - 21st November 2013 | UTILITY WEEK Solid wall insulation Other heating Other insulation Window glazing ascertain whether the house qualifies for Eco-funded insulation. He says: "With the way it's set up at the moment, most of the jobs we do go to wealthy people. "It's really strange the way it's set up." Once the drilling is completed, Murphy uses a borescope and a photo of the hollow cavity logged into his GPS-tracked iPad as evidence that they house is eligible for help under Eco. After filling the hole that was drilled into the external wall, he asks the homeowner if the property has loft insulation, and on being told it has not, he checks the attic and once again – via the camera on his iPad – records the fact. With the first house done, Kafali and Murphy book a follow-up appointment with the homeowner for a domestic energy assessor (DEA) to visit to property and give it an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), something the pair think is an unnecessary step that adds cost and slows the process down. Murphy says EUM Consultants is planning to restructure its work teams so that a DEA will go out with each pair of Eco surveyors. This will "make things a lot smoother for the customer because it's one less visit." We then leave the first house and head to the second property a 10-minute drive away. We pull up outside the mid-terrace house, which belongs to an elderly lady, whose daughter is there to ensure everything runs smoothly. Kafali explains what Eco is to the daughter, and why she will be eligible for insulation – both in the loft and in her cavity walls. The daughter tells us all that her mother really wants the insulation to keep her energy bills down, and to help keep the house warmer, especially as her bills have gone us recently. With the surveying process complete, we all leave the house with the homeowner happy and looking forward to a warmer house in a few weeks when the installers fill the walls. Murphy and Kafali head off to try and find some more eligible households, but they are both content that they have been able to help

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Utility Week - Uberflip 15 11 13