Utility Week

Uberflip 15 11 13

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Customers Provisional number of ECO measures installed, by obligation, at end of each month 250,000 Affordable warmth (HHCRO) 225,000 Number of investments Eco measures installed in August Carbon Saving Community (CSCO) 200,000 49,964 Carbon Saving Target (CSO) 175,000 Total 150,000 125,000 100,000 244,882 75,000 50,000 25,000 0 January February March April May June July August measures installed under Eco up to the end of August Jan Feb Mar two homeowners – who are in very different circumstances – look forward to warmer homes this winter, and lower energy bills. I head off into central London for lunch with Alex Tsimboykas, a director with EUM Consultants, to get his views on Eco and the difficulties his surveyors have had in finding eligible households – and in keeping the costs of the scheme down. The cost of the scheme and how it is paid for is a hot topic after the prime minister's pledge to "roll back" green and social levies, and the subsequent announcement of a review into them. Tsimboykas tells me: "How it's paid for is not the issue, personally. "You can keep it on the bill, you don't need to tax for it. You could drive the cost down and deliver it in a more cost effective way by less restrictive criteria, by taking things out of the process – like RDSap [the computer system used to calculate the EPC]." He adds that getting an EPC per household costs £50, and it is not necessary. "There might be only 4,000 measures fitted in a week, but I bet there's about 30,000 surveys done. All of that cost gets put on to bills." Apr May Jun Jul Aug Tsimboykas says the criteria for Eco should be relaxed, allowing more insulation measures to be included – such as standard cavity wall insulation rather than just hardto-treat cavities. This would not only "drag the cost down" but would also allow more people to benefit. "You can do it en masse if you lift the criteria – it's an easy fix. "You need to extend it slightly, because there are energy saving light bulbs and draft proofing – there are loads of measures you can do under Eco that a lot of people don't do. You should do a full energy survey of that house." Tsimboykas's mantra is simple: "If it has got a cavity, fill it." He tells me this is a "dead simple solution" to solving the problem of meeting Eco targets and helping insulate Britain's homes. "Everybody is paying for it. I'm paying for it, you're paying for it – everybody is going to pay for it, so everybody should be able to benefit from it." Repeating his mantra – not for the first or last time – he adds: "I think you have to help the poorer people – you have to. "I think there should be a ratio in there of Auction 19 Auction 18 Auction 17 Auction 16 Auction 15 Auction 14 Auction 13 Auction 12 Auction 11 Auction 10 Auction 9 Auction 8 Auction 7 Auction 6 Auction 5 Auction 4 Auction 3 215,705 Auction 2 £30m £25m £20m £15m £10m £5m £0m Auction 1 Value of contract Value of eco brokerage contracts let, by auction properties benefited from one or more Eco measures being installed up to the end of August 2013 Sep what they can submit. If you're going to give them a target, don't give them a target of how many hard to treat. "It's a really easy fix and you can target the right people." Tsimboykas points out that Npower has only had about 50 enquiries through its own system because householders "don't know if their walls need doing", but he says a "simple extension" to Eco is not the answer – "because if you don't change the criteria you'll still be doing this in 10 years' time". Just before the end of our chat, Tsimboykas tells me one final thing – that he has invited the energy secretary Ed Davey, climate change minister Greg Barker, and the shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint to join some of his Eco surveyors. "They will then be able to see what it is really like – and then hopefully use that experience to make a real difference." He says that having one of the leading political figures having to turn down a household for insulation under Eco because they do not quite meet the eligibility criteria would "open their eyes". Then – one last time – he repeats the commandment: "If there is a cavity, fill it." UTILITY WEEK | 15th - 21st November 2013 | 27

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