Utility Week

UTILITY Week 20th June 2014

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12 | 20th - 26th June 2014 | utILItY WeeK Special report Analysis I t is 2011, and the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (Cert) and Community Energy Saving Programme (Cesp) are aiming to tackle the horrible state of the UK housing stock. Energy is being wasted across the board as people living in Britain's poorly insulated properties suffer a chilling experi- ence every time the mercury drops. With fewer than two years to go before Cert and Cesp disappear into the abyss, the government is plotting what to do next to continue the energy efficiency bloodline. Roll forward to 2012, and the Energy Com- pany Obligation (Eco), alongside the Green Deal, are chosen to tackle the scourge of dray homes. "Improving household energy efficiency is also a key strand of our strat- egy to help address the needs of low-income and vulnerable customers from 2012," pro- claimed the Department of Energy and Cli- mate Change (Decc). However, like a lot of sequels, it failed to live up to its predecessors. The numbers of homes receiving energy efficiency measures collapsed, and the costs of fitting the measures were higher than estimated. The pressure of the "cost of living cri- sis" reached fever pitch in September 2013 aer Labour leader Ed Miliband's surpris- ing promise to freeze energy prices, and the vexed issue of energy bills – which had con- tinued to rise – came to the fore. As the coalition government scrambled to respond, the focus turned to the "green crap" – a derogatory term for environmental and social subsidies paid through energy bills. By October, prime minister David Cam- eron had promised to "roll back green levies" and in his Autumn Statement in December, chancellor George Osborne cut £50 from energy bills. These same bills had soared by around £100 recently as suppliers hiked prices. The victim of the cutbacks was Eco, although Decc pitched the changes as an extension rather than a cut – and it in some ways, they are. The scheme is set to be pro- longed from its original end date of 31 March 2015 to 31 March 2017. The three elements of Eco –the Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (Cero), the Carbon Saving Community Obligation (Csco) and the Home Heating Cost Reduc- tion Obligation (Affordable Warmth) – will be extended on a pro rata basis, and cheaper measures will be allowed. As a bonus, the threshold for those eligi- ble for Csco was changed from the bottom 15 per cent to the bottom 25 per cent of areas on the Index of Multiple Deprivation. However, lurking in the shadows are the cuts. The Cero target is to be scaled back by a third; suppliers can miss their 2015 targets; receive a 75 per cent upli on work they've completed; and carry over previous meas- ures from Cert and Cesp. The reanimated version of Eco is set to lurch into life next month, but the damage has been already done to the supply chain, consumers, energy policy, and even those o-cast pantomime villains – the energy companies. Supply Chain The supply chain struggled as Cert and Cesp morphed into the Green Deal and Eco. The four-month bedding-in period saw the number of energy efficiency surveys – which are needed before the measures can be installed – fall by more than half. One company recorded a drop from more than 22,000 to fewer than 10,000 surveys. However, between May and November 2013, things settled down, and the number of completed measures started to grow, with more than 82,000 measures installed in the penultimate month of 2013. Mark McAlear, director at the EUM Group, which conducts Eco surveys, said: "There was a level of stability, and then the new consultation came out. "We pretty much just shut up shop. It had a massive impact." The number of surveys, and energy effi- ciency measures, slowly dropped further, and Decc's own figures revealed that in April this year no work was completed through the Eco brokerage system, down from a peak of £57.6 million in November 2013. The knives are out for Eco Constant tinkering with energy efficiency initiatives has left energy companies and the supply chain confused and bemused. The latest changes are simply the last nail in the coffin, says Mathew Beech. Energy Efficiency Standards of Performance (EESoP1): 1994-98 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 Energy efficiency timeline Eighteen years EESoP2: 1998-2000 EESoP3: 2000-02 Energy Efficiency Commitment (EEC): 2002-05 EEC2: 2005-2008 Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (Cert): 2008-12 Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP): 2009-12 1994 1996

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