Huhne rides cowboy builders out of town

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne today donned his energy sheriff’s hat to warn “cowboy” builders that there’ll be no place for them in the Green Deal. He said that consumer protection […]

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne today donned his energy sheriff’s hat to warn “cowboy” builders that there’ll be no place for them in the Green Deal.

He said that consumer protection would be “built into the Green Deal from the word go”.

“Accreditation, a quality mark, insurance-backed warranties – there’ll be no place for cowboys to get a foothold in the Green Deal,” he stressed.

And he also branded Britain a “laggard” on insulation.

Mr Huhne was speaking as the Energy Bill was published in Parliament, which put flesh on the bones of the Green Deal.

The Green Deal is due to start in 2012 and is the government’s way of enabling private companies to make energy efficiency available at no upfront cost. The work to upgrade the property will be paid back from the saving on energy bills.

The Energy Bill sets out for the first time how the Green Deal will work for both household and business premises.

As well as helping businesses improve their own energy efficiency, the government believes there are also huge market opportunities in the supply chain, including opportunities for small and medium-sized firms.

DECC estimates that the number of people employed in insulation alone could soar from the present 27,000 to 100,000 by 2015, eventually rising to a peak of 250,000 in the next decade.

Mr Huhne said: “I’m confident the Green Deal will catch on with the public. It’ll make upgrading our nation’s draughty homes a no brainer. But I don’t want people to be hoodwinked by rogue traders or receive dodgy advice. Trust is important when it comes to having work done in our homes.”

“When it comes to making our homes warmer and cosier, Britain’s a laggard. The Green Deal is about taking the hassle and upfront cost out of making your home more energy efficient.

“The Green Deal’s also a great business opportunity and shows we’re serious about the green industries of the future.”

Key highlights of the protection measures revealed today include accredited advice for all customers on how to make their property more energy efficient; installation will only be carried by an accredited installer working for a ‘reputable company’; and rules will be put in place to prevent customers being subjected to unfair or misleading selling practices.

A Green Deal ‘quality mark’ will also be created to ensure trust in the scheme and insurance-backed warranties to cover the work will be issued so consumers are covered if there are faults with the advice or installation of measures.

Today’s details also reveal that high street retailers, builders’ merchants or local authorities will be allowed to be advisers, providers and accredited installers.

The Energy Bill also confirmed that consumers will be able to pay back the Green Deal through a charge on their energy bills. A new Energy Company Obligation will be placed on energy suppliers that will provide additional support for low income vulnerable households and for those whose homes are more difficult or expensive to improve.

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