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Policy to increase domestic energy efficiency

Submitted by: MikeC (Admin) on 16-Jan-09 12:39:48 PM

Later today, Tory leader David Cameron will unveil his party's new policy for a 'low-carbon economy', which includes plans to 'introduce a new entitlement for every home to be fitted immediately with up to £6,500 of energy efficiency improvements'.

Speaking to the BBC's Today program, shadow minister Greg Clarke said energy companies "should advance" monies to pay for the improvements and recoup costs over a "very long period" on top of normal bill payments.

The cash, he said, could be underwritten by Government which he suggested would be repayable at commercial rates of around 5-6%, based on current market rates (so does that mean it could be variable?). The debt would be tied to the property, not the homeowner directly, because the supply is fixed (will the debt freeze if the property is empty then?).

So let's get this straight: Govt would presumably borrow money - funded by taxpayers - which it then lends to energy companies, which themselves saddle homeowners - taxpayers - with debt "over a very long period" at commercial interest rates - is that compound interest, I wonder?

We can all imagine what the final cost might be after the obligatory "administration charges" are lumped on top by energy companies.

Smart meters and 'smart grids'

In an interview with the Guardian, Mr Cameron proposed a 'smart grid', which sounds like a more complicated version of 'Dynamic Demand Management':

Under the Tory plan consumers would be able to key into the "smart meter" their electricity needs, such as charging up an electric car. The supplier would make an assessment based on their use and offer the cheapest rates - for example, charging cars through the night. This would bring lower electricity prices and help the environment by allowing suppliers to make greater use of renewable energy - the supply of which can be uneven - because they would be better able to predict demand.

David Cameron: 'To deliver a low-carbon economy you have got to have a vision' | Politics | The Guardian

The devil, as they say, is all in the detail, expected to be revealed this afternoon. Which means we don't yet know how, or if, Energy Performance Certificates will fit in with this, but the proposals do beg a couple of questions (at least):

  1. Can the policy work without an EPC in place before cash is spent?;
  2. Who performs those EPCs?

Exactly! It all plays into the hands of energy companies.

National approach lacking

It seems that, whether Labour or Tory, neither party are willing to address our looming energy crisis with a simple, all-inclusive, national approach, which falls on everyone equally, instead of burdening commercial vested interests which are expected to make a return for investors.

As I've written elsewhere: would we fund a war in such a way?

I could go on but I have other stuff to write. However, one thing seems increasingly likely: it would seem to me that the Tories may have found a way to separate EPCs from the Home Information Pack they have long-pledged to drop - something which should be a concern for the likes of AHIPP, IPPA and the IDEA et al.

BBC interview (shadow Tory minister): Plans for a 'low-carbon economy'.

Update: Tories pledge even 'greater competition' in EPC market.

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