Energy bill could fail poor households

The National Housing Federation fears poorer households will have little to gain from the Government’s ‘Green Deal.’

The Energy Bill includes provision for an Energy Company Obligation (ECO), to focus “particularly on low income vulnerable households and those types of domestic property (such as those with a cavity wall) which cannot achieve financial savings without a measure of additional support on top of Green Deal finance.”

The Federation believes that, if it is to work, the Green Deal has to ensure that social housing providers and landlords need to be able to access this supplier obligation subsidy and deliver the Green Deal to their tenants, improving the homes of those on the lowest incomes.

The Federation is concerned that the Energy Bill does not detail how much the obligation will be nor what the distribution will be between ‘hard to treat’ and poor and vulnerable households.

It says that the real test now is in the size and the administration of the obligation (which now consists of carbon reduction targets and home-heating cost reduction targets) – rumoured to be at £1bn per year. This is not going to be enough to tackle all low income and vulnerable households and ‘hard-to-treat’ properties.

The Federation says that it is important that this system is administered to ensure that energy suppliers do not maintain control over the expenditure – and further line their pockets in the process.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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