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Will the ‘green home’ scheme become a waste of energy?

Households looking to take advantage of the government’s new green home improvement program say they are struggling to find licensed installers

Households looking to take advantage of the government’s new green home improvement program say they are struggling to find licensed installers to do the job.

The £ 2 billion Green Home Grant initiative aims to give out vouchers of up to £ 5,000 towards energy-saving improvements such as insulation and double glazing.

Low-income families are eligible for up to £ 10,000 under the scheme launched late last month.

Waste of Energy ?: The £ 2 Billion Green Home Grant Initiative aims to hand out vouchers of up to £ 5,000 towards energy-saving improvements such as insulation and double glazing

Waste of Energy ?: The £ 2 Billion Green Home Grant Initiative aims to hand out vouchers of up to £ 5,000 towards energy-saving improvements such as insulation and double glazing

But frustrated homeowners and landlords say they can’t find licensed dealers available or willing to complete the job within the strict six-month turnaround time. Rebecca Tidy, 33, a Cornish university researcher, had to contact 38 companies before she found someone to visit her property to make a quote for attic insulation and solar panel heating.

“It’s crazy, it all seems so disorganized,” she says. ‘Some companies had a waiting list of a few months before the scheme started. Others were unwilling to do work costing less than £ 14,000. ‘

To get a grant, households must get quotes from contractors registered with the government-approved TrustMark and listed on Simple Energy Advice (SEA) official website. Rebecca is also eligible for a biomass boiler, but getting one is nearly impossible as there are currently only five TrustMark installers listed on the SEA website across England.

Andrew Waddle, 53, a depot manager from Newcastle, is also struggling to find a company willing to bid for double glazing. He says, “I called 15 companies in the Northeast that are listed on the government website. Some didn’t answer, some said they didn’t because of the chaos of previous schemes, while others said they didn’t have the required certificates. ‘

Applicants in London, York, Middlesbrough, Folkestone and Leicester have reported similar problems.

‘There is only one installer in my area and he is so fully booked that he can no longer accept customers. I can’t use the schedule, ”says DeAna D’Monte from Kent. The scheme is also starting to receive criticism from the energy sector. Installers have pointed out that winter is the ‘worst time’ to upgrade insulation or windows, as it leaves homes unprotected from cold weather.

Nathalie Rush, general manager of Six Star Group, an insulation company in the Midlands, says it has received too many questions to cover them all. A lack of qualified professionals with the necessary skills in the UK and a backlog in home-related work after lockdown puts extra pressure on the tight six-month deadline, Rush says. She added, “I’m very concerned that there are many homeowners and landlords with vouchers that expire at the end of March because technicians aren’t available.”

Energy Helpline comparison website and Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certification body are calling on the government to expand the scheme.

MCS chief Ian Rippin says: “ If one of the main objectives of the scheme is to create 100,000 new jobs in energy and renewables, then the current window simply does not give people in the industry the confidence to make the necessary long-term investment. . . ‘

TrustMark CEO Simon Ayers says there are now 1,100 registered installers overseeing up to 20,000 certified subcontractors. But he acknowledges that some companies are still ‘on the fence’ waiting for clarity from the government. “We have created a huge market peak,” he says.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy says it will “work closely with industry to ensure there are enough installers to meet demand.”

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