Community Energy Plus News

Policy changes threaten Cornwall’s insulation aspirations

The government has announced plans today (2 December 2013) to reduce the impact of energy price rises, worth an average of £50 for British householders.  This will be achieved by reducing the amount that consumers pay towards social and environmental programmes.

An estimated £30-£35 of this reduction will come from reducing the cost of the Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation element of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) – an energy efficiency scheme delivered by the major energy suppliers.

Community Energy Plus Chief Executive Tim Jones comments on impact that the reduction in ECO contributions will have on householders in Cornwall:

Tim2“Today’s announcement is yet another example of the government making knee-jerk London-centric policy changes that will see householders in Cornwall missing-out on vital funding to help them future proof their homes against rising energy prices.

“Reducing the Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation element of ECO by a third is counter-intuitive as it will significantly reduce the number of households that will get help to insulate the solid walls of their home, which is the single most effective way of reducing their heating bills over the longer term.

“In Cornwall, where 35 percent of homes already face higher heating costs from living in homes with solid walls which are difficult to keep warm and where we are more reliant on expensive forms of heating due to limited access to mains gas, this announcement is most certainly not welcome as it has the potential to push many more householders into fuel poverty.

“We’re all likely to enjoy a short term gain but we must not lose sight of the fact that many will face longer term pain as the problem of inefficient homes leaking heat is not being addressed as the first significant programme to offer insulation solutions for solid wall homes is being severely compromised.

“While energy suppliers have quite rightly faced a barrage of criticism over recent energy price rises, reducing the impact of social programmes is not the magic bullet to cure the ills of the industry – it is instead letting the suppliers of the hook.” 

Further information about this announcement is available from the government’s website here.