Direct Savings in line for £70m Eco boost

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About 100 jobs could be created at a Livingston-based firm after it secured a deal, worth as much as £70 million, to install insulation and energy-efficient boilers throughout Scotland.

Direct Savings, founded in 2010 by husband and wife team Ged and Eileen Smith, has picked up the contract through the UK government’s Energy Companies Obligation (Eco) scheme, in partnership with ­Essex-based Climate Energy.

Under the £1.3 billion Eco initiative, energy suppliers such as Scottish Gas, ScottishPower and SSE will have to deliver energy-efficiency measures targeted at vulnerable consumers or those living in “hard to treat” homes.

Suppliers will pass on the costs to customers through a levy on bills, and some in the industry have estimated that the initiative could end up costing as much as £2.3bn.

The tie-up will see Direct Savings carry out about 12,400 loft and 1,800 cavity wall insulation installations, and 1,800 boiler replacements over the coming 12 months, delivering an initial £12m revenue boost for the company, and potentially creating 100 jobs.

Managing director Ged Smith said: “There is massive potential for further partnership work with Climate Energy in the coming months, which could see this contract easily top £70m.”

Smith said the firm’s prospects were now looking “very bright” – in sharp contrast to the situation at the start of the year, when delays in the transition from a previous government scheme meant the company had to lay off a number of workers.

Smith added: “When the insulation work ended in January, and there were repeated delays with the promised new Eco programme, it was an awful time. But we not only stuck it out, we took a big risk to invest in the promised future, spending around £1.5m of our own money to ensure we had the proper training and credentials.”

Climate Energy Group managing director Andrew Holmes said: “We are delighted to be involved in a partnership that supports sustainability and the local community.”

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