‘Big six’ back energy loans, but sceptics’ chorus gets louder

Ed Davey set to launch energy scheme on Monday. Picture: Getty
Ed Davey set to launch energy scheme on Monday. Picture: Getty
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THE “big six” energy companies yesterday threw their weight behind the UK government’s Green Deal programme, which will offer loans to households to install boilers and insulation.

Energy secretary Ed Davey is expected to launch the scheme on Monday, despite reports earlier this week that only five households have registered their interest in the loans.

Angela Knight, chief executive of Energy UK, the trade body that represents the largest power companies, said: “We fully support the Green Deal and will help the UK government and providers of the Green Deal in making it a success.”

However, consumer groups and surveyors have raised concerns. Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at price comparison website uSwitch, warned the Green Deal “is in danger of becoming Britain’s best kept secret” because just 19 per cent of consumers have heard about it.

“The high cost of energy today means that Green Deal has to deliver – there is a lot at stake here for consumers,” she said.

Alan Milstein, chairman of the Residential Property Surveyors Association, said: “Our members have voiced concerns about whether a Green Deal loan is the most cost-effective route for many consumers.

“With early repayment penalties and the uncertainty surrounding how having a Green Deal loan attached to your property will impact on the saleability of the property, for many homeowners it may be advisable to look at alternative ways to fund any energy efficiency measures.”

Green Deal Finance Company, which will lend the money, yesterday unveiled “competitive” interest rates of between 7.67 per cent and 7.96 per cent. But shadow climate change minister Luciana Berger branded the rates as “sky high”.