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Written by rosalind renshaw

Connells have bought a very large energy assessor firm, Vibrant Energy Matters.

The deal, which was not publicly announced, completed towards the end of July for an undisclosed sum.

Vibrant Energy Matters was formed last November after the merger of Green Energy Matters and Vibrant Energy.

Clients are in both the residential and commercial sectors, and include estate agents, letting agents, landlords, and local authorities.

The merger positioned the company as the largest independent provider of EPCs and related energy services, with over 100 staff and the capacity to complete over 100,000 EPCs a year.

A spokeswoman for Connells said: “VEM was already a major supplier to us and Connells wanted to drive economies of scale and higher volumes for both parties.

“The deal is mutually beneficial and will give both parties more business and extend our reach in areas like social housing.”

The price of EPCs has been driven steadily downwards – to the anger of Domestic Energy Assessors, who are now offered as little as £15 to complete them – but they are likely to become increasingly big business under the Government’s Green Deal programme, due to be implemented in 2012.

Many thousands of homes – not just those on the market for sale and rent – will undergo energy audits.

At the same time, it is highly likely that EPCs will become a more important part of the sales process, with buyers of energy inefficient homes being penalised by higher Stamp Duty.


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    i spoke to a lady called chris at eco warriors, seemed very friendly. was unsure after an interesting conversation with her. she sent across some details which was worth looking at. they have given me a few so far, will wait and see if and how many more i get. website is www.eco-warriors.eu i googled them.

    • 06 September 2010 16:06 PM
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    it could be because they are the ones doing interesting things where as most of the independent sector doesnt do anything inovative / newsworthy on a big enough scale??

    • 09 August 2010 09:57 AM
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    3 news items for connells/sequence on this news page!! are they paying EAN for the adverts!! lets have some great worthy news from the great independents sector

    • 08 August 2010 07:08 AM
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    You can imagine how poular a DEA would be with agents if they start using the appointmnet that has been created by the agent to compete with them.

    The estate agency industry is the 'retailer' of EPCs (mostly) and if DEAs want to bite the hand that feeds them then i think they would find their work and therefore the chance to pitch their proposal will die very quickly

    • 06 August 2010 11:36 AM
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    This may be not be a popular view but as a DEA I am more than pleased to work with VEM now this news has broke. At least it provides me with confidence regarding their viability. Lets be honest all the other companies are struggling financially. I want to contact Eco Warriors but they dont have a website, strange, but can anyone help?

    • 06 August 2010 11:23 AM
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    I'd honeslty rather use iSold than market through a DEA!

    Many DEAs are trained to do what they do and that's it. Granted, some have come from agency/property backgrounds and could POSSIBLY offer a service. However, for the vast majority...No.

    • 05 August 2010 12:15 PM
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    A very interesting turn of events. I have recently had discussions with the Eco-Warriors crew and it seems that have the model pinned down. They were offering local EPC business support as an independent supplier - I suppose the only true independent supplier left. Their aim is to support local business development. I think I need to make a call today .....

    • 05 August 2010 06:24 AM
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    ive done it again and thought of something else after sending my last post! -

    Its not the estate agency world that pushed the prices of EPCs down it was the 'race to the floor' that the EPC companies had chasing volume, however if anyone knows where i can get them from for 15 quid then let me know - even Connells had to buy the corpse of VEM to get the price down, they must be kicking them selvs, we should all listen to Terry Prattona hes a property guru in my mind

    Terry - im still laughing a bit but do want to get this DEA / estate agent thing going asap - call me, we'll do lunch.............Wink, wink

    • 04 August 2010 23:36 PM
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    Terry Katona............you old devil, im only guessing but judging by you wink wink, smug as you like tone am i right in thinking its you that has turned from a 100 quid a day jobbing DEA into the new big thing in estate agency or a mate of yours?

    Either way spill the beans son, who is this magical DEA you know or is it a secret? - we could franchise this idea and be rich mate!

    Wink Wink :0) - you daft pillock

    • 04 August 2010 23:25 PM
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    "heres an idea, the agents become DEAs, fair point though but when / how is the DEA going to start his pitch - as he climbs out the loft covered on dust or as hes behind the sofa looking at the radiator valves? "

    Well he could start his pitch by saying how he could save sellers thousands in agent fee's for a start, and that's the biggest pitch of all!, (are you still laughing?) then offer to run a private ad campaign alongide an agent's marketing and play beat the agent, could be payback time for those that exploited energy assessors with £15 EPCs, i wouldn't mock if i were you jonnie, this is entirely feasable, in fact i know someone who is already doing it....wink wink.

    • 04 August 2010 18:35 PM
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    ...forgot to comment , Connells are very shrewd, they got this out fit for nothing in fact knowing them they might have been given a reverse premium to take it over - either way its the first of many for the 'big' EPC providers

    • 04 August 2010 17:47 PM
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    .....or heres an idea, the agents become DEAs, fair point though but when / how is the DEA going to start his pitch - as he climbs out the loft covered on dust or as hes behind the sofa looking at the radiator valves?

    • 04 August 2010 17:44 PM
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    Many aggrieved energy assessors angry at agent's driving down epc prices, may fight back by offering private marketing packages allowing sellers to possibly avoid agent fee's altogether, i predict dual selling could be the norm in the future, and with the property ombudsman saying recently the onus is on the agent to prove he had a hand in finding the buyer before he can lay claim to fee's, there lies an opportunity for energy assessors to make a living on the private marketing side of things, and what with a 20% vat rate on the cards, house prices falling, job culls still to happen, sellers will look to save on agent fee's, it could be a golden age for Dea's in the future.

    • 04 August 2010 17:04 PM
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    Interesting times indeed, there will no doubt be further consolidation in the EPC market. I have to agree with Neil's comments as VEM had touted themselves to Spicer and LSL and both had declined due to the financials. So I am not sure whom the winner is here, but I can guess.
    its worth pointing out that even when Vibrant and GEM merged it didn't actually place them as the largest independent EPC provider in the UK!!!

    • 04 August 2010 11:04 AM
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    This is all the more reason to use independent assessors/local firms. Better service, better price and helping local businesses out. Who do you think your independent assessor will then refer new instructions onto? You guessed it- you for supporting them!

    • 04 August 2010 10:32 AM
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    LOL, I can't imagine they actually 'paid' anything at all. Being prepared to take on the liabilities is a more likely story.

    Good luck to Vibrant DEAs though, you're now part of the Connells corporate machine so look forward to some strong "cross-selling" opportunities, and of course- a pay cut!!

    • 04 August 2010 10:25 AM
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    Independent agents can always choose/change their EPC supplier. It would only take one example of "A proper EPC supplier's" concern happening before Connells/Vibrant would lose any introduced business. Anyway, why not set up a non-solicitation clause in any supplier agreement?

    I think many agents may be surprised who owns many of their supply chain providers.

    • 04 August 2010 10:19 AM
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    We will provide a free EPC, what's that? you what to withdraw your property? That will be £500 please.......

    • 04 August 2010 10:13 AM
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    So, Connells buys an EPC provider who also does work for a number of independent estate agents and other chains.
    Call me a cynic but doesn't that also mean that a Connells owned company will have access to other agents instructions at a very early stage in the marketing process. What else are they likely to be advising on during the EPC visit . . . . imagine the conversation "why are you using X agents, Connells offer a fantastic service I can give you their number if you like !
    My advice, make sure your EPC supplier is independent !

    • 04 August 2010 09:41 AM
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