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Written by rosalind renshaw

DEAs have criticised the postponement of the Government’s flagship Green Deal legislation, openly questioning whether it will ever happen.

There is also mounting concern over the commercialisation of the Green Deal, with fears that DIY firms, utility companies and supermarkets will exploit it to sell their own products.  

The Energy Bill, which should have been debated before Parliament’s summer break, has now been delayed.

Whilst energy secretary Chris Huhne has denied that the postponement will make any difference to the Green Deal coming into force in October next year, the delay means that the flagship scheme will not make it on to the statute books for many months.

Jim Gillespie, chief executive of the Institute of Domestic Energy Assessors, said: “Having met several weeks ago with members of the Green Deal team within the Dept of Energy & Climate Change, the Green Deal itself was so light on detail that I knew they could never achieve the roll-out timetable they put before me.

“The elephant in the room with the Green Deal is the prospect of ‘impartial advice’.

“To myself and many others within IDEA there is only one way to ensure advice and recommendations are impartial and that is to have the Green Deal Assessor, who conducts the ‘before and after EPCs’, as being a truly independent person.

“DECC however seem quite content to let huge market players control every step of the process and therefore rendering impartiality almost impossible to achieve, let alone demonstrate or police.

“Scottish & Southern Electric have made 800 doorstep sales staff redundant and closed down the entire operation after it was discovered that their sales force were allegedly using dubious sales tactics to elicit new business.

“Are government ministers really so naive that they don’t think exactly the same will happen if the utility companies employ staff who both conduct the EPC and then go on to give advice, recommendations and sell the eco refit measures to the end users?

“Equally worrying is the, as yet, unofficial announcement that the Kingfisher Group, owners of B&Q, have taken over one of the largest energy assessor accreditation schemes in the UK, namely NES, formerly NHER and SAVA.

“In short, the shopkeeper who will be selling Green Deal products now own the company which will train, accredit and pass on Green Deal inquiries to Green Deal Advisers through their business panel.

“How can this possibly be impartial?”

Gillespie is advising all its IDEA members not to fork out for Green Deal training, fearing a repeat of the fiasco when far too many DEAs signed up for training on the promise of work on a scale which has never materialised.

The Government is, however, ploughing ahead with Green Deal trials and changes to EPCs, due to kick in next April. See next story.

Comments

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    Some interesting comments on the NES take over.

    One serious question all NES members should ask themselves is does this now mean that they are unable to offer Green Deal Advisor services due to conflicts of interest which will prevent NES being able to gain accreditation to run the scheme under UKAS... which according to Ministers is an absolute requirment of the new Green Deal scheme???

    If so they have all just been sold out!

    • 14 July 2011 14:23 PM
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    Nationalise the Police Force...

    • 13 July 2011 13:33 PM
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    No some doubt training providers and accred bodies are rubbing their hands with glee with the thought of churning out thousands of GDA's and thus flooding the market, and helping to drive down GDA fee's, we have seen it all before with dea training, with some accred bodes training up data collectors to do domestic epc's and undermining their own members, i predict a training frenzy starting next year, some accred bodies may do a deal with green deal providers to supply GDA's or even sell out to them in order for green deal companies to gain access to databases, i can see this whole Green Deal scheme becoming a shambles as employed and self employed GDA's fight over the crumbs, multiple green deal companies doing multiple green deal surveys will confuse the public, ONE green deal survey is needed by an impartial and independent unbiased non agended Green deal advisor, it's not rocket science!.

    • 13 July 2011 13:21 PM
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    @Anna. You are spot on!

    I would add that the whole 'green' thing (whatever it really is) is being manipulated by 'Vested Interests' and 'Marketing Types' and has become a nonsense.

    • 13 July 2011 12:21 PM
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    MJ quote: "only way for true impartiality is for the green deal recipient to pay an upfront fee to an independent impartial advisor, anyone opposing that must have a vested interest themselves!"
    Not true at all. We are an accreditation scheme, likely to accredit GDAs, we won't be employing GDAs nor be a GD provider, and we disagree with your statement. Where is our vested interest?
    Impartiality and transparency of all advice is required, but this does not have to be by independents.

    • 13 July 2011 12:15 PM
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    SGHI wrote:
    In conversation and open debate it became clear that most Green Deal providers would be offering the HEA Assessment for free...there can be no clearer indication of selling than this. The HEA overhead has to be funded somehow which could only be from sales targets and no doubt under performing HEA's will be put out to pasture, high performers will obviously be rewarded by a bonus scheme.

    100% agree with the above, what vested supporters of Green deal providers doing their own surveys don't realise is that it's almost a certainty that site survey reports will be manipulated to look like somethings needed when it isn't in order for the employed GDA to get commission, i repeat that for those that missed it!... site surveys will almost certainly be manipulated by self serving employed GDA's, only way for true impartiality is for the green deal recipient to pay an upfront fee to an independent impartial advisor, anyone opposing that must have a vested interest themselves!.

    • 13 July 2011 11:32 AM
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    Its all very fashionable and trendy to be PC, but lets be honest who really cares? Petrol cost more than a coffee at Rome airport, do we buy less? Nope! Unless you are hard up have you turned your heating down, stopped cooking and eating lettuce? Nope. Are the Spanish, Greeks, Portuguese doing anything to save the planet?, nope. Are China, nope.

    Only today Nuclear power is back on the agenda, will cost more they said but is sustainable, that’s the government saying just that.

    If its about personal interest, making money, then good, we are in a capitalist society, but just be honest, you will feel better for it.

    • 13 July 2011 11:12 AM
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    Quidos broadly support IDEA, yet the Green Deal works on the basis of the Golden Rule, and hence "unneeded & unwanted products" will not qualify. I agree that impartiality is important, but if there is a transparent process for recommendations then what does it matter who the GDA is employed by? Ultimately isn't the purpose of the Green Deal to increase energy efficiency? So if that means a homeowner gets B&Q insulation installed - isn't that a good thing? Don't get me wrong, I fully support independent GDAs, but think it a step too far to insist on only independents.

    • 13 July 2011 11:03 AM
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    No one else is interested are they, so let the retailers sell, just as double glazing companies, do, as Cavity wall companies do, Solar panels etc etc .

    No one who is informed and understands the cost implications buys any of these to save money, unless they plan to die in the property 30 years hence or have been sold to.

    • 13 July 2011 10:59 AM
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    I paid good money to attend an HEA training course being piloted by Asset Skills, on the course were several fellas from Bitish Gas.

    In conversation and open debate it became clear that most Green Deal providers would be offering the HEA Assessment for free...there can be no clearer indication of selling than this. The HEA overhead has to be funded somehow which could only be from sales targets and no doubt under performing HEA's will be put out to pasture, high performers will obviously be rewarded by a bonus scheme.

    I didn't bother continuing with the course as I could see there was no role for an independent HEA unless working purely on commission.EPC rates are bad enough this was one step beyond.

    • 13 July 2011 10:45 AM
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    Totally agree with Jim!

    As always the DCLG and their Lords and Masters are deaf, dumb and blind to reality...I wish I too could live in a vacuum and feed myself only what I want to hear, but it doesn't work for me or any of us mere mortals.

    The NES buy out is a shock to the system being a member of the NHER scheme, I still fail to fully understand the Kingfisher reasoning here. And shame on Brian Scannell for selling his 3,300 + membership down the river. I suppose it was the falling turnover and profit yield that prompted the 'sell it while you can' mentality.

    Good to see Paul Holmes appears to have jumped to BRE he was one of the best Techies at NHER.

    As in most things competitive quotes aid a considered decision on which supplier to run with, I guess with the impartiality issue seemingly sliding toward vested interests the average Home Owner would need to invite several Green Deal Assessors in to get a balanced view on the best way to go...good thinking DCLG!

    This essentially discredits a single HEA visit to my mind as there will be no assurance of impartial advice being given regadless of how it might be masked.

    Typical Tories playing to the interests of big business.

    • 13 July 2011 10:32 AM
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    Unless a way can be found that keeps Green Deal Advisors impartial, the whole scheme is at risk of being seen as nothing more than an opportunity for big firms to push unneeded expensive products, there's a risk that green deal surveys may be manipulated to make it look like something is needed when in fact it isn't, employed Green Deal Advisors may be paid a low wage commissioned based salary, so the temptation will be to hard/mis sell products in order to obtan a decent wage, I do hope they get this right before the Green Deal starts, Independence and impartiality for GDA's is the only fair way in my view.

    • 13 July 2011 10:19 AM
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