Barker admits Green Deal forecast was ‘spectacularly wrong’

greg_barkerEnergy minister Greg Barker has admitted his prediction that 10,000 Green Deal plans would be signed in the first year of the flagship scheme’s operation was “spectacularly wrong”.

Last March, three months into the scheme, Barker told BBC Radio 4: “I wouldn’t be sleeping if we didn’t have 10,000 [signed up to the Green Deal] at the end of the year.”

But official figures released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) today revealed just 1,119 Green Deal plans have been signed by customers through to the end of December, and only 626 of these were completed and live, meaning the customer is paying back the loan through their energy bills.

Speaking to journalists at a UK Green Building Council event today, Barker said “My understanding and perception of how the market works is very different in practice to how it was in theory.”

When asked to say how many plans he wanted to see signed before the next election in 2015 he said: “Having got it spectacularly wrong last year I’m not giving it any more forecasts.”

The DECC figures showed 129,842 had been carried out over the first year of the Green Deal, meaning only around one in every 1,300 households to undertake an assessment have gone on to sign a Green Deal plan to date. However, DECC insists that its research shows that 81% of people undergoing a Green Deal assessment are “consistently telling us that they are taking action following their assessment”, with households choosing to pay for measures themselves rather than use Green Deal finance.

Barker added: “We thought that unless we gave customers the payment method no one would touch these things, in actual fact people are doing them and installing them and the barrier to entry does not seem to be finance.”

However, he said early adopters of the scheme would be “pre-disposed to see the sense in it” and pay for measures themselves.
He said as the programme “scaled-up” financial barriers would become more significant and a higher proportion of people have assessments would chose to use Green Deal finance to pay for having energy efficiency measures installed.

21 January 2014 | By Vern Pitt