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Good ideas, badly executed?

Those who govern, having much business on their hands, do not generally like to take the trouble of considering and carrying into execution new projects.

So many initiatives sound great on paper but fall down in the execution. Partly because no-one has thought out right from the start, exactly how the schemes will work in actual, real-life practice.

In one of those ‘no great surprise there’ announcements, it appears that Ofgem has sent back virtually all the applications for Renewable Heat Incentive. Apparently, the system for metering is just too complicated.

Ofgem’s first RHI quarterly report has shown that it has approved just 20 of the 376 RHI applications it received since November from businesses wishing to take advantage of the subsidies available from installing solar thermal or biomass technology.

According to the report, many of the applications have been sent back because they were inconsistent, did not contain all the necessary information, were not detailed enough, or included confusing and illegible supporting documents.

See – a system set out by committee without any real concept of how real people would work out what details and documentation is required.

I have a horrible feeling that the Green Deal might go the same way. Everything I’ve read seems to indicate that the Government has done everything in its power to make the scheme as complicated as it could possibly be.

I know I keep harping on about this but I still don’t understand why this whole thing couldn’t be done on a simple cash-back system. Get the energy companies to pay into a huge fund (we could call it, ooh, I don’t know, CERT, for example).

Publicise to householders the fact that they could get a cheque back if they have a certain amount of insulation or certain energy-saving technology installed in their home.

Let them chose where to buy those products and who they wish to install them and then send a copy of the receipt for the work off to a body like the Energy Savings Trust, who will make certain checks and then send them back the cash.

I know there’s an argument that scheme is open to abuse with dodgy receipts etc, but surely there could be ‘spot checks’ or some system of registration or some way of policing it. There has to be some way of making it less complicated and, in doing so, more likely to work.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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