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Green Deal advert bonanza

It is not enough to help the feeble up, but to support him after.

The last time I saw this many was probably when the digital TV switch off was looming.

I am, of course, talking about Government-funded adverts to ensure that the general populace is aware of whatever it is Ministers want them to be.

Four years ago (yes, really that long ago. I know!) it was to ensure you could still watch the telly box after the analogue signal was switched off in your area. This time, it’s about the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund.

Maybe it’s because I live in a relatively affluent, home-improvement-minded area, but there are masses of these adverts round my way. Far, far more than there were before. They are everywhere.

When the Green Deal first launched there was a small – relative to the digital TV message – advertising campaign which included press advertising. I’ve not see so much of that this time around, although it may be that I’ve not been looking in the right places.

This new campaign has come about because of the background lobbying by the energy efficiency industry and interested industry parties – including our very own Builders Merchants Federation – on the grounds that the flagship initiative was stalling, not doing what it needed to do and becoming a bit of a joke (unfair of me? Possibly. Probably not).

It aims to highlight the fact that the scheme has been tweaked a bit to bringing in extra, upfront financial incentives to get involved from a householder’s point of view. Again, this is something that the Government had been told, over and over again, that serious financial commitment would be required to get people to a) notice and b) engage with the scheme.

The figures released by DECC on the take-up of the first part of the scheme make for interesting reading:

  • The new scheme has been being advertised for four weeks.
  • In the first week, up to 16th June, there were 1,736 applications received and 431 vouchers issued.
  • By 23rd June those numbers had risen to 2,821 applications and 1,415 vouchers.
  • A week later we were looking at 4,490 applications and 2,786 vouchers
  • By last Monday, July 7th, a total of 6,645 applications had been received and 4,405 vouchers issued.

    If redeemed in full – by getting the recommended work carried out by an approved Green Deal installer, then those vouchers are worth a whopping £25,136,800.

    There’s £25m of potential work out there up for grabs. Merchants need to make sure that they and their customers get a fair chance for a crack at it.

    Mind you, those customers will need to be ‘Green Deal Approved Installers’ and that is going to cost the, It will cost them anything from £350 plus VAT per measure, depending on who they get to approve them – so if they would like to be able to install boilers and renewable technology and insulation then they would be accredited for – and forking out for – three separate measures.

    The question for merchants out there is would be better for them to encourage their loyal customers to go through the process if they haven’t already and ensure they can therefore market themselves to those householders with their mitts on Government cash, or start targeting companies who are registered Green Deal Installers (DECC has a list on its website somewhere) to try and get them onto the customer base, if they aren’t already.

    There are householders out there like me who are a bit huffy because we can’t take advantage of this and use our tried and trusted builders and plumbers. However, there are bound to be loads who aren’t wedded to one or two particular tradesmen and who will be very open to the idea of picking an installer out from a list on the DECC website, if it means they can get a warmer, more energy efficient property and a lump of Government cash to help pay for it.

    With £25m tied up in those vouchers, it’s got to be worth trying to get your hands on some of it hasn’t it?

    Goodness knows there has to be some good come out of all the Government’s tinkering (not the first word I thought of) about with the subsidies and grants and incentives to insulate. Those splendid people at ACE (the Association for the Conservation of Energy) Research and the Energy Bill Revolution have published some worrying stats which show the impact of the current energy efficiency policies. You can read it all here

    It does not make for comfortable reading.

  • About Fiona Russell-Horne

    Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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