13th November, 2013

With energy efficiency being a ‘hot topic’ and making daily headlines, the recent Newsnight feature on Ofgem’s published statistics, highlighted that energy companies are simply not complying with legislation - in short, they are not meeting the Energy Companies Obligation.

The Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) introduced in January 2013, is a programme placing legal requirements on the larger suppliers to deliver energy efficiency measures to their users to help them make home improvements which are paid via energy bills. Newsnight reported that on average, the bill payer hands over £57 to their energy company to fix other peoples drafty homes.

After a Freedom of Information request, Ofgem revealed just how far behind targets the energy companies are. Taking just one target, for example, insulation, on average the companies have completed just 16% and with just over four months until the deadline – they are running out of time to meet legal targets. With other target measures it is just as bad or even worse.

British Gas is among the companies saying that hitting its ECO targets will cost far more than the government predicted, claiming that it will more be in the region of £97 for bill payers. However, competitors such as E-ON are far ahead of them, making deals with local authorities to retrofit homes on mass.

If the major energy suppliers do not reach their targets by March 2014, they can get fined up to 10% of company turnover, so for British Gas, this run into hundreds of millions of pounds.

Ofgem’s Freedom of Information reportsthat energy companies progress to date, using wall insulation as their prime example:

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Reg Platt from the Institute for Public Policy Research claims that some of the major energy companies focus on complaining about targets rather than delivering the support their customers badly need. He states that it is vital that the government does not ‘bow down’ to this pressure from the energy companies and must ensure that the support for energy efficiency improvements remains in place.

Over 05 and 06 December at the Business Design Centre, London - the ECO will be discussed and debated amongst industry experts. On 05 December, a Policy Debate titled "What future for ECO" will be a key feature of the Opening Plenary at the Retrofit Summit, held at the Business Design Centre, London on 05 December.  Invited speakers to the debate include; David Strong, EEPB, Jonathon Reynolds MP, Shadow Minister for Climate Change (invited), DECC, Ofgem, Claire Harrold, Head of Business Development at Npower and David Adams, Technical Director at Willmott Dixon.

To view the full programme or to book tickets to the Retrofit Summit, CLICK HERE.

On 06 December, a panel of industry experts including; James Rolfe, Director of Finance at the London Borough of Enfield, Christoph Harwood, Partner of Marksman Consulting, Arnout Andrews, Managing Director of Adecoe and Duncan Price, Director of Verco will be discussing how to get your hands on ECO during a seminar at the Retrofit London conference at the Business Design Centre, London on 06 December.

To view the full conference programme or to book tickets for the event, CLICK HERE.

To watch the full feature on Newsnight, click the video below.

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