I recently wrote an article titled “Pay as you save –the smartest climate change ever aimed at home owners” following UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband announcement in December. The plan briefly is to trial “The Home Energy Pay As You Save scheme” which will give 500 UK households the opportunity to invest in energy efficiency and microgeneration technologies in their homes with no upfront cost. Householders will make repayments spread over a long enough period so that repayments are lower than their predicted energy bill savings, meaning financial and carbon savings are made from day one.
Though I had some disappointment that so few homes are to be involved, I congratulated Mr Miliband and expressed that in my opinion this is one of the smartest ideas of the 21st Century and if successful has the potential to put a real dent in energy consumption and costs and potentially this was enough to win my vote at the next general election!
However, the details are still a little scarce, but I am further disappointed to learn that British Gas are to be involved. This will simply add to fears of where the responsibility of the loan will reside – the building or the homeowner, will you be tied to British Gas for energy supply etc. Why allow one of the utility companies to be involved at all – the vast majority want independence from these organisations and would opt for off grid power generation as soon as it’s a viable option.
The manufacturers and suppliers of these technologies need to re-align their thinking slightly, and perhaps reinvent themselves as energy providers as opposed to distributors. Wouldn’t it be better to pay them your monthly household budget for clean and renewable energy. Alternatively, create a lease/purchase scheme, lots of people cars, this would eradicate fears of purchasing inferior or inefficient equipment and so drive micro –generation to mainstream markets.
Here’s a thought, instead of bailing out the irresponsible banks, V.A.T. reductions and scrapage schemes, why not provide the manufacturers of micro-generation technologies interest free loans to create such a leasing schemes. Consider the positives of such a scheme, job creation would be huge, manufacturing jobs (could this re-invent British manufacturing?), builders, ground workers, plumbers, gas fitters, surveyors etc. Not to mention that every householder would benefit financially long term and cut co2 emissions..... WOW!