Bonfield energy efficiency review calls for new framework

An independent review into energy efficiency and home renewable energy measures has called for greater consumer protection through a new framework and quality mark.

The review sets out 27 recommendations to tackle consumer confidence in the energy efficiency marketplace, increase uptake and improve standards of installations.

It identified that “despite the good intentions of the government” public demand for measures has not increased and “there have been too many instances of poor quality installations” by companies which “do not have the skills, quality levels or core values required to operate responsibly in this market”.

The quality mark would require companies operating in the sector to adhere to three elements of the new framework which are a consumer charter, a code of conduct and codes of practice. Companies will also have to demonstrate their technical competence, quality performance and customer interfacing skills.

BRE Group’s chief executive Peter Bonfield who chaired the review, said: “This report is an important milestone on a shared journey. An Implementation Board has been established and a Strategic Governance Board (SGB) is proposed that I hope will work together, to guide the implementation of the recommendations and to ensure that the outcomes sought are delivered and reported.

Waiting in the wings are some large investors who are seeking ways to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, once the more robust Framework proposed in this Review is in place to help them better manage risks.”

Bonfield added that delivering the outcomes against the recommendations in the review will “require continued and serious commitment from all parties”.

He also said that over the next year he expects to see the proposals developed further and implemented by setting up the new framework. In the second year Bonfield suggested that future government schemes, like the Energy Company Obligation (Eco), are aligned to generate “a wider-scale impact”.

After the two years of implementation Bonfield predicts that there will be a critical mass that encourages more widespread promotion to householders and drives them to voluntarily take-up the products and services covered by the quality mark.

The review proposes that progress towards these should be openly reported annually until at least 2020.

Energy minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe and housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell in a joint foreword to the report said the government would “intervene where it is necessary”.

Industry stakeholders now have until January 2017 to feedback on the review and will develop detailed plans based on the recommendations.

The review was launched in June 2015 by government after the Green Deal scheme was closed. Eco, which requires suppliers to install energy efficiency measures such as loft installation in customer’s homes, will enter a transitional year in March 2017 until the revised programme is set out in 2018.