In a milestone month for the Green Deal it was great to start the week in Birmingham congratulating the City Council and Carillion Energy Services on its Green Deal delivery partnership. Birmingham Energy Savers Programme plans to refurbish around 60,000 homes and non domestic buildings. To support this tremendous work we recently awarded £2.6m to the City Council to help kick start Green Deal activity across the City.
When we published the Government Response to the Green Deal consultation back in June, we said October 2012 wouldn’t be a “big bang” launch, but a green light to the market to get started. Industry and other key stakeholders told us they wanted to see a steady introduction to this ambitious programme – with full systems testing to ensure fullest market readiness – to ensure a smooth customer experience when Green Deal Plans are available from late January. We agreed with them.
Since then, industry stakeholders have worked side by side with us to ensure the final pieces of the Framework came together in readiness for the regulations to switch on this month. I am immensely grateful to those who have – and continue to – work with us to get ready for the Green Deal and to test the key systems and processes underpinning it.
I was delighted that by last Monday, when the Green Deal Arrangements Agreement (GDAA) between the energy suppliers and Green Deal Providers came into force, 73 installer organisations and 7 assessor bodies had been authorised and 2 applicants – Insta Group and Inteb Sustainability – had already completed the authorisation process to become our first Green Deal Providers. They are true pioneers – and I’m looking forward to many of those currently progressing through registration and fitness testing joining them shortly. The Green Deal Oversight and Registration Body (ORB) has been operational for barely 8 weeks so it’s encouraging to see it doing steady business.
Other important elements taking effect last week include the Green Deal Code of Practice and the Green Deal Quality Mark which must be used by authorised participants to provide key assurances both for industry and for consumers. And last week we also updated the Green Deal Measures Guidance.
The Energy Saving Advice Service (0300 123 1234) has been operational a little longer and when I visited a fortnight ago I saw for myself the quality set up and service there. I am pleased to hear that its phones have been buzzing with enquiries about the Green Deal as authorised participants begin to operate; offering appointments for accredited assessments and quotation services. Authorised Green Deal Providers will be able to offer Green Deal plans to consumers from 28 January 2013, when the Green Deal really gets off the ground – and we expect the number of customer offers to build from there as more players enter the market.
I’m committed to helping the Green Deal get off the ground. Last month we announced £12m of funding to seven major cities across England, including Birmingham City Council, who are well advanced in their plans to deliver the Green Deal. The money is supporting ‘demonstrator’ projects to trial key aspects of the Green Deal and support future Green Deal activity in these areas. Activity includes Green Deal assessments, loan arrangements to fund work and show homes to provide local examples of what can be achieved. I’m really encouraged by what I’ve seen today in Birmingham and I look forward to seeing for myself how the other projects develop.
I want to ensure that businesses of all sizes can play a part in the Green Deal. Over 1600 companies attended DECC’s national summer road show which was way oversubscribed, so it’s great that DECC is able to host additional events in October in London, Leicester and Middlesbrough. We know that we won’t be able to reach out in person to every organisation across Great Britain wanting to hear more about the Green Deal and the opportunities for promoting local jobs and growth, so we’re providing extra help for local authorities wishing to hold events before January. Interested authorities can find out more on the DECC website.
It’s worth remembering that we’ve made available free registration to small companies wanting to train to be installers and with the Sector Skills Council we are funding 2000 assessor and installer training places.
Last week marked the start of our phased implementation. The market is open and is coming alive. It’s great to see it happening at last – and this is only the beginning.