Oh, here we go again with another set of cowboys jumping on a Government bandwagon. I just got a leaflet through the door saying our area has been selected to be one of the first...
I get sick of companies phoning to 'do a survey' about our loft and cavity wall insulation. We've had the survey done, there's nothing more they can do for us as the house is old and does not have cavity walls and the entrance to the loft is too small for them to be able to do any work, apart from which we already have quite a good layer of insulation up there. I've been up, years ago now, and checked it myself.
Now they've launched Green Deal - BEWARE, it may not be all it's cracked up to be.
For a start, the people doing the local assessments are NOT working for the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC). They could be from an energy company, a DIY store or even a local tradesman who's registered to be an assessor. They may charge for coming to see you. The leaflet I just had says that for a limited period they will do this for free, instead of the usual £149 they would charge. Hmmm, the DECC are giving an incentive of £150 to each household who take part - how hollow does that 'free' service sound...?
So what are these people doing? They are surveying your property to make sure that you're not losing heat through poor cavity wall and loft insulation, they're looking at solar panels (if your house faces the right way), they'll tackle draught proofing and check to make sure your boiler is energy efficient.
They are also checking for double glazing, if you don't have it then they may be able to arrange installation. I'm sure I've had umpteen companies trying to do that for years, despite the fact we have double glazing already!
They are also looking at wall insulation, internal and external, for older houses like ours. There has been a test scheme with an entire row of terrace houses elsewhere in our town being clad with the stuff. You have to get everyone in the street to do it, or it will just look a mess if there are any missing.
As much as I would love to have central heating put in, we can't afford it. That's one thing I may have considered, but it's not within this new scheme it seems.
What we are being told is that we do not have to pay for the work upfront, if the assessor (remember, they don't work for the government, so have a vested interest in selling whatever they can!) says you need work doing, they will come and do it and you'll repay the cost via your electricity bill over so many years. That's based on the energy savings you will make, so they say.
I have signs on the door to say 'no cold callers', the area I live in is designated as a 'no cold calling zone'. I'm looking forward to giving the dog a bit of exercise if they come bothering me with this.
If I want work doing I will look for a suitable contractor myself, perhaps obtaining several quotes. I would never give the job to any Tom, Dick or Harry who knocks on my door, no matter what they say about Government backing. Can't say I've seen many Tom's or Harry's, they always seem to be the other guy who calls.
With this Green Deal, you have no idea if someone else could do the work cheaper, you're stuck with their price. They arrange for the cost to be repaid via your electricity bill. Obviously the energy companies are being paid something to set up and handle this, but they're not telling us that. The assessor and his company are being paid to call on us, on top of any training and set-up costs they've had.
They'll be all smiles and promises, but I'm looking at the effect on my pocket and how I could well be stuck with a charge on my energy bill for years to come that is simply not cost effective.
I'm just warning that this is being launched all over the country. Each assessor company is supposed to be checked out and trained but otherwise are in it for what they can get out of it of course.