SellingUp/Populus survey – reveals that poor energy efficiency ratings does reduce price of UK house sales

A SellingUp/Populus survey done in October 2015 has revealed that poor energy efficiency ratings is property deal breaker that could ruin a sale.

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the survey suggests property buyers are a greener bunch than realised – or perhaps it is simply the fear of rising energy bills. Whatever the reason, more than one in three (36%) said a poor energy efficiency score would lead them to cut off thousands of pounds from their offer price. A further 23% would reduce their offer by a few hundred pounds and 16% would pull the plug on a purchase entirely.

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Read the full article.

Why does a real person come to read my Smart Meter?

A few days ago, I was surprised to get a visit a home from a meter reader, who had come to read my gas and electricity smart meters. Both meters had been replaced on behalf my utility company – Ovo Energy last March 2015 – with smart meters that take readings every 30 minutes!!

So why does a real person have to come to read my smart meters?

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After some investigation with the very helpful Ovo Energy Customer Service Team, I have now discovered why. After all it would seem pointless installing expensive smart meters and then employ someone to visit the house to take the meter reading. Ultimately, I as the consumer would be paying more. And the current UK government – energy efficiency policy – appears to be focused on encouraging the Utility companies to charge consumers less.

It appears that under current legislation, utility companies as part of their licence conditions to operate have an obligation to supply energy have to:-

  • check for evidence of deterioration that might affect the safety or proper functioning of the meter,
  • check for evidence of tampering or theft, and
  • take a physical meter reading to ensure accurate customer bills.

Ofgem produced a consultation paper and invited comments during a consultation period which closed in September 2015. Their position was:-

“that health and safety obligations in legislation and industry codes, and recently enhanced theft detection and billing accuracy supply licence obligations, are more effective and proportionate ways to achieve the desired policy objectives of meter inspections. We expected repealing the licence conditions would improve competition in the retail energy market. We also thought that repeal would have the greatest potential to enable cost savings from smart meters.”

Ofgem’s preferred option is to:-

“repeal the meter inspection supply licence conditions. This is because we think other regulations and policies, including safety obligations and recently enhanced theft detection and billing accuracy obligations offer more effective and proportionate protections for consumer interests.”

The full Ofgem original Consultation paper can be found here and the final consultation paper here.

These modifications would come into effect on 1 April 2016, subject to appeals made within 56 days from the date Ofgem publish the decision notices.

So home consumers with Smart Meters will no longer get a visit from a Utility Meter Reader – and perhaps bills might go done a bit?

Peter Bates

PS The Meter Reader that came out did not know how to read the Smart Electric Meter!! So how easy is this for consumers? Ovo Energy then sent me the details of which button to press to read the data collected. It turns out that this is quite comprehensive. It’s a pity their current display readers , don’t show all this information! However, Ovo Energy admit they are not as good as they expected and there are plans to upgrade these devices.

Ground Source Heat Pump – using heat from a pond

Here’s an interesting example of getting renewable energy using a ground source heat pump (GSHP) – that takes its heat from the water in a pond rather than from the ground.

The Cambridgeshire householder replaced his gas boiler with a Kensa 24kW Single Phase Twin Compressor GSHP to harness renewable heat energy from a nearby lake to provide space heating and domestic hot water (DHW) to his Grade 2 listed farmhouse.

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pond mats consisting of slinky pipes attached to corrosion resistant stainless steel frames into the lake on a closed loop system. They connected the system up to the heat pump which is housed in an annex building via pipes running under the lawn up to the main house. This method removed the need for large amounts of drilling or digging, thereby reducing the cost and duration of the installation.

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More details of this case study

A GSHP is eligible under the UK government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) – which means that the householder will receive quarterly payments over a seven year period that are likely to cover the capital costs of the installation. Plus the householder is likely to pay less for energy bills.

In order to claim back under RHI a Green Deal Assessment is required. We (pjb Associates) can provide a Green Deal Assessment before or after the installation of a renewable solution like a GSHP. Get an Assessment We can now cover the whole of East Anglia.

UK Government plan to tackle fuel poverty by 2018?

According to an article in Utility Week – the UK government will have a plan to tackle fuel poverty – but not until 2018!!

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Bourne, under-secretary of state for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), said that energy efficiency measures in the wake of the Green Deal and ECO would be “centric to fuel poverty.” He told a meeting of the Energy and Climate Change committee that detailed plans for a single scheme to replace the Green Deal and ECO would not be set out until 2018, with a focus on “how we recast ECO”.

He said once ECO (Energy Company Obligation) comes to a close in 2017, there will be a transitional year before an announcement about how it will be carried on, “likely by spring” the following year. “We are aiming to tackle the severe fuel poor first. We are also hoping to have access to more data by then… Households that can be identified as fuel poor will be prioritised – Ofgem will control that on our (the government) behalf.”

Read the full article published on 19 January 2016

 

£4000 Energy-saving grant for Cambridgeshire homes

A £4000 grant is still available for home-owners of Cambridgeshire homes who require solid-wall insulation (SWI). But, you need to be quick as you will need to get an assessment and sign-up for SWI before 31 March 2016 with installations to be completed by 31 July 2016.

More information on solid wall insulation

There is also a grant for Private Landlords of £4000 for solid wall insulation. In both cases at 25% contribution is required by the owners. Private Landlords will also be able to get an additional £1000 for other approved measures. The funding comes from the Cambridgeshire Green Deal Communities Fund – that originally came from the National government’s Department for Energy and Climate Fund.

When its gone – it’s gone!! 

It’s very unlikely that home-owners will get any more grants like this in the next few years. The current government appears to be moving away from subsidies. So home owners need to move fast.

Over 1000 Cambridgeshire homes have received a grant for solid wall insulation.

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