GDHIF lasted 30 hours – Well done DECC!
So that’s it! We have just heard from DECC that the £24m set aside to help subsidise the cost of solid wall insulation as part of the GDHIF scheme has all gone – it lasted a little over 30 hours (started 9am on 10th December and the fund was all gone by 3pm on 11th December).
In terms of Government schemes, that must put it up there with one of the most popular of all time.
What it means for the households
Well it is a real kick in the teeth for consumers since they need to delay getting solid wall insulation installed on the home. I say delay, because we have heard that the next tranche of funding will come into play in February. This is when many of the unused vouchers from the first scheme (that lasted 6 weeks!) expire – freeing up funds for the Government to make available.
What we are telling our customers to do is to get all the necessary documents in place so as soon as the scheme goes live they are ready to go. That means that they have the Green Deal report or EPC in hand as well as the quote for the works, which is now required to apply for the voucher.
As soon as the GDHIF scheme goes live again in February, the customer needs to apply for the voucher or risk missing out again.
Over the last 3 days, the phones at TheGreenAge have not stopped ringing as homeowners are trying desperately to book these assessments to be able to apply, but it is now obviously too late!
We appreciate this is not great, but try to take the positives from this – if you have the assessment and now have a quote in place, you have everything you need so next time you can be one of the lucky ones.
What it means for the industry
Well from our point of view, it seems the Government have once again dropped the ball. Talk about a boom and bust industry! A 30-hour lifespan for a new scheme must be some sort of record, but it shows is that the funding levels were again too generous.
£4k is too much – especially when you only need to do 50% of the property. It is not that I wouldn’t want the £4k – on the contrary I would absolutely love it, but you can do a £6k job (roughly 60m2 of wall) and get £4k back – the pay back is just 4-5 years in terms of energy savings to cover your £2k outlay.
There are lots of changes they could make to the scheme to dampen demand, the most obvious would be to reduce the maximum grant down to 3k.
Another change would be to make sure the home gets more than 50% done or the payment is linked to the metre square quantity, for example if the Government subsidised £20/m2 then this would also work.
Based on the fact the Government want to drive the Green Deal, the best way might be to tie the two together, to make Green Deal finance a condition of the grant. It is not perfect, but at least it would see uptake of the Green Deal increase and also dampen demand.
All of these would work, but I think the key is for the Government to talk to industry to find a best way forward. These schemes are encouraging boom and bust economics within the energy efficiency and renewable industry – some sensible investment could sort this out in an instant.