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How to save with the Green Deal scheme

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This handy guide explains all about the Government's energy efficiency initiative launching on Monday.

The Green Deal initiative launches on 28 January. It will offer households and businesses the opportunity to undertake a wide range of energy efficiency property upgrades at no upfront cost.

They will be able to pay for the work through a modest levy on their energy bills that will not exceed the savings that result from the improvements.

There has been a lot written in the press about the Green Deal since the energy efficiency home improvement scheme was written into government legislation on 1 October.

But as a consumer, where do you stand and where can you find out more?

Here are the need-to-know facts:

How do I get a Green Deal Plan?

You need to have an assessment to see if you qualify for Green Deal Finance and what home improvement measures can be installed on your property.

A Green Deal Assessor will visit you in your home, talk to you about your property and your energy use and help you decide if you could benefit from Green Deal improvements.

What happens during the Green Deal Assessment?

To give you an accurate assessment, your assessor (who is sometimes called a Green Deal Adviser) may ask you numerous questions such as:

• How many people live in your home
• The types of appliances and heating used
• How often the heating system is used
• If you have any current energy-saving measures installed
• Whether you own or rent the property
• Whether your home is in a conservation area, built before 1900 or constructed in a non-traditional way

The assessor will recommend improvements and indicate whether they are expected to pay for themselves through reduced energy costs.

The actual energy savings will depend on how much energy you use and the future costs of energy.

The cost of the improvements will depend on the price quoted by Green Deal Providers. All of this information will be provided to you in a Green Deal Advice Report.

What happens after the Green Deal Assessment?

Your assessor should give you an understanding of the types of improvements you could make to your home. But they should also give you various documents such as:

• An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) showing the energy use of a typical household of your type, plus suggestions for improvements.

• An Occupancy Assessment (OA) showing how your household uses energy.

• Some recommendations for reducing your energy use and the savings you can expect from the improvements.

What should I do next?

You can start getting quotations from a future Green Deal Provider such as Green Deal Central. They will be able to recommend specific products, goods and services, and then give you a quote for the cost of the work and enter you into a Green Deal Plan.

How do I get a Green Deal Plan and what does it include?

Green Deal Providers such as Green Deal Central can provide the conditions needed for entering into a plan, such as the rate of interest and repayment amounts.

Once you’re happy they can write up a Green Deal Plan contract which outlines the repayments, including the fixes interest charges.

Repayments will be fixed and will include costs associated with the administration and provision of credit for the Green Deal Plan.

Repayments will be based on what a typical household is expected to save on energy bills. The Green Deal is designed to try to save you at least as much money as you will have to repay.

However the actual level of your savings will depend on how much energy you use and the future cost of energy.

But if you use less energy than a typical household you can, if you want, you can take out a Green Deal Plan based on the typical savings shown on the Energy Performance Certificate.

However, then your repayments are likely to be higher than your savings and therefore your energy bills are likely to go up overall – at least in the short-term until the installations are paid off.

How do I pay back the finance?

Green Deal repayments will be collected by the electricity supplier and passed on to the Green Deal Provider.

Once a year you will be sent a statement and you can request statements. You can also pay back the plan early, but that may incur a charge.

What if I move?

The Green Deal Plan stays part of the property so the new occupier will be responsible. The EPC on the home will detail whether there is a Green Deal attached to a home.

If you are the new bill payer and believe you were not informed of the Green Deal Plan, you should dispute the charges with your Green Deal Provider within 90 days of first being notified.

You can switch supplier under the Green Deal and the new supplier will take on the Plan.

What are my rights as a Green Deal consumer?

There is an important rights and protections procedure which applies under the Consumer Credit Act 1974. This gives you a cooling off period and rules around exit arrangements and early repayments.

For more information contact Green Deal Central.


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