Around a quarter of households in rural areas are fuel poor, and in recent years the Warm Front scheme has been successful in improving energy efficiency and reducing fuel bills for many of those homes. Now that the taxpayer scheme is being phased out, OFTEC is concerned that the measures proposed in the Green Deal may not be as effective as Warm Front.
Jeremy Hawksley, OFTEC director general said: “Under the Green Deal proposals, energy efficiency improvements will be financed through higher long-term electricity bills for the householder. The Green Deal needs to recognise that fuel poor households may be unable or unwilling to accept higher bills, and therefore it is unlikely there will be a significant take up of the Green Deal in rural areas. Although the scheme plans to provide assistance for both the hardest to reach and hardest to treat properties, it must focus initially on the fuel poor as a priority.”
In its written response, OFTEC also advocated a means-tested approach to the winter fuel payment, which should only be paid in the form of a fuel voucher as opposed to the current cash payment. OFTEC also called for mandatory servicing of oil-fired appliances in the private rented sector, and for a more robust approach to the enforcement of existing legislation to make sure that heating systems are installed and commissioned correctly.