If I was Prime Minister for a day

These are the changes I would make to the industry:

A coherent plan for domestic heat
84% of UKs homes are heated by gas. Currently the government’s efforts appear to be directed at electricity but, unless we propose the wholesale scrapping of every single gas boiler we need a plan that takes into account a slow decommissioning of gas boilers alongside a simultaneous ramping up of our reliance on renewables, first through hot water and then through central heating.

Reduce the capital cost of renewable technologies with a sensible pay-as-you-save scheme
Both major parties have now embraced the idea of pay-as-you-save scheme. This is proposed finance on renewables where you pay slightly less than you are saving and as we move on average every 12 years the idea is that the finance stays with the house.

Reinstate consequential improvements into proposals for the next changes to the Building Regulations
The abandonment of the consequential improvements clause in the last revision of the Building Regulations was a serious blow for the heating industry. I prefer the ‘carrot’ to the ‘stick’ but the reinstatement of the clause which forces consumers to upgrade heating systems when major building projects, such as extensions, are planned is a must.

Reform the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS)
MCS is acting as a barrier to the uptake of renewable technologies rather than a facilitator. Renewables oversight is important but we must make it less of a burden. It is expensive, doesn’t yield great benefit for the householder or the installer and protects so much that they are not having renewables at all.

Widen the scrappage scheme
This was fantastic but limited to only 125,000 applicants. There could be 8 million! If we have any real change of hitting our climate change targets, this scheme needs to be enlarged so that all households with a Band G boiler can take part. A client of ours took advantage of this and he had a new boiler installed for £1000, some £2000 less than British Gas would have charged him and should pay for itself in 4 years.

Implement a comprehensive retrofit scheme
To take lower income families out of fuel poverty, we also need to implement a comprehensive retrofit strategy.

Start a consumer engagement and information campaign
All too often the debate is centred on climate change and how it will effect a small Pacific islands which is a barrier to the uptake of renewable technologies. We need to bring the debate much closer to home by extolling the virtues of increased efficiency with a comprehensive public information campaign.

Place the engineer at the heart of domestic energy strategy
Gas engineers are all too often ignored when it comes to implementing energy strategy and yet it is them to whom the householder turns for advice on how to heat their home, not the government, energy supplier or heating equipment manufacturer.

Invest in a comprehensive training programme
We need a comprehensive training programme for renewables akin to the energy efficiency training back in 2005 put in place for Part L.

Pledge to keep the next Energy Minister in place for at least the full term of the next Parliament
Energy minister – 12 incumbents in 12 years and hundred of consultation documents. The industry needs continuity and hopefully the new Energy minister will stay in post for the whole term.

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One Response to If I was Prime Minister for a day

  • Jasper says:

    It looks like today could be the day that the post-election uncertainty is sorted out, but any coalition or partnership formed by the Conservatives and Lib Dems might only last long enough to tackle the deficit. It might be that the Prime Minister, let alone the Energy Minister, fails to last a full term. Incentives for microgeneration, which have helped to boost interest in SolarUK’s product in recent months, look sure to continue.

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