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Michael Browne

Energy-saving Green deal 'unlikely to deliver promises', say experts

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Experts say promises to save money for poorer households and rescue many from fuel poverty cannot be guaranteed


The government's flagship "green deal" home insulation programme provides no guarantee of saving money for cash-strapped households, and is unlikely to rescue many from fuel poverty, experts warned ahead of its formal launch on Monday.


There was also criticism of the interest rate to be offered for the green deal loans, which is set at just under 7%.


The sense of doubt and confusion surrounding the policy was reinforced by a warning from a surveyors' trade body that taking out a green deal loan could cost more than other ways of making home energy efficiency improvements.


Green deal loans can be used by households to pay for improvements such as solid wall insulation. The loans are repaid over a period of years through additions to energy bills, and the responsibility for repayment is passed on with the house to anyone who buys it in the future.


The repayments are supposed to be outweighed by savings from lower energy use, but this is not guaranteed. Calculations are based on estimates of average use and future energy prices. There is also a penalty for early repayment, and consumers must pay up to £150 for their initial assessment and undergo a credit check. Suppliers may also decide to pass a further setup charge of £63 for the loan and annual operating charges of £20 on to customers.



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The Green Deal energy efficiency scheme launches - should you borrow for home improvements?


The government has launched its 'Green Deal' scheme today which aims to pay for energy efficiency improvements in 14million homes with loans that can be repaid through borrowers' energy bills.


There are 45 different types of improvements that householders can pay for under the deal – including boiler replacements, insulation and renewable resources like solar panel installation.

But the benefits of these improvements can only be estimated, while the loans come with up to 7 per cent interest rates and there are upfront costs - so should you sign up?

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