New energy saving targets to cost homeowners more than £7bn

3/2/2010 Guardian Homeowners will be able to take out loans for thousands of pounds to pay for insulation and solar panels, under legislation proposed by the government.Finance for loft insulation and other energy saving improvements is expected to
come from retailers like B&Q and banks like the Co-op.

Well-off homeowners will be expected to borrow more than £7bn over the next
decade to meet ambitious government energy saving targets announced today.
Local authorities will be encouraged to borrow the money needed to make
buildings greener and meet local carbon emission reduction targets, for example
by entering into public-private partnerships.
Energy suppliers will be required to meet about 60% of the estimated £18.6bn
cost of insulating most of the UK’s homes, for which the poorest households will
not have to pay. Suppliers will pass these costs on to their customers, but
energy secretary Ed Miliband insisted the targets would not lead to additional
utility bill rises.
Under legislation proposed today, homeowners would be able to take out loans for
thousands of pounds to install loft or wall insulation or solar panels. These
loans would be fixed against the home, so that if the borrower moved out, they
would not have to continue to pay.
The new owner would inherit the annual charge to pay for the green measures, but
would also continue to benefit from the resulting lower energy bills. The
government said that the finance – expected to come from retailers such as B&Q
and banks including the Co-op – would initially be available on a small scale
from 2012, although this would improve.
The government said that cavity wall and loft insulation should be installed in
every home where possible by 2015. It also said that up to 7m “eco-upgrades”,
involving the installation of micro-generation technology such as heat pumps and
solar panels, should be carried out by 2020. Energy companies such as British
Gas will also be required to work more with local authorities to upgrade entire
streets and areas.
Under the government’s energy efficiency scheme, companies can mostly target who
they like on a piecemeal basis, leading to criticism that many householders who
are difficult to contact – usually those on lower incomes – do not benefit.
John Healey, the housing minister, said: “Some energy companies dealing with
individuals at the moment are calling the shots. But under the new system they
will have to work with local authorities.”
Miliband also promised there would be more monitoring of companies’ activities
for the future scheme, which will run from 2013 to 2020. Andrew Warren, director
of the Association for the Conservation of Energy, welcomed the announcement but
said: “We can’t afford a laissez-faire attitude and the assumption that everyone
is a decent chap. The record to date on monitoring has not been

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