Andrew leads our Operational Team and is our expert when it comes to all the ins and outs of car hire excess insurance.
The government's Green Deal has now been with us for around 10 weeks and feedback has been somewhat muted. Though a positive step towards improving the energy efficiency of homes, the scheme has been hampered by some fundamental drawbacks.
The efficiency improvements made to the house are paid for by a loan from a Green Deal Provider who are in turn loaned the money by the government. The loan is registered against the property and payments are collected through your electricity bill.
Under the scheme, your payments should not exceed the savings you are anticipated to make on your energy bills. These savings are estimated using Green Deal approved software calculations so we don't yet know how accurate, pessimistic or optimistic they are. There is therefore no guarantee that you will actually save money on your energy bills.
If you move house, the new owner will have to take over the loan repayments – hardly a great selling point, whereas a well insulated and efficient home with low bills can be.
Typical interest rates seem to be around the 7% mark, though the actual rate is set by your Green Deal Provider. As this is a long term loan on significant sums, you really should consider your options. If you have sufficient equity in your house, you could save substantial amounts by borrowing the money by extending your mortgage for example and benefit directly from the lower interest rates and lower energy bills. The drawback of this is that the loan would be your responsibility and of course, your home can be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
There is another significant issue with the Green Deal. Smaller energy companies have not been forced to sign up to the Green Deal and have avoided the extra administration costs by not doing so. This limits your choice of energy companies to the Big Six. As our energy comparison service Energylinx say:
"..the UK is home to 19 domestic energy suppliers with 24 different brands – and the cheapest deals for customers are increasingly not being offered from the UK's Big Six suppliers.
"By restricting Green Deal customers to just a quarter of the energy market, homeowners are effectively signing on to a 25-year sentence of substantially higher energy bills, with 7% interest to boot.
Big Six supplier EDF Energy have just launched Blue + Price Promise February 2015 tariff replacing their previous June 2015 tariff but around £15* a year more expensive.
To illustrate the point, EDF's new tariff is the cheapest of the Big Six but is still beaten by two of the smaller energy companies with EDF being over £65* more expensive than newcomer Flow Energy and £10 more than Ovo Energy. It should be mentioned that EDF do not charge exit fees on their tariff and the fix was for longer than the smaller companies.
Find out how much you could save on your energy bill using the MoneyMaxim energy comparison service.
*Price comparison today 10/04/2013 calculated using standard usage figures of 3,300kWh electricity and 16,500kWh gas in the RG41 postcode area.