British households can cut their bills and make their home energy efficient at no upfront cost under a new scheme launched today by British Gas.
The Home Energy Plan will enable British households to install measures like new efficient boilers, insulation and solar panels at no upfront cost or with a small deposit with repayments being paid over the next five, ten or fifteen years.
The monthly repayments will be highlighted on the customer's energy bill. Customers can choose a finance plan which sees monthly repayments covered by the savings made by being more energy efficient. So if a customer saves £40 a month by having a range of efficiency measures installed, the customer may be able to choose to make repayments less than £40 a month – so they can start saving from day one.
The programme, the first scheme of its kind to launch in the country, is a forerunner to the Government's flagship energy efficiency policy, the Green Deal.
Basic efficiency measures can have a big impact on energy bills. Earlier this year, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) conducted the largest ever independent analysis of natural gas use in British homes based on 40 million meter readings. The report found that customers who adopted a range of simple measures saved on average £322 each year, and saw a 44 per cent fall in their gas use between 2006 and 2010 (1).
Customers signing up to the Home Energy Plan will receive a free, no-obligation survey of their home by a British Gas energy expert. The energy expert will take the customer through the home, room by room, recommending and explaining tailored measures and, through their tablet PC, show the customer the annual savings they could make as a result.
A full range of measures from British Gas are part of the Home Energy Plan(2). Customers will be able to save energy through measures such as cavity wall and loft insulation and voltage optimisation units which save electricity. Energy generation technology will also be available under the plan including solar panels, air source heat pumps and a new generation of boiler that also generates electricity for use in the home. All solutions will be tailored to the specific needs of the home.
Jon Kimber, Managing Director of British Gas New Energy, said: "We know that household budgets are stretched at the moment but rising energy prices don't have to mean higher bills. Britain's housing stock is some of the most inefficient in the developed world with £1 in every £4 spent on heating our homes wasted because of poor insulation. Under our offer, customers can improve their homes and save money by cutting bills – all at no upfront cost.
"Basic efficiency measures can make a difference. Our customers who install a range of measures save £322 a year on average."
(1) A copy of the British Gas Home Energy Report 2011 can be downloaded here. The £322 figure is based on British Gas customers installing loft and cavity wall insulation and a new energy efficient boiler.
(2) A full range of measures are offered for either upfront payment (small ticket items like eco-kettles) or under the Home Energy Plan. The measures are:
• Efficient heating products: A-rated boilers, ground-source heat pump, air-source heat pump, solar thermal, pipe wrap, water tank jacket, thermostatic radiator valves, programmable thermostats.
• Keeping the heat in: Cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, solid wall insulation.
• Saving electricity: Voltage optimisation, eco-kettles, efficient lighting, electricity monitors, standby savers.
• Generating electricity: Solar PV, Baxi Ecogen Boiler (stirling engine).
(3) The finance product is a fixed term loan agreement with a fixed APR of 6.9%. There are 3 loan periods available – 5, 10 and 15 year periods. The energy expert will advise which of these terms are best to meet the energy saving recommendation given. Payments will be made by direct debit from your account. A summary of the payments made since your last energy bill will be provided on your British Gas energy bill for your information.
(4) Eligible customers must be British Gas energy customers, pay by direct debit and own their own home.