Green Deal Providers
Under the government’s new Green Deal initiative, residential and commercial property owners will be able to apply for funding in order for them to improve their energy efficiency. Under the established guidelines, only Green Deal assessors are able to identify and recommend what improvements can be made. Once an assessor has completed his inspection the customer is then at liberty pass on the relevant information, including an Energy performance certificate (EPC), to a private organisation that will then fund the energy improvements. These private organisations are known as Green Deal providers.
Green Deal providers will offer the unique opportunity to have the energy improvements full or part funded and the customer can then repay any outstanding sum through their energy bills. Although unlikely, customers will be able to fund the improvments as they please, covering all costs upfront, in whole or in part. This enables customers to spread the cost of financing their energy efficiency improvements over an agreed period that is convenient to them. Once a customer has contacted a Green Deal Provider, the Green Deal providers would then be able to provide the customer with a detailed quote for the improvements, including the amount of repayments and the time scale in which they are to be repaid.
The Green Deal providers will tailor the Assessors recommendations to the customers’ budget, requirements and circumstances. Green Deal providers, however, are under no obligation to recoup the Green Deal funding that is provided by them. Green Deal providers notify the customers’ energy company, who will alter the customers’ energy bills with the repayments. Once the repayments commence the energy company will notify Green Deal providers and pass the funds, obtaine via the Green Deal, back to Green Deal providers.
The green deal initiative differs from conventional loans as the repayment obligations are passed on to future occupants or owners. Due to the fact Green Deal finance is not treated as a conventional loan, Green Deal providers should not take into account a customers’ credit history or conduct any form of means testing.
In order for consumers to have confidence in Green Deal Providers there are a number of codes of practice and protections in place that must be followed by Green Deal providers. Although these will vary depending on the customers’ needs and circumstances. For example, Green Deal providers must ensure that they are completely transparent with all finance claims, detailing what the total cost of the improvements are going to be, the amount the instalments will be and the period in which they are to be repaid. Green Deal providers must also ensure that they operate fairly under the consumer credit act, thus preventing any misleading selling practices. In compliance with the consumer credit act, Green Deal providers must also have contingencies in place should a customer default on their repayments.
Green Deal providers have as much to gain from the Green Deal as consumers do, profiting from the interest accrued on the Green Deal finance provided to the customer. Should they stick to the guidelines and protective framework being produced by the government, there is also real potential that they can improve their public image.