It’s a question of values.
15th Feb 2021
Dropping into my inbox last week came a great offer – “Get a new boiler under the Green Homes Grant” with costs of up to £10,000 met. Knowing the GHG does not include boilers I filled in the forms, I sensed a scam.
And yes, following an online form completion and follow up call, it was confirmed (reluctantly) that the GHG of £10000 was not available for a new boiler, but I may qualify for a new boiler under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), subject to meeting the criteria (which I knew I wouldn’t nor should I).
So why am I bothered? Well several thoughts came to mind. So let’s go back to ECO. The energy suppliers currently are forced by Government to fund measures to help deliver affordable heat – it includes boiler replacements, insulation, controls etc. If they don’t meet quite stringent targets, then they face a financial penalty.
It strikes me there are better ways of helping households with affordable heat than forcing energy suppliers to deliver the schemes. Pooling the monies, delivering through trusted local partners and combining more readily with other fuel poor support, such as the FPNES are much more cost-effective ways of delivering real help.
The energy suppliers would welcome the threat being removed, who wouldn’t in their shoes. But I think there’s a bigger prize too. Because of the threat, these suppliers make use of data-harvesting companies who, no surprises here, may on occasion stray from telling the truth. Does it matter? Well actually it does. Bad practice, wherever it occurs in the sector reflects upon us all. In the example I mentioned, photographs of boilers made by our members appeared, as if endorsing the advert (which they didn’t).
It then becomes a matter of values. While I may sympathise with the problem the suppliers face, that doesn’t stretch to their use of dodgy tactics employed by their data harvesters. If I were a CEO of an energy supplier, concerned about my reputation in the market place, then I would police this far more aggressively. I would be bold in my ambition to always do what is right for the consumer and that includes those who are data-trawled. The reputation of our industry is at stake, and decent values matter.
Mike Foster, CEO
EUA's Chief Executive
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