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Business Companion launches installer guide to help steer UK’s Net Zero targets

The UK’s commitment to reach Net Zero emissions by 2050 has signalled the launch of a number of initiatives around domestic green energy production and consumption, leading to a competitive surge in the number of firms offering installation services.

With that, the Business Companion service has launched a guide for such firms to ensure standards are met following the announcement of the government’s £3.9 billion in funding for heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency measures under the Public Sector Decarbonisation scheme.

New technologies and the pace of change, coupled with the surge in demand due to climate change concerns and the rising cost of oil and gas mean traders will need to understand the complexities of their responsibilities to their customers and their businesses.

‘A carbon free future requires competent, reliable and highly skilled tradespeople. We hope the guide will attract a new generation of reputable installers,’ said Adrian Simpson, a green energy expert and part of the team that constructed the guidance.

‘The road to net zero is not a fad, it is here to stay and will form an important part of our lives until 2050 and beyond,’ he added.

The five part guide has been created by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to inform businesses installing green energy technology in existing homes of the processes they are required to follow by law. It includes consumable guidance on how to become a fully certified installer, best practices, incentives schemes and the protections put in place for consumers.

At its core, the law states that organisations operating in the home renewables sector must prove that they are qualified and competent to sell and install relevant technologies. This includes registering with Certification Bodies such as the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) or TrustMark, and Consumer Codes such as the Home Insulation and Energy Systems scheme (HIES), or the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC). Certification Bodies check paperwork to ensure the necessary qualifications have been met but also inspect fieldwork, while signing up to a Consumer Code requires a business to demonstrate they have the ‘integrity, capacity and procedures’ in place to abide by consumer law.

It is hoped that the guidance will prevent a repeat of the Green Homes deal, which took place in 2015/16. In that scheme, consumers had energy saving measures installed in their homes and the government guaranteed the costs would be met from the savings made in energy bills. The scheme collapsed after a year and half with scores of consumers taking traders to court under charges of poor and negligent workmanship.

According to Virginia Graham, chief executive of RECC, installers who break the rules fall into two categories. ‘One is because the trader is not aware. So, they might breach by mistake, without really knowing. The other category is traders who would breach on purpose. For the first category, it might be a question of just getting them to sign a consent order that they understand what the breach is and that they won't be doing it again.

‘With the latter category, then it is a little bit harder. They could be failing to insure their workmanship warranties or their deposits, or they could be signing contracts with companies and then they are not the ones who are carrying out the installations. We would tend more to take disciplinary action in those cases.’


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