UK Government

Department of Energy and Climate Change: Copenhagen starts at home – Miliband

Press Release   •   Dec 07, 2009 11:37 GMT

First day of global climate talks kick off today in Copenhagen
- Great British Refurb trials to pioneer financing of home energy makeovers
- Energy Bill to get fair deal for consumers and support clean coal

As talks aimed at securing a global climate deal kicked off in Copenhagen today, UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband announced steps in the UK aimed at helping householders make their contribution to cutting emissions.  The Government’s Energy Bill, also has its second reading in the Commons today.

Homeowners in Birmingham, Sunderland, London Borough of Sutton and Stroud will be testing out new ways to finance whole house energy makeovers under the Government’s £4m Pay As You Save scheme.  Following an open competition, Birmingham City Council, Gentoo Sunderland, British Gas, B&Q UK and Stroud District Council have been chosen to deliver individual projects in the first ever UK trials.

The Home Energy Pay As You Save pilots will give households the opportunity to invest in energy efficiency and microgeneration technologies in their homes with no upfront cost.  Householders will make repayments spread over a long enough period so that repayments are lower than their predicted energy bill savings, meaning financial and carbon savings are made from day one.

A total of around 500 homes across England will take part in the trial which will provide evidence of how to foot the bill for the Great British Refurb – the Government’s plan to make the 22 million existing homes in the UK more energy efficient.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said:

“The next two weeks in Copenhagen are crunch time for the planet.  The UK has taken a lead in putting solutions on the table throughout the process so far and I’ll not rest until we have the most ambitious, effective and fair deal possible.

“Our credibility abroad is based on our ambition at home.  We’re the first country to put carbon targets into law, and our target of an 80% reduction by 2050 is one of the most ambitious.

“Many British householders want to reduce their emissions, but are put off by the upfront cost of installing insulation, solar panels or ground source heat pumps.  Pay As You Save will trial different ways of paying for this work so it’s affordable.

“One quarter of the UK’s total emissions come from homes, so householders have to be a part of the solution to climate change.  Increasing the energy efficiency of homes not only helps reduce emissions, but will also help reduce fuel bills.”

DECC is keen to learn whether the PAYS scheme is attractive to consumers and how, in the medium term, it could be a method for enabling more householders to invest in the energy efficiency of their homes.

The Energy Bill, which receives its Second Reading in the Commons today will:

Protect vulnerable households

- By providing mandatory social price support, such as in the form of an electricity bill rebate. This builds on the success of the voluntary agreement with energy companies which ends in 2011 and has helped reduce the fuel bills of more than one million vulnerable customer accounts. The level of support to be provided through the new mandated scheme will be greater than the £150m committed by suppliers in the final year of the agreement.

- Making absolutely clear that Ofgem, the energy market regulator, must:
- include the reduction of carbon emissions and the delivery of secure energy supplies in their assessment of the interests of consumers
- step in proactively to protect consumers as well as considering longer term actions to promote competition.

- Giving Ofgem additional powers to tackle market exploitation where companies might take advantage of constraints in the electricity transmission grid. 
- Strengthening the deterrent nature of Ofgem’s powers by extending the time limit from 12 months to 5 years within which Ofgem can impose financial penalties for breaches of licence conditions.

Put UK at the forefront of developing CCS technology

- The new CCS Incentive will support the construction of up to four commercial-scale CCS demonstration projects in the UK.

- The CCS Incentive could also provide funding for the retrofit of demonstration projects to their full capacity, should it be required in future.

- This Bill will strengthen the UK’s leadership position in the development of clean coal technologies that could bring between £2-4 billion a year into the UK economy by 2030, and support between 30,000-60,000 in jobs such as engineering, manufacturing and procurement.

Notes to editors

1. The PAYS pilot will run until April 2011.

2. Around 500 homes across England will take part

3. A total of £4m in funding has been awarded from DECC to pay for the pilots. The pilot is managed by the Energy Saving Trust. The Energy Saving Trust ( is the UK's leading organisation set up to try and prevent climate change by helping everybody to cut carbon dioxide emissions – the main greenhouse gas causing climate change – from their homes and transport. For free energy saving advice call a local Energy Saving Trust advice centre on 0800 512 012.

4. The pilot will run with 5 partners:

Gentoo Group Ltd
Registered Social Landlord, Gentoo Group Ltd will be working with householders in the North East. Over the next 18 months Gentoo will identify a mix of both void and occupied properties in the Sunderland area which they will retrofit with energy efficiency and microgeneration measures.

Press Office contact – Sarah Todd, tel: 0191 525 5981, email:

British Gas
British Gas will be trialing energy efficiency packages in the South East as part of the pilot. For the Pay As You Save package, British Gas will offer homeowners microgeneration and energy efficiency measures at no upfront cost.  The customer will make regular repayments to British Gas to pay for the measures and will start saving energy from day one. The energy bill saving over the lifetime of the products will exceed these repayments.  The second finance option to be trialed will be repayments over a shorter period of time with the customer potentially paying some of the upfront cost. British Gas will use its experience in marketing and communications to identify households that would be interested in energy efficiency and microgeneration.  Interested households will receive a free energy efficiency audit and be provided with a personalised energy saving report before choosing the measures and financial package best suited to them. From the trial, British Gas and the Energy Saving Trust will learn which communications methods, financial plans and energy measures customers prefer.  This information will be used to help stimulate this important market.
Press Office contact – 0845 072 8002

Birmingham City Council
Birmingham City Council’s activity will form part of the £35m Green New Deal (GND) project. For the PAYS project householders will receive whole house assessments. The project will be delivered in partnership with Birmingham Credit Unions which will manage the repayment process. The project will seek to co-ordinate other regional or local funding on behalf of householders.

Press Office contact - Kris Kowalewski, Birmingham City Council, tel: 0121 303 3621

B&Q UK will lead a PAYS project in partnership with the London Borough of Sutton and the Bioregional Development Group (BDG). To deliver the project B&Q UK will develop its advice services to include training for Eco Advisers and the introduction of a ‘Shop Within A Shop’. Homeowners will be allocated a project manager to help them through the entire process.  London Borough of Sutton will manage the repayment process and BDG will support with training and evaluation.

Press Office contact – ZPR, tel: 0207 896 3404 or email:
Stroud District Council
As part of Stroud District Council’s (SDC) wider programme of carbon reductions – Target 2050, it will work with Severn Wye Energy Agency (SWEA) to deliver energy saving home improvements to local homes.  SDC will manage the repayment process and SWEA will project manage the advice and installation process throughout. The pilot will help to build further upon the local network of installers and ‘exemplar homes’ which illustrate the process of reducing carbon emissions from a range of existing house types.

Press Office contact – Stroud District Council, Kam Mistry, tel: 01453 754385,  email:
SWEA, Catrin Maby, tel: 01452 835060 email:

5. For more information on the Energy Bill:

6. The Department of Energy and Climate Change is central to the UK Government’s leadership on climate change.  We are pushing hard for an ambitious global deal in Copenhagen in December to avert the most dangerous impacts.  Through our UK Low Carbon Transition Plan we are giving householders and businesses the incentives and advice they need to cut their emissions, we are enabling the energy sector’s shift to the trinity of renewables, new nuclear and clean coal, and we are stepping up the fight against fuel poverty.


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