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HIES Blog

Scottish Parliament Debate on Consumer Protection for Home Efficiency and Renewable Energy

 

It’s always a pleasure to be in Edinburgh whether for work or relaxation, and after a 10 year absence I managed to go twice in two weeks. Firstly to celebrate my wife’s 30th Birthday and earlier this week to attend the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Consumer Protection for Home Efficiency and Renewable Energy chaired by Clare Haughey MSP.

Scotland is really leading the way in the UK for renewables and the Government has an ambitious target of 100% of Scottish domestic energy to come from renewables by 2020. In a land of contrasting weather it makes sense to use the environment to their advantage and save consumers money, and most importantly save the environment. These thoughts were brought down to earth by some of the horror stories shared by representatives from a Citizen’s Advice Bureau as well as an Ayrshire action group. They detailed the systematic, fraudulent abuse of the Green Deal scheme by one particular rogue trader that has left consumers with poor quality installations and in some cases, unable to sell their own homes due to financial charges on the property. An enterprising member of the CAB had gone through consumer protection legislation and looked for a way to assist consumers. This made me think that where legislation doesn’t always cover consumers it is down to industry to look for self-regulation solutions and with dwindling resources in the consumer protection world such as cuts to trading standards budgets it really is important that self-regulation is given a platform.

We look forward to the next meeting in May.

 

Adrian Simpson
Assistant Director of Consumer Policy

 

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Avoid Solar PV Health Check Scams

HIES are aware of an increasing number of consumers who are being contacted by companies regarding their Solar PV installations. These companies are cold calling consumers claiming that they are working in conjunction with, on behalf of or in partnership with HIES, The Insurance Backed Guarantee Company (IBG Co.) or MCS.

We would like to reassure consumers that HIES has not partnered with any companies and have not and will not ever pass on any contact details.

Consumers have been contacted and offered the following services:
   • Maintenance
   • Upgrades
   • Safety checks
   • Inverter checks
   • Buy back solar solutions

HIES, as a consumer code, is concerned about these calls and are taking the matter seriously. We will be working closely with MCS and Trading Standards to ensure that consumers are protected and are aware of these scams and know how to protect themselves.

If you feel like you have been affected or are unsure if a company is genuine or not, we would advise you seek advice from Citizens Advice Helpline: 03454 040506 or, to confirm if you are registered with HIES, call us on 0344 324 5242.

Sales of Heat Pumps and Biomass Boilers

Last month, the Government announced new tariffs and rules for the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive which came into force on 20th September 2017. These changes present a great opportunity for installers to expand their sales of air source and ground source heat pumps and biomass boilers.

In the case of air source heat pumps, the available tariff for most properties will rise by 33% to 10.18 p/kWh.

However, the government have also introduced some restrictions with a requirement for heat demand caps and, in due course, requirements for metering. The former will have a particular impact upon performance calculations for mid-sized domestic properties.


This is particularly complex for the calculations concerning heat pumps and biomass boilers. As a result, HIES risk managers have considered the best way to implement these regulatory changes for members.

We have decided to support members by making it a requirement of demonstrating compliance with our Code of Practice that all members selling air source or ground source heat pumps or biomass boilers submit their energy performance calculations for installations to be independently validated by a third party certification such as The Energy Performance Validation Scheme (EPVS), www.epvs.co.uk, or an equivalent scheme.

The independent validation process will ensure that consumers have full confidence in the performance characteristics of the installation.

If you have any questions please contact HIES on 0344 324 5242 or email info@hiesscheme.org.uk.

 

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