Land­lords dodg­ing en­ergy rules could cost UK mil­lions

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Front page - By Jil­lian Am­brose

BRI­TAIN’S land­lords could cost the en­ergy sys­tem hun­dreds of mil­lions of pounds by us­ing loop­holes in the Gov­ern­ment’s hous­ing stan­dards to avoid im­prov­ing en­ergy ef­fi­ciency.

Land­lords are ex­pected to file for ex­emp­tions from the forth­com­ing ef­fi­ciency guide­lines to avoid shoul­der­ing the ex­pense of up­grad­ing the coun­try’s most poorly in­su­lated homes, at a ma­jor cu­mu­la­tive cost to en­ergy con­sumers who will pay for new power ca­pac­ity through their bills.

By up­grad­ing 300,000 homes at the low­est end of the en­ergy ef­fi­ciency scale, ten­ants could save £600 off each en­ergy bill. This is the equiv­a­lent of £180m in sav­ings on en­ergy bills over­all, and the cost of build­ing a new gas­fired power plant or two large off­shore wind farms,

Joanne Wade, from the As­so­ci­a­tion for the Con­ser­va­tion of En­ergy, said “the big­ger prize” would be a move to in­clude all homes un­der a C band of en­ergy ef­fi­ciency.

“The to­tal an­nual en­ergy sav­ings would be the equiv­a­lent to turn­ing the Drax coal plant off for eight months, or avoid­ing con­struc­tion of 4GW of new ca­pac­ity,” she told The Sun­day Tele­graph. She added that the en­ergy sav­ings could play a cru­cial role in tack­ling the grow­ing dis­con­tent over ris­ing en­ergy costs – but new plans mak­ing it eas­ier for land­lords to in­vest in warmer homes would be re­quired.

Un­der cur­rent reg­u­la­tion, land­lords can ap­ply for an ex­emp­tion to stan­dards if they can­not re­ceive fund­ing to un­der­take the work at no up­front cost. This rule was in­tro­duced along­side the Green Deal but, af­ter scal­ing back the regime, Ms Wade has warned that land­lords will find it eas­ier to file for an ex­emp­tion. In­stead, it is sug­gested a max­i­mum cost thresh­old of £600 should be set so land­lords can un­der­take sim­ple ef­fi­ciency mea­sures that could re­sult in big en­ergy sav­ings.

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