Learning from CERT and CESP for ECO

The first event in the Delivering Energy Efficiency series, in partnership with EDF Energy, was held on 13 November 2012 and was hosted by Pinsent Masons. The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is due to take over the obligations from the current Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) programmes when these expire at the end of 2012. This event was designed to explore what lessons might be carried forward from CERT and CESP to successfully deliver ECO.

The first presentation was made by Nigel Turner, Warm Zones Manager, of EDF Energy/London Warm Zones, who began with a comprehensive overview of the three programmes. He particularly highlighted the challenges in identifying and engaging vulnerable people who are in fuel poverty, and those in priority groups. Nigel shared the success of the London Warm Zone programme in integrating schemes and funding sources to deliver energy efficiency measures in a streamlined manner. To date, more than 57,000 homes in London have received measures through this initiative.

John Mathers, Fuel Poverty Officer at LB Haringey, shared the success his borough had in driving demand for energy efficiency measures. Personalised letters from the borough were delivered to 5,800 targeted households in summer 2012, and have resulted in 436 completed installations and a further 32 pending installations to-date. The provision of John’s direct contact information in the initial contact letter, along with the letter being sent directly from the borough, appears to have driven a great deal of this uptake.

In the roundtable discussion that followed, the challenges in identifying those in fuel poverty and in priority groups were explored. There are particular difficulties in making door-to-door approaches, from both cold-calling restricted zones and from resident wariness of door-to-door marketing. Employing existing community networks as champions of energy efficiency programmes has been successful in some of London boroughs represented by event attendees. Continually changing energy efficiency programmes were said to cause somewhat of a stop-start nature in delivery, which was identified by participants as a challenge for longer-term planning, for integrating community organisations into delivery, and for ensuring price stability. Engaging the third sector, the able-to-pay sector, and those involved in the property sector were suggested as important tools to overcome these difficulties and successfully deliver ECO. In meeting price stability challenges, establishing more open-ended procurement agreements and exploring joint procurement between boroughs may be ways forward.

Nigel Turner’s presentation is available below.