The Government is talking to big national retailers about delivering the Green Deal, yet our poll on YouGen found that 84% of people would trust locally-based, specialist suppliers more than national retailers such as M&S, Tesco (15%).
The idea for the poll came from Greg Barker saying that “the other exciting thing about the green deal is that it is not just reliant on the big six energy companies, which have mixed reputations, but brings in some of our most trusted high street retailers and brands, such as Marks and Spencer and Tesco, which have strong degrees of consumer trust,” during the energy efficiency debate at the end of June.
I was really concerned when I heard that. Retrofitting existing housing to make it more energy efficient isn’t a pile it high, sell it cheap business. Every house is different, as is the way people live in them. These things have to be taken into consideration and consumers need expert advice on the best solution for their circumstances.
Past grant schemes for insulation have tended to be one dimensional, with little regard for choice. It’s mineral wool or nothing under most of them. I hope that the Green Deal, which has a much more ambitious reach in terms of numbers covered, will also offer householders choice as to products and measures – as long as they meet the goals of reducing carbon emissions and reducing the total energy bill. This will need the involvement of local and specialist companies, as well as the big national ones.
Not only will this offer choice, but it also will help boost local businesses to provide the green jobs that Nick Clegg was talking about last week, and give consumers some peace of mind. The reputation of smaller, local companies depends on word of them delivering good service, and word soon gets out if they don’t. The nationals are much more likely to sub-contract the work losing the level of accountability for customers.