Previously unpublished research conducted by the Government revealed that disabled people and older people are the least likely to take advantage of energy efficiency programmes due to the fear of incurring debt or because of their complexity. The Department for Energy and Climate Change accesses the take-up and perceptions of many people following the Energy Company Obligation and the green deal and discovered that these two specific groups were the least likely to take part.
The green deal offers loans to those who take advantage of it to make green improvements to their homes. In exchange, home owners pay back the loans via their energy bills so that they can continue to make improvements that help to lower the overall costs of energy consumption. The scheme was introduced to help vulnerable and low income groups make improvements to their homes.
This past March, the National Energy Action charity took a close look at families and households with disabilities, older people, and those that had long term health conditions via focus groups. They discovered that although many of these groups are struggling with the costs of utility bills such as heating, they are not willing to take any green energy saving measures because they are worried about the financial commitment that comes with more debt.
In addition, the group found that the financial climate was a hindrance, and that the ECO was too complex for them to understand. Instead, they felt that voluntary organisations and local authorities were a better source of information. While the research showed that people like the idea of pay as you go that is emphasised in the green deal, the public is worried about adding any more set costs to their bills.