Simon Cunningham writes in The Irish Times about new proposals to incentivise energy efficiency in the north have been blasted as ‘ill-conceived’ by Manufacturing Northern Ireland. Have you had the same reaction in your country?
Proposals for energy efficiency scheme ‘illogical’ say Manufacturing NI
THE body that represents the majority of the north’s large energy users has blasted a government plan to increase energy efficiency as “ill-conceived” and “illogical”.
Manufacturing Northern Ireland was responding to proposals by the newly formed Department for the Economy for a new EnergyWise scheme.
The initiative, jointly proposed by the Utility Regulator, aims to meet European requirements to achieve 1.5 per cent year on year energy savings.
A new scheme is required to replace the Northern Ireland Sustainable Energy Framework which closes in March 2017.
It would carry on the work of grant schemes such as those to encourage the uptake of insulation or boiler replacement initiatives,
The department is considering three options to pay for the scheme which will cost £8 million a year to run.
It could add up to £10.16 onto average domestic energy bills a year – or as little as £3.78.
But the cheaper option for households – the main beneficiary of the scheme – would lumber the north’s 185 largest energy users with an additional £8,600 on bills.
And Manufacturing NI has cried foul on the proposals which it branded “unworkable and unwelcome” and had been made without adequate consultation and would unjustly increase bills.
The organisation said the plan could increase the gap of energy costs between Northern Ireland and the Republic which would “reduce competitiveness and thwart ambitions to grow the economy”.
In its response to the consultation, it said: “From a regulatory perspective, we fail to see how exposing consumers to larger bills, supporter the collection of a levy from which the consumer cannot benefit, protects consumers now and in the future.
“In our view, the Utility Regulator cannot offer its support for the department’s proposal and should be pushing back the departments proposals as unfair and unwarranted.”
Rather than adding to bills, Manufacturing NI said, “funding for domestic home energy efficiency should come from government sources; through borrowing (repaid through rents from social housing) and/or those who directly benefit from it themselves”.
The consultation period closed yesterday.
The document outlined: “It should be noted that under current EnergyWise proposals, only the domestic sector can avail of grant support from the EnergyWise scheme.
“This will include consumers on a combined residential/business tariff as long as the energy efficiency measure are for the domestic property.”