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Weekly column by EUA's Chief Executive Mike Foster

This week I attended another industry roundtable, this time around the Bonfield Review but looking at "industry financing" (around £25 million) of advice, guidance, standards and enforcement. Once again under Chatham House rules so I can't say who said what, but I'm open about what I say privately, I say the same thing publicly too.

In summary, there was a call for a funding mechanism to pay for these services, under the guise of the Bonfield Review (DECC supported). It was evident that those who organised the meeting wanted firms involved in energy efficiency to pay. Now I have a philosophical problem with this. As a consumer I want impartial advice and I am bound to be sceptical if I find out that the very industry that seeks to benefit from energy efficiency retrofits is actually funding the "advice and guidance". It doesn't sit comfortably with me at all.

In the same manner, I've always understood the reservations of consumers who get energy saving advice from energy suppliers, the very people who profit from selling more energy.

So here's a suggestion that kills two birds with one stone.

Currently ECO costs consumers around £30 per household (£700 million a year), as part of the so-called "green crap" levy. Why not use one pound of this to fund the advice service. For the energy supplier, it saves money spent on searching for places to spend ECO. For the public, every single household could benefit - rather than just a few thousand. Given that everyone pays the ECO levy, surely this is a good way of us all being in it together. And I guess, if the advice is good, everyone could save at least a pound a year - so not a bad investment either. Over to you Minister.

Best wishes, 

Mike Foster CE

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