What’s the agenda?
Monday 9th May 2016
DECC published their public attitudes survey two weeks ago and it was interesting to see where consumers get their information from about energy efficiency. Friends and family and local installers were two of the most trusted options. But in the digital age, I wondered why well-known sites weren’t as highly regarded.
I suspect I know the answer. The public treat “information” sceptically and ask the question, “what’s the agenda” of organisations who offer energy savings advice. In an age where trust in the energy industry is still below par, that’s understandable. Our response has to be open and transparent if we are to earn trust.
I know of one well known “energy savings” website which should be trusted. But I fear it is running another agenda. For example, when assessing the merits of renewable products they compare them to old, non-condensing boilers (which customers can’t buy). This gives a very favourable financial and carbon saving – it would do. My problem with this “trusted” website is that it creates a false promise to consumers, the majority of whom do not know the difference between a condensing and non-condensing boiler.
If they were to replace a condensing boiler, based on the website’s information, they will be disappointed with the outcome – which is bad for the long-term interests of the renewable industry.
As it happens, renewable heating products such as ASHPs tend to replace existing electric heating systems and I just wonder what would the figures look like if condensing boilers were used as the comparator? Giving consumers more realistic numbers has to be in everyone’s interests.
So consumers, and industry, need to be aware of the risks run by this well known, trusted energy savings organisation. And I have to ask, what is their agenda?
Mike Foster CE
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