Many householders, landlords and businesses are thinking about what they can do to save energy. It’s not always easy to decide where to start. Unfortunately unscrupulous sales people are taking advantage of this uncertainty to mis-sell energy saving measures. These are some of the examples I have heard of recently:
- A solar company offering my client a solar electricity system that was too big for the building. The building did not use much electricity and would not have used the electricity generated by a solar system that was too big. The client would not have benefited financially from the proposed system, and the actual greenhouse gas emissions savings would have been significantly less than those claimed by the seller.
- Replacing a gas boiler with … another gas boiler. Most gas boilers currently in use are as efficient as gas boilers are ever going to get. In this instance the proposed new boiler was actually less efficient than the existing boiler. I did some calculations that showed that the new boiler would make little or no impact on fuel bills. It would also increase the lifetime greenhouse gas emissions from the house by prolonging the length of time that gas would be used as a heating fuel. It is also common to mis-sell gas boilers that are too big for the house or business. It’s the gas industry trying to cling on to a doomed business model.
- Selling electric batteries to households with low electricity consumption. The household’s electricity consumption was too low to benefit from battery storage.
- Offering thermal imaging surveys to schools during the summer holidays. Thermal imaging is a great way to diagnose heat loss but it is best done on a winter evening. Thermal imaging during the summer can give misleading results.
- An energy broker misleading a business by saying that they wouldn’t get a cheaper price elsewhere. It was only after signing a contract that the business did some shopping around, and found that they could have got a better tariff elsewhere.
- Poorly-designed insulation that still allows unnecessary heat loss.
- Windows that aren’t fitted properly, and French doors that increase heat loss, which will show up on a thermal imaging camera.
- A company selling a householder a report on “Part L of the Building Regulations Compliance” (yes really) when what the householder really needed was impartial advice on where to start with making her home more energy efficient. The funny thing is that the company concerned were probably capable of giving the householder what she needed. But they didn’t find out what it was she actually wanted.
- Householders being sold finance packages for solar panels that led to the household being worse off.
These are all examples of taking advantage of people’s uncertainty to mis-sell energy saving measures. In all of these examples there were other courses of action available that would have given lower fuel bills and more greenhouse gas emissions. As there is rising concern over the climate emergency, energy security, and fuel prices, we can expect to see more mis-selling. You don’t need to be a genius to work out that there will be a lot of mis-selling of heat pumps (although I am a big fan of heat pumps and I can advise you on the suitability of a heat pump for your home or business).
If you are thinking of buying energy saving goods or services, my advice is:
- Get three quotes if you can
- Ask potential suppliers to back up their claims about fuel bill savings by showing you their methodology
- Find out about their trading history – beware of companies that set up to take advantage of government funding and then close down when the funding disappears
- Check out consumer reviews on TrustPilot, Google, etc.
- Remember – Buyer Beware!
If you need impartial advice on energy saving then please check out my energy saving packages for householders and businesses. I will show you all the options available to you and help you to choose the right path for you. Taking action to make your home or business more energy efficient can be quite a stressful process. My aim is to ease your headaches.