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By Haddenham Webteam - 30th August 2013 7:33am
With Autumn looming and colder weather around the corner, you may be looking for ways to cut your energy bills. Some local residents, especially those on fixed and very limited incomes, may be considering the Green Deal. What do you need to know?
The Green Deal is a new Government scheme to help with energy saving improvements to your home such as loft insulation, double glazing and solar panels. The scheme lets you make these improvements without having to pay up-front. Instead, you take out a loan which is repaid through the savings on your energy bills. Like any credit arrangement, the Green Deal is a serious financial commitment, so you need to think carefully about whether it's right for you.
The loan is attached to properties, not people, so if you move house then repayments will pass to the next owner or tenant. You'll have to let them know that loan is attached to the property before they agree to buy.
The scheme is designed so that savings always outstrip repayments. But this isn't a guarantee, so taking out a Green Deal loan may mean that your bills increase. If you're on an electricity meter repayments will be taken off your credit in small amounts several times a day, so you may find that your credit is used up faster.
If you decide to go ahead, the first step is an assessment of your home, which you often have to pay for. Green Deal assessors and providers must be officially accredited. Check by looking at the register gdorb.decc.gov.uk/consumersearch.
If you decide to go ahead after your assessment, there is a seven-day cooling off period . If you change your mind during the cooling off period, you won't have to pay a cancellation fee, although you are likely to have to pay some of the assessment cost if work has been carried out before you cancel. Green Deal loans are covered by the Consumer Credit Act, which gives you important rights. If you have a complaint, you should contact your provider. If they can't sort out your problem, you can contact the Energy or Financial Services Ombudsman.
If you can't save money through the Green Deal, you may be able to get extra financial help under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) for energy saving improvements to your home, including solid wall insulation and cavity wall insulation.
Get free, confidential, independent advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau. See www.adviceguide.org.uk or your local phone book for contact details. Your nearest CAB is in the Market Square, Thame
Adviceline: 08444 111 444 or 03 00 33 00 650 (Mobile)
Also get advice about the Green Deal, the Energy Company Obligation and other ways to get help to save energy in your home from the Energy Savings Advice Service on 0300 123 1234.