Neil Schofield: RHI tariffs need transparency.

RHI Premium Payment must not create stop-start installation

Published:  10 August, 2011

WORCESTER: The RHI Premium Payment, which starts this week, has been welcomed by the heating industry, but one industry expert is warning that we risk creating a stop-start renewables installation programme.

Welcoming the start of the RHI Premium Payment start, Neil Schofield, head of external and Governmental affairs at Worcester, Bosch Group, commented: “The Premium Payment is a welcome move by the Government to give early adopters the opportunity to obtain the full benefit from the RHI programme in advance of the start of the RHI proper in October 2012.”

He continued: “The Government has made it clear that the Premium Payment will only run until March 2012 which leaves a six month gap until the real start of the RHI. What’s more, statistics from the Energy Savings Trust suggest that there is already strong interest in the Premium Payment with 2700 households already having registered their interest and there is a real danger that the £15m set aside for the Premium Payment will run out well in advance of March 2012.

“We are in danger of engendering a mad rush for registrations before the money runs out, a situation we found quite frequently some years ago when the grants for solar installations were in place and the money was frequently all claimed on the first day. This onrush of people wanting installations may end up with good installers not being able to provide the quick turnaround required and the not-so-good installers picking up this work.”

He continued: “The Government has made it clear that there will be no increase on the £860m that has been set aside for the RHI. With a six month delay already built-in from October to March next year we also risk a stop-start approach to installations which will make it very difficult for installers, particularly those who are basing a large percentage of their business around renewable technologies.”

Mr Schofield also expressed concern at the lack of transparency over RHI tariffs. “The heating industry is still waiting for the Government to give some indication about the RHI tariff. Without it, installers are having great difficulty tendering for jobs and being able to give accurate guidance to consumers on what their likely annual income from the RHI will be. We urgently need transparency on this.”

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