Minister promises to monitor consumer protection for energy retrofits

The government has said it is “closely monitoring” reforms to the Microgeneration Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) as part of a suite of measures to provide protection to consumers who retrofit their homes with renewable energy or energy efficiency products.
In a statement energy minister Lord Callanan, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance) at the DESNZ, summarised the government’s measures to improve consumer protection in the green heating and insulation sectors. He was responding to a prpgress report from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) Green heating and insulation review: Update on the standards landscape. The review followed recommendations to help raise the level of consumer protection following a 2022 review of consumer protection focusing on business practices, consumer experience and standards in the green heating and insulation sectors.
Lord Callanan acknowledged the CMA’s concerns raised in their original report about business practices in the sector “including the finding that some businesses are making misleading claims about products, as well as concerns about limited transparency of price information”. He also acknowledged that consumers had faced difficulties when carrying out retrofit and on standards, “where the landscape offering protections for consumers can be seen as complex and confusing to navigate”.
He said action to protect consumers and improve the consumer journey included:
• Engaging with standards organisations like the MCS, the standards and quality assurance organisations for small-scale renewable technologies such as solar panels and heat pumps in the UK. He said, “MCS are currently implementing a series of reforms which are intended to improve the operation of the scheme, including improving consumer protection. We are closely monitoring the implementation of these reforms”.
• An update of the mandatory technical competencies for installers.
• Reviewing the requirements that a scheme operator must meet to be authorised as a competent person scheme under Building Regulations.
• Working with industry stakeholders such as TrustMark to improve financial protections such as guarantees and redress processes.
• Progressing recommendations in the 2016 Each Home Counts report to ensure that implementation of recommendations to improve consumer advice, protection and industry standards in the home retrofit sector has been successful.
The minister promised to update the House on progress.

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