HECA will now NOT be repealed

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HECA will now NOT be repealed

Post by ALEO Admin » Wed May 11, 2011 11:35 am

It was announced in the House of Commons yesterday that the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995 (HECA) will now NOT be repealed. Please use this forum to post any comments you have on this issue.

It had previously been announced that HECA would finally be repealed as part of the Energy Bill 2011. Yesterday in the House of Commons it was revealed by Gregory Barker that this will now not be the case. CAN have also now confirmed this with officials at DECC. What shape the Act will take in the future is yet to be seen, but CAN will be playing a part in guiding Government policy.

The following excerpts are taken from the Hansard official verbatim report of proceedings at the House of Commons. The full text is available at: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/p ... 0-0003.htm
Mr Meacher: Lastly—and briefly—it is regrettable that the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995, or HECA, which was a Lib Dem private Member’s Bill, is being repealed rather than extended and toughened, because it delivered more savings in domestic fuel than the entire first phase of the energy efficiency commitment.

Gregory Barker: I will address some of the right hon. Gentleman’s thoughtful comments in my wind-up, but let me put it on record that we are not repealing HECA. Rather, it will form an important part of our strategy to ensure coherent and joined-up implementation of the green deal right across the country at the local authority and community levels.

Mr Meacher: I am very pleased to hear that, and I will take that point away and look at it again. Obviously if the Minister says that, I accept that it is the case, and I am also grateful for it, because HECA is an important Act. It never had great support because it was a private Member’s Bill. Local authorities did not have statutory requirements but had to act voluntarily, so the legislation was not as effective as it could be. However, if the Government are to take it over, supporting and strengthening it, that is excellent.

Gregory Barker: The right hon. Gentleman makes exactly the right point, and although the Secretary of State did not mention it in his opening remarks, that is a new advance—which we are making today, on Second Reading—in strengthening the Bill.

Mr Meacher: I am very pleased to hear that. Clearly there is thinking going on in Government about how the Bill can be improved, which is what we all want. This is a good Bill, but there is a risk that it will not achieve its objectives, so it needs improvements.

….

Dr Alan Whitehead (Southampton, Test) (Lab): I was pleased to hear this afternoon that among other things, the Government are not now intending to proceed with clause 105, which at the moment proposes the repeal of the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995 in its entirety. I would welcome an intervention from the Minister to confirm that that entire clause will now disappear and not go forward into Committee or beyond. Is that right?

Gregory Barker: I cannot comment on the detail, but I can assure the hon. Gentleman, as I assured the right hon. Member for Oldham West and Royton (Mr Meacher) earlier, that we have looked at this matter in the round. Having listened to a number of experts in the field, we think that we can breathe new life into HECA. It effectively became redundant under the previous Government, but we think that it could be revitalised and become an effective tool that could allow us to avoid imposing new regulation on local government.

Dr Whitehead: I thank the Minister for that clarification.

murrelr

Re: HECA will now NOT be repealed

Post by murrelr » Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:39 am

So...

HECA Guidance is now out - any initial thoughts? I note that we're encouraged to report on CO2 and fuel poverty 'trends' - as these figures relate to a couple of years ago, I'm not sure how relevant they will be to the work that we are doing now / plan to do in the future.

Also - is CAN planning some additional guidance / prospoing some workshops?

Thoughts / comments / etc. welcomed.

David
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Re: HECA will now NOT be repealed

Post by David » Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:08 am

In summary I was very disappointed, it is weaker that the original guidance and certainly missed the opportunity to correct the failings of the original HECA system. What is worse, is that some of the good bits have been lost. I appreciate that DECC has its limitations on what it can and cannot do but they really seem to have gone for light touch and therefore ended up with something that does not assist. The main issues that were not addressed (many of which I consider cost free) are;

1. A named HECA contact in each ECA - someone to co-ordinate and act as a conduit for action.
2. It not just Government programmes that deliver Energy Efficiency - The guidance report is only concerned with reporting on Government schemes and assumes no local initiatives. This is the best opportunity to capture the activity that isn't devised by Whitehall.
3. Annual reporting - We work in annual plans already, we'll have to collect the data so why only ask for reports every 2 years it’s a good way to ensure no work gets done.
4. Signed reports - the old reports had to be signed by Chief Execs this was very good for getting HECA issues on the corporate agenda and letting the top level know we acted on this. It was also proposed that this could be counter signed by the Health sector (either the Director of Public Health or the Health and Well Being Boards) and hence force links on Fuel poverty.
5. Target dates - let us at least ask where ECA expect to be in 2020 and 2050 so that Government can have some comparable metric.
6. A requirement to report on CO2, Fuel Poverty and SAP/EPC- given that we can choose our target means there is nothing to stop me setting a target to reduce kWHs used by 50% by 2050 on the knowledge that as we move from gas to electric, KWhs per households will fall (this could be achieved without reducing CO2 or fuel poverty).
7. The 31 march 2013 deadline should be delayed until 30 Sept - given that HECA officers will be the ones who should be expected to deliver on Green Deal, January to March 2013 is already a busy period. It’s the tail end of Winter so we still have the fallout from broken heating systems (knowing that Warmfront won't be around for the first time means we'll have multiple demands to address that). Most of key data is not released until the summer and whilst the Government does not need us to report data anymore we need it to inform our strategies. Also the new report wants us to plan targets for GD take up with no experience of this radical shift in programme. A six month delay would have helped deliver better reports that really gauge the potential.

Given that the guidance is so loose I think we could instigate these things on our own anyway. Previously as the NW CAN we delveloped a NW system so that we were using the same calculations and methods to report our improvements. Whilst is was voluntary at least 60% of LA adopted it. So I see no reason why we cannot do the same. AS the guidance says it will work with CAN, it gives us a strong position to suggest ideas and methods. We are best placed as in the past we have had bespoke software made available (HECAMON and the NI187 stuff) but it has been very unpractical for HECA work and was poorly used because it only dealt with fulfilling the basic answers not providing information and feedback to householders or strategic benefits.

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