E.on boss pleads with Government for more insulation and home upgrades

Michael Lewis said Britain needs to massively ramp up its energy efficiency drive.

08 June 2022

The boss of E.on has issued a plea to the Government to invest in making homes in the UK more energy efficient to help slash bills and carbon.

Michael Lewis said the country needs “a massive ramp-up” in insulation and other energy efficiency projects.

He told MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee: “Our plea to the Government has always been to push hard on energy efficiency, because that’s the proven way, the only silver bullet, for this crisis.

“It will reduce prices, reduce energy consumption and contribute to net-zero on a sustainable basis.

“So the next phase of tackling this has to be a massive ramp-up in measures to deal with energy efficiency.”

He conceded it might take many decades to get every home in the country – there are 19 million that need more insulation – up to scratch, but he said there are also things that can be done quickly.

The UK has the leakiest housing stock in Europe, with many old homes that were not built with insulation.

If the 19 million homes are properly insulated it will save the equivalent of six nuclear power plants worth of energy, Mr Lewis said.

He added: “We have to start now. And importantly we have to send a signal to the supply chain that it’s worth training up the people, it’s worth investing in the workforce and the skills and all that entails.

“Because one of the problems we’ve had in energy efficiency is stop-start, and that breeds a lack of confidence in the companies engaged in this kind of work and means the supply chain doesn’t gear up to deal with this massive, massive challenge ahead.”

He said the Government should as soon as possible pass legislation to extend the mandate of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, which helps fuel-poor customers insulate their homes.

It is set to run out later this month unless it is renewed. He also called for the scheme to be extended to households that are not in fuel poverty.

His comments were echoed by Paul Spence, director of strategy and corporate affairs at energy giant EDF.

Mr Lewis also called for a bigger scheme that can help provide the funding up front for those who can afford to pay for their own upgrades.

Attaching this to a mortgage when someone buys a home would be one alternative, the money would be clawed back over time as homeowners save on their bills.

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