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The net zero protections puzzle: Helping people piece together home energy improvements

22 October 2021

The net zero protections puzzle: Helping people piece together home energy improvements [ 5.3 mb]

Achieving the UK’s climate change goals will require changes to every single household. These changes could potentially be disruptive and involve asking people to pay for new technologies. People will have to change the way they interact with energy in their homes.

Every household is going to have to make these changes - and people shouldn’t have to be climate experts to understand them.  Since 2014, Citizens Advice has been the statutory advocate and advice provider for energy consumers. We know that public trust and confidence will be crucial to ensuring people make the necessary adaptations. 

The changes most households will have to make will include:

  • Switching to low carbon heat technologies 
  • Installing energy efficiency measures
  • Using smart energy products and services.  

As well as concerns about upfront costs, our research shows two clear barriers to people taking action:

  • The process is currently too complicated 

  • Things go wrong too often

Citizens Advice is calling on the government to invest in improving information, protection and support for consumers.  Cutting through the current confusion caused by the number of protection schemes, codes and bodies is going to be vital. The government should establish a mandatory accreditation scheme for businesses and firms who want to be active in this market. 

This single accreditation and inspection body should:

  • Be equipped to authorise companies that are active in this market

  • Have powers to audit providers and prevent a company that falls below minimum standards from operating

  • Take action to set clear, enforceable consequences if companies break the rules. 

People should be at the heart of the transition to net zero. A scheme like this will give people the confidence to engage, knowing that government has ensured they’ll be protected if things go wrong.