SELECT: Competence of installers is paramount

SELECT says that the Scottish Government needs to set minimum standards of competence for installers as well as installations as it seeks to implement new domestic heating standards.

The campaigning electrical association also says that any new plans also have to take into account the capacity of the energy network as the demand for more electrically-driven technologies and basic infrastructure grows.

SELECT’s warnings come as it responds to a recent Scottish Government consultation into proposals for a Heat in Buildings Bill, which plans to introduce a law requiring homeowners to ensure their homes meet minimum energy efficiency standards by 2033.

The body says that while it agrees in general with the proposal to prohibit the use of polluting heating systems in all buildings by 2045, care is needed that advantage is not taken of vulnerable people and that the increased cost of energy is taken into consideration.

In its response, SELECT says, “We have seen several government projects run into problems as they often leave the door open for unscrupulous traders who take advantage of the government’s own messaging as a way of convincing people that work is required when often it is not.

“Any demands for work need to be set in the context of availability of energy supply, material supply and labour. Added to that is the increased cost of energy – the differential between gas and electric costs.”

The association adds, “It is also vital that the Scottish Government legislates to ensure installations are only undertaken by properly qualified, trained and competent persons. This is as important as any other measure.”

SELECT also warns that poorer households may be less likely to install new low-carbon heating technology, since the cost of undertaking such work will be significant, particularly when the age of Scotland’s housing stock is taken into account. 

SELECT is now recommending that:

  • Properties should be considered compliant once they have installed the measures appropriate for the building type
  • Bio energy should be permitted for those buildings already using it
  • There should be a grace period of five years to end the use of polluting energy following a property purchase.

Its response adds, “The requirement to end the use of polluting heating following a property purchase will penalise those in older properties and especially those in our society less able to pay for measures, such as the disabled or elderly.

“They often have asset wealth but not cash wealth, so selling their home to, say, downsize may penalise them if purchasers are either put off from buying or are told they can only buy with a mortgage at a higher rate.”

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