Since the UK Government announced its Boiler Scrappage Scheme, which provides homeowners with £400 vouchers (one per household) to replace their existing G-rated boilers with A-rated alternatives, the plan has attracted praise and criticism in equal measure.
On the one hand, the Boiler Scrappage Scheme has been lauded as the answer to the nation’s domestic energy efficiency problems (at least where homeowners and central heating systems are involved) whilst, on the other, the scheme has been derided as too costly, impractical and largely pointless. Although opinion is usually divided on any measure introduced by an incumbent government, the Boiler Scrappage Scheme is coming under increased fire as its finer points are picked apart and analysed in detail. Therefore, it comes as quite a disappointment to the Government the scheme is now beset by extensive delays.
The organisation responsible for the administration of the Boiler Scrappage Scheme, The Energy Saving Trust, claimed last week its operations have been overwhelmed by an unexpectedly high demand from homeowners who wish to avail of the scheme. As of Monday last week, the trust had received some 160,000 calls in response to the scheme, which had been converted to approximately 36,000 applications. Unfortunately, there are only 125,000 vouchers available under the Boiler Scrappage Scheme, so it is somewhat obvious the trust would have been hit by a deluge of calls and applications in its earliest operative months. Nevertheless, whilst the Energy Saving Trust failed to anticipate such high demand, it has already implemented measures to ensure its backlog of applications is cleared.
A Spokesman for the Energy Saving Trust said: “People applying now should expect to receive their vouchers within 10 days. People who called earlier have not been forgotten about. The call centres are working their way through logged calls in chronological order”. The trust has also stated it has doubled the number of staff in its call centre to cope with the increased demand. Fraser Winterbottom, Chief Operating Officer, Energy Saving Trust, added the trust was some “three or four days behind” schedule, but would soon return to normal service.