Select Committee on Environmental Audit Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from the Lighting Industry Federation

  Our comments concern the last of the original recommendations summarised on the Committee's press release No 13, specifically "energy efficiency programmes".

  The DETR has said in its press releases that there will be £150 million of additional support for energy efficiency measures, including:

    "A £50 million energy efficiency fund (providing energy efficiency advice and audits to businesses, and stimulating the development and take up of renewable sources of energy and other low carbon technologies)"

  We do not believe, based on experience going back in time to the oil crisis of 1973, that providing energy efficiency advice and audits to businesses will be effective on their own. Capital allowances might induce profit makers to follow up on advice but what cash incentive will there be for non-profit making users of energy?

  The EST and BRECSU are prototyping "Lightswitch", a scheme aimed at SMEs and comprising advice, audits and cash incentives. The scheme has a one year life and a restricted budget which will only allow for about 200 grants to be given. To be really effective the scheme needs to be run for 10 years with a budget enabling 2000 grants to be given in each year.

  Could the Committee ask Lord Whitty whether the DETR will provide more financial support for Lightswitch from the "energy efficiency fund" and over the longer term of 10 years?

  After all, in its consultation proposals for EESOP 4, page 12, DETR recognises that:

    "3.2 Companies need reasonable time in which to develop, market and carry through EESOP programmes. The Government proposes that EESOP 4 should relate to a three-year period starting in April 2002."

  But in approving EST/BRECSU schemes like Lightswitch, the approval is given on a year to year basis.

March 2000

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