COWBOY home-improvement firms who rip-off customers with false promises of cutting energy bills are to face a massive crackdown by the government.
Thousands of families have been trapped repaying loans for “green” upgrades that fail to reduce the cost of heating their property.
More than a million families take advantage of eco-energy schemes every year – forking out up to £20,000 for “green” improvements such as insulation and new energy-efficient boilers.
But rip-off merchants are making a killing by preying on low-income households and vulnerable with false promises to cut their bills.
Under action to be unveiled this week, the work will only be carried out by trusted tradesmen under a new quality scheme with its own “TrustMark”.
Energy Minister Chris Skidmore said: “Driving up the energy efficiency of Britain’s homes is key to reducing emissions from households, saving people money on their bills as we legislate to become a net zero emissions economy and end our contribution to global warming entirely.
“This new scheme will guarantee low-income households the peace of mind that workmen installing energy efficiency measures in their homes are trusted tradesmen.”
About 15 per cent of households take an energy efficiency measure each year, with over a million installing additional or replacement loft insulation and a million upgrading to double glazed windows.
A new “Each Home Counts” quality mark will help reassure households having work done that the companies have met the appropriate standards for installing insulation and new heating systems.
The British energy efficiency industry is worth £20.3billion, employing nearly 150,000 and selling exports worth over £1billion a year.