Energy efficiency scheme cuts urged
The number of energy efficiency schemes in Northern Ireland should be slashed to concentrate spending on measures like boiler replacements and insulation at the poorest households, the Consumer Council said.
Its report recognised that energy efficiency schemes are having a positive impact for households in Northern Ireland, but proposed that Government, the regulator and energy companies need to work "smarter, not harder".
The council's head of energy, Marian Cree, said they examined energy efficiency schemes between 2002 and 2013 with a total value of £287 million.
However, it was difficult to determine how effective they have been because there is a lack of consistency and transparency in the reporting for each of the energy efficiency schemes in operation.
"Consumer Council research shows that home energy bills are the number one concern for consumers in Northern Ireland and yet only 40% were aware of advice available from energy suppliers, which dropped to 28% among those on lower incomes," she said.
"More than half said they had taken no measures to improve the energy efficiency of their homes in the past four years and 38% said they were unaware they could get help to make their homes more energy efficient.
"The Consumer Council believes that having a wide range of different schemes controlled by a number of different private sector and Government organisations is not delivering maximum impact and value for money."