Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT)

Paving the way for the Green Deal

The Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) requires all domestic energy suppliers with a customer base in excess of 250,000 customers to make savings in the amount of CO2 emitted by householders. Suppliers meet this target by promoting the uptake of low carbon energy solutions to household energy consumers, thereby assisting them to reduce the carbon footprint of their homes.

The primary aim of CERT is to make a contribution to the UK’s legally binding target under the Kyoto protocol (to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 12.5% below 1990 levels by 2008-2012) and the Climate Change Act 2008 requirement (to cut emissions of green house gas emissions by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050). However, CERT will also help: reduce energy demand; enhance the UK’s security of supply; reduce energy bills for those receiving measures; reduce fuel poverty; and, secure jobs in energy efficiency industries.

CERT, the third supplier obligation phase, was introduced in 2008. On 30th July 2010, CERT was extended from March 2011 to December 2012 with a new higher target and significantly refocused around supporting insulation:

The announcement followed Paving the way for a Green Deal: extending the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target supplier obligation to December 2012, a consultation on proposals, which ran between December 2009 and March 2010. The scheme extension to 2012 will start a massive and urgent increase in home energy insulation, paving the way for the Government’s Green Deal.

Energy suppliers are now required to deliver measures that will provide overall lifetime carbon dioxide savings of 293 MtCO2 by December 2012, superseding the target of 185 MtCO2 by March 2011. At least two thirds of the increase in target (68%) must be delivered through professionally installed insulation measures. In combination with the exclusion of compact fluorescent lamps, this will refocus the scheme around supporting insulation measures that can help deliver deep and long lived carbon and energy savings. There is also a renewed drive to ensure that more vulnerable households receive support. Suppliers were already required to meet 40% of their total target by delivering measures to a 'Priority Group' of vulnerable and low-income households, including those in receipt of eligible benefits and pensioners over the age of 70. Under the extension an additional target has been introduced, to require that 15% of the savings be achieved in a subset of low income households (a Super Priority Group) considered to be at high risk of fuel poverty.

The cost to suppliers of achieving the CERT (from April 2008 to December 2012) is estimated to total £5.5 billion. Taking into account the costs, CERT has a positive Net Present Value to society of approximately £17 billion.

For details of support available under CERT contact the Energy Saving Trust on 0800 512 012 or through the Energy Saving Trust website.

Consultation on the Role of Appliances and Consumer Electronics in CERT

The Government launched a consultation on 16 November 2010 on the role that appliances and consumer electronics should play under CERT to December 2012. In the consultation we propose that there are several core principles against which any measure to be promoted under CERT should be assessed: confidence that carbon savings are realised; avoidance of deadweight; focus on non-traded sector; positive impact on vulnerable households; and, contributes to scheme transparency. Government is likely to want to introduce restrictions, from April 2011, on any product where evidence of meeting these principles is lacking.

The deadline for responses to the consultation was 7 January 2011. Full details of the consultation are available in the Consultations section of the DECC website.

Suppliers’ progress

The CERT scheme is regulated by Ofgem. Ofgem reports supplier progress towards their CERT target in summary form on a quarterly basis and provide a more extensive annual review of the scheme. See the Ofgem: CERT web pages for full details.

Under a voluntary agreement between DECC, EST and CERT-obligated energy suppliers, energy suppliers have agreed to report details of all professionally installed cavity wall and loft insulation measures into the Energy Saving Trust’s Homes Energy Efficiency Database. Initially, these reports will be published on the Energy Saving Trust’s website at six monthly intervals and can be downloaded in Excel spreadsheet format with outputs expressed at Regional, Local Authority and Parliamentary Constituency levels. For details of installed measures, visit the Energy Saving Trust: CERT reports web page.

Evaluation of the delivery and uptake of the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target

Evaluation of the delivery and uptake of the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target: Externally commissioned independent research on how CERT has been delivered, and how, why, and to what extent energy efficiency measures offered under CERT have been taken up by households, focusing particularly on insulation and heating measures.

Evaluation synthesis of energy supplier obligation policies: A synthesis of findings from independent evaluations and other research and analysis  related to DECC’s energy supplier obligation policies – the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP).

Office of Fair Trading report following their call for evidence on the home insulation market

Following a call for evidence on the home insulation market, the Office of Fair Trading published a report Home insulation: A report on the Call for Evidence carried out by the OFT in August 2012 .The report considers how the market for home insulation currently operates and makes recommendations to how it could be improved in the future. The Government response to the recommendations (for DECC) made in the report was published in November 2012.

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