Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sustainable Energy Ireland open another Pandora's Box


Sustainable Energy Ireland
The Gravy Train Mentality

SEI (Sustainable Energy Ireland), a highly funded Irish Government agency, initiated an “Installer” scheme just over two years ago. Anyone – - yes anyone - could apply to SEI to be listed as an official Sustainable Energy Installer.

The much beloved "Gravy Train" helped set in motion by SEI

What do you know?? Everyone and Anyone and all their cousins and friends got themselves listed. This reckless act of SEI was a licence to print money for the hoards of “expert” “installers”. And - by heavens - did they take advantage of it.

There is enough evidence of the failure of the SEI system to protect the public already available, so I don’t have to reiterate any of it again here.

SEI then set up extremely generous grant schemes for installing wood-pellet and other heating systems. They did nothing to regulate the price of the equipment, nor did they do anything to regulate the price of installation.

So what do you know, yep – the prices shot up and the gougers had a field day.

In promoting the use of wood-pellets systems, it did not seem to occur to anyone at SEI that they should check to see if the suppliers of wood pellets could cope with the increased demand. The consequence of this appalling oversight was that the country nearly ran out of wood pellets one winter.

The latest gaff made by SEI is the setting up of a BER (Building Energy Rating) “Expert” registry. This move had sparked off a new gravy train. For a fee you, me, and Uncle Tom Cobley and all, can get a basic training in BER and then for another “fee” we can all become registered by SEI. This gives us a licence to charge up to €300 per hour for an assessment on a private house. No problem to do three of these assessments in a day – nice money for an outlay of a couple of thousand!!!

SEI has opened yet another loop-hole for gougers that could be described as a Pandora’s box. Just take a look at the previous post and its link.

Should not the first principle of a Government Sustainable Energy Promoting Agency be to set high safety standards? (wood-pellet systems had very poor safety standards applied) Should not the second principle be to protect the public, not only in safety and standards but from rogue merchants and price gougers? Should not a third principle be to set-up systems to ensure MAXIMUM value for the public with prices matching those in Germany etc?

All of these principles were substantially ignored by SEI. Sure they did a good job of being a general information and promotion centre. But they served the general public poorly and continue to do so.


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