Turbines Tree

Quick take cover! Green Deal is Landing!

The hysteria being whipped up by some of my colleagues in the press about the approach of Green Deal is comparable to the panic which might ensue if an alien invasion was imminent.
In fact it’s hard to imagine hacks at The Guardian getting this excited if little green men were landing in the car park. The Grauniad recently offered us ‘Government’s ‘Green Deal’ spurned by major retailers’. Only two major retailers are signed up, screamed the article hysterically. That’s pretty rich considering that Kingfisher, Europe’s largest DIY outfit and owner of B&Q, was practically biting Ed Davey’s hand off for early Green Deal Provider status, and other big retail names are also interested. Who did the Guardian hacks have in mind? Next? Argos? I bet Curry’s will be in if DECC adds fridge-freezers to the product list!

Before that the Guardian gave us ‘Green Deal is too complicated for saving energy’, and warned that pushy doorstep salespeople will shortly be storming our (presumably uninsulated) front doors. Think invading Poland and you’ll get the idea. And a couple of days ago the ‘ethical and green living’ section gave us ‘Will Green Deal help save me money?’ (guess what their answer was!) which insisted that ‘only two major energy providers have signed up’. What is this thing they have about twos? Are they building Noah’s Ark over there?

The green business press isn’t far behind. Several sites, including Greenwise Weekly, have recently featured scare stories about 1600 employees being sacked from the insulation industry because of the delay to the start of Green Deal. And so it goes on, with GD coming in for a barrage of bad press. I’m not sure which has been more prominent in the last few months; the willingness of groups of business people to send out panic-stricken press releases, or the willingness of the business press to use them. It makes you proud to live in a country with free speech doesn’t it!

What is happening here is of course a well-known British syndrome, which we might usefully call ‘the pre-Olympics effect’. Remember that period before the London Olympics when the press daily forecast that everything was going to go wrong? Security was going to be a disaster! Special Olympic lanes would cause gridlock! Ticket sales were chaotic! London businesses would be deprived of custom and crash in their hundreds. OMG!

None of this happened of course. There were some issues to sort out, but generally everything went fantastically, due to a great deal of hard work from all involved, especially the fantastic Olympics volunteers. But in the lead-up to big events we always seem to behave like a nervous bridegroom having a panic attack on the eve of the ceremony. Why do we do it? Perhaps we are all idealists, anxious to get every last detail right? Or perhaps we’re just a nation of neurotics!

One thing is certain. Once the Green Deal gets going we’ll be fine, but until then we will just keep panicking that everything is going to go horribly wrong! No-one is going to take part! Customers won’t be interested! It will never happen! It will be a disaster! Roll on January 28.

‘What’s that L/cpl Jones? Don’t panic? Don’t panic? Quite right.’

Written by Terry Wardle, Editor of Energy Assessor Magazine

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