The NAO's review of the energy efficiency standards of performance and its replacement, the energy efficiency commitment (EEC), says recent research found that energy savings in low income households were 10% below expected. The shortfall was because energy consumption prior to the installation of measures was lower than first expected, while many households opted for more "comfort" rather than to reduce consumption.
The NAO gives broad backing to the EEC scheme, but warns that suppliers will have to put in more effort to target disadvantaged customers. It also found that 20% of the programme's cost, £102 million, is subsidising customers who would have taken energy efficiency measures anyway. It warns that the next phases of EEC, expected to double activity in 2005-2008, will present a "significant challenge" to suppliers, and require demand for energy efficiency "increase considerably".
DEFRA has commissioned research from the Energy Saving Trust to verify assumptions from the EEC scheme. In 2007, it plans to examine the scheme's cost-effectiveness.