The Chief Executive presented a report which updated Cabinet on the engagement that has taken place with relevant stakeholders involved in external wall insulation / internal wall insulation work, as part of domestic energy efficiency programmes in Caerau in 2012 and 2013.
He explained that Cabinet received a report in November 2020 which set out detail of historical domestic energy efficiency programmes that were promoted in the Caerau ward of the county borough in 2012 and 2013 which advised that following an independent survey commissioned by the Council, and carried out by NuVision Energy (Wales) Ltd, that all of the 32 properties in Caerau ward that were surveyed by Nuvision, had some evidence of defective work, some of it significant. It was noted that the Council had involvement in administering the funding for a relatively small percentage of the total number of homes where work was implemented. There was evidence of 104 properties having external or internal wall insulation in Caerau during that period. Only 25 of those properties had the work paid for by funding through the Arbed scheme administered by the Council. Further background was provided at section 3 of the report.
The Chief Executive explained that following this report, letters were sent to energy companies where, based on evidence from its investigations, the Council was aware they had been involved in CERT and CESP funded work in Caerau. He advised that a response had been received from each of the companies, however the responses received from all of the companies consistently advised that they had no direct involvement in promoting or procuring work in Caerau and as such assumed no liability. Further detail was at section 4 of the report.
The Chief Executive added that a meeting between BCBC officials, OFGEM and Welsh Government had taken place. The key points that emerged were; the CESP and CERT schemes were closed and signed off many years ago and so it would be difficult to now pursue the energy companies for any redress, particularly as OFGEM confirmed the indirect role they had played in the work. Following this, a number of actions had been agreed, these were detailed at 4.5 of the report.
The Chief Executive explained that further work was to be carried out before a final position and options can be presented to Cabinet with regard to this matter.
The Cabinet Member Communities stated that while the responses from the energy companies were not unexpected, he was disappointed with them, as well as not satisfied with Welsh Government’s response, He added that he was pleased that Welsh Government were planning to approach UK Government on this matter as it is not just an issue relating to Bridgend, but potentially many other towns and cities across the UK.
The Cabinet Member Communities asked the Chief Executive who was liaising with OFGEM, was it Welsh Government or BCBC.
The Chief Executive explained that ourselves and Welsh Government were liaising with OFGEM. He added that Welsh Government were keen on resolving the issues, however no new Government energy schemes would cover the cost for removal of previous workmanship, only for retro fitting new energy saving measures, but he maintained that the best chance of redressing the issue in all of the homes affected was to work with all organisations involved in the historical schemes, with the potential for new government energy schemes such as ECO to be targeted as part of the solution.
The Leader asked for reassurance that liaising with OFGEM and Welsh Government and the UK Government is the best way forward. The Chief Executive confirmed that he believed that at this stage the collaborative approach attempting to resolve the issues of all residents who had been affected by this , regardless of how the work was funded and under which scheme the work fell, was the best approach to resolve it. He believed that gave the best chance for redress for all of the householders , otherwise there was a risk that no one would represent the position of the other householders where work was carried out with funding not administered by the Council . However, he gave the caveat that there may come a time that if it became obvious that a fully comprehensive solution for all of the affected properties was not going to be achieved or would take too long, the Council would need to consider the available options for only the properties where it administered the funding .
RESOLVED: That Cabinet:
noted the engagement that had taken place with Welsh Government, OFGEM and the energy suppliers since the previous Cabinet report in November 2020.
approved further ongoing liaison with relevant stakeholders involved in the wider external wall insulation/ internal wall insulation works in Caerau.
noted that a further report will be presented in due course to Cabinet outlining the outcome of the continued engagement and outlining any solutions that had been agreed.