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The Green Deal will not be fully operational until 2013 after energy firms delay implementation of payment mechanism, reports Building magazine.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) confirmed the six major energy firms –EDF, Scottish Power, Southern Energy, Npower, e.on and British Gas – would not be ready to deliver the payment mechanism for the Green Deal from October, with the earliest date likely to be the “first quarter 2013”.

The payment mechanism is critical to the operation of the Green Deal as it enables consumers to pay for energy efficiency measures in their home through a charge on their energy bills.

The introduction of the Government’s secondary legislation required to implement the Green Deal has already been delayed. The legislation was initially set to be introduced last month, but has now slipped to June.

This week climate change minister Greg Barker insisted the legislation would be in place before the summer recess and said the programme would be launched in the “fourth quarter” of 2012.

Neil Cutland, director of sustainability consultant Cutland Consulting, said the delay to the implementation of the payment mechanism risked undermining the roll out of the programme.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “This is another signal that the Green Deal will not be launched in October. The soft launch that we have heard about is becoming a squidgy launch, it’s really quite flabby.”

John Alker, UK Green Building Council policy manager, said the delay would give time to “sort out teething trouble in the scheme”. He said the scheme would need to have a snowball effect to drive it forward and so a soft launch in October followed by a more gradual increase in activity would be possibly be beneficial.

Builders’ Merchants News, 9 March 2012