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Major utilities firms coming out on top in retrofit battle

Information obtained by H&V News suggests utilities companies are securing increasing levels of work in the retrofit sector.

Willmott Dixon’s new head of sustainability Robert Lambe said firms such as British Gas were among the contractor’s biggest rivals for such work.

He said utilities firms were often better placed to roll out retrofit schemes than many construction firms owing to their expertise and the demands placed on them by government carbon reduction targets.

Mr Lambe said: “The problem for us is funding. There are a lot of investors willing to put money into the area of energy efficiency but it is about scale, it has to be of significant proportions and the market has not matured yet.

“Major utilities providers are in a better position than we are, as they have been told they have to do the work and are putting billions of pounds into it because they are obliged to do so.”

However, he added that there was “space for both of us” in the sector.

British Gas said it was seeing high demand for energy efficiency measures and hoped to capitalise on it. A spokesman said: “We no longer simply focus on supplying units of gas and electricity but on helping customers to manage their energy use and generate their own renewable energy.

“British Gas will also be helping them with microgeneration so they can create their own renewable energy and take advantage of the government’s feed-in tariff payments.”

He added that the tough national targets for carbon emission reduction were leading to the policies needed to deliver the decarbonisation of the economy.