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Webb: Bring microgeneration into CPS

The Microgeneration Certi-fication Scheme (MCS) must be integrated into Competent Person Schemes (CPS) if it is to stand any chance of increasing installer uptake say leading industry figures.

The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) held a meeting with potential new certification bodies on Tuesday and hopes that opening the scheme up to competition in September will help expand the market.

BRE Global has overseen certification and administration of the scheme, but there has been criticism of the high cost and complexity of the system.

Roger Webb, director of the Heating and Hot Water Industry Council, said it was vital BERR brings on board CPS operators. He said: “If MCS is going to succeed we have to see competition open up very quickly.

“The standards that have been put together are very good for installation and products, but our concern has been the cost and complexity for installers to participate. A system based around CPS would seem to be the most appropriate way to go – particularly when products are already in the mass market.

“I think BERR is beginning to recognise the convergence between MCS and CPS. The key thing is to pull them together so that CPS providers can provide what an installer needs.”

Mr Webb said he hoped organisations like Corgi, Oftec and Hetas would be encouraged to become certification bodies, due to their experience in running schemes.

He warned: “The industry is committed to making sure customers are protected and installations work as expected. If MCS does not work then the industry itself will look to do things in a different way.”

Neil Schofield, head of sustainable development at Worcester, Bosch Group, said:  “It is welcome that this will kick off the BRE monopoly, but the only way forward will be when they link it to CPS. CPS are more mainstream and more representative of traditional working practices. Hopefully, they can interpret the scheme and produce an effective alternative.

“If we are stuck with just a variation of the existing MCS then the mainstream route to market – heating and plumbing installers – will just turn their back on it.”

Jonah Anthony, policy director at the Micropower Council, said: “This is what the industry has been arguing for and we need to make sure it happens in practice.

“We have got to get customers into the mindset that they need to install microgeneration technologies and should employ MCS badgeholders.”

Concerns have also been raised regarding the appointment of a new scheme administrator by the end of September.

Candidates have until August 29 to apply to take on the role currently undertaken by BRE Global.

Mr Anthony said: “The question of who will oversee the scheme has not yet been resolved.
“There are options on the table and we need to make sure it is not a rushed decision, there is a proper pro-cess and the right candidate is chosen.”

HETAS poised for microgeneration role