Businessman: it was known RHI was flawed
A FERMANAGH businessman who was called as a witness to the inquiry into the botched Renewable Heat Incentive scheme last week has said the initiative was “flawed.”
Neil Elliott of Future Renewables Energy Systems who supplied and installed products such as biomass, heat pumps and systems accredited on the RHI, said he “never received any money from RHI income from our customers.”
In his witness statement, submitted to the inquiry, Mr. Elliott explained that “like most of the renewable industry we were aware the NI scheme was flawed not long after it launched.”
“No actions were taken as we thought that DETNI would cap the scheme or amend the scheme to the same scheme as the UK mainland.
“We did not communicate any potential flaws in the scheme to anyone, but it was widespread knowledge within the renewable industry that the incentive was too good to be true,” said Mr. Elliott.
The businessman also said in his witness statement that his company “did not lobby anyone but welcomed the proposed changes as it would mean the RHI scheme would last longer and we could help more customers reduce their carbon footprint and tackle climate change.”
Ministers set up the RHI inquiry to investigate the energy scheme as its costs rocketed.
The project aimed to subsidise the cost of claimants’ fuel for running new renewable heating systems, but the fuel cost less than the subsidy claimants received, meaning users could earn more money by burning more fuel.
A recent estimate put the projected overspend on the project at £700 million over a 20 year period if measures to control the cost are not implemented.