The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has today issued a Call for Evidence to gauge whether the home insulation market is actually benefitting consumers. OFT has made the decision to analyse the energy efficiency markets in the UK before the implementation of the Green Deal, which is expected later this year.

The OFT will gather evidence from manufacturers, distributors, trade bodies and consumer groups. The data will then be used to find out if there are aspects of the insulation market that may be restricting the entry of new competitors, limiting consumer choice or keeping prices artificially high.

At present, the home insulation market makes around £700 million per year. This figure is expected to grow as energy bills continue to rise and UK consumers begin to focus more on energy efficiency.

Nisha Arora, Director in the OFT’s Services, Infrastructure and Public Markets Group, said: “The Government’s proposed Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation policies are likely to increase the take-up of energy-efficiency measures, so it is important that we examine the home insulation market now to ensure that it is working well for consumers.”

To date, the OFT has received insulation market feedback suggesting that things don’t run as smoothly as they should. One responder commented that agreements between businesses at different levels of the supply chain can lead to competitors being unable to source as much insulation as they want, restricting the supply to consumers. The OFT is also concerned that almost 3,000 solid and cavity wall insulation consumer complaints were received by the Consumer Direct advice service last year.

The call for evidence is expected to help the OFT solve problems in the home insulation market, and to determine whether further work in this area may be required. The findings will be published in July.