Security worker furious after being ‘conned’ into government scheme

David Boyce at his home in Portsmouth.'' Solent News & Photo Agency
David Boyce at his home in Portsmouth.'' Solent News & Photo Agency

A security worker is outraged with the Government’s failed Green Deal scheme after he was conned into paying £26 a month for solar panels.

David Boyce, 61, was approached by a now-shamed home improvement firm offering solar panels as part of the Green Deal scheme.

Mr Boyce, who lives alone after losing his wife 15 years ago, was told the solar panels were completely free and would generate electricity and anything left over would go to reducing his bills.

However, security officer Mr Boyce did not expect to be slapped with monthly bills of £26 for the panels at his home in Port Solent.

Though he was told he did not have to pay, in the small print Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Systems stated he had to pay the monthly sum to electricity providers SSE.

Mr Boyce said he has been ‘sold down the river’ and must pay £9,000 in total for the panels on his roof which do not even give him electricity.

He estimates he has paid just over £1,000.

Mr Boyce said: ‘It was about four years ago when I was in my fifties and I had a knock on the door asking about solar panels.

‘It seemed like a good deal at the time, I knew I was going to be at home a lot so free electric was appealing.

‘I thought ‘well yeah, why not?’ Because I could put my washing machine on and be using free electric.

‘They sent a salesman round to see me and they assured me I was not going to be done out of anything.

‘But, I hadn’t read the small print and apparently I had to pay £26 for some grant.

‘I didn’t know anything about this and it wasn’t explained to me. Basically I’ve been done right, left and centre.

‘They told me they were going to be free solar panels but I’ve been landed with a £9,000 debt. It’s a bit of a nightmare really.

‘I’m still having to pay the money but I’m not getting any return from the solar panels.

‘The panels are on my roof but they don’t give me any electricity, they apparently work fine but I’ve got no idea what happens to the electricity, I think it’s just redundant.

‘It’s costing me £26 a month for nothing. I’ve been in touch with SSE about it but we’re in this stalemate.’

Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Systems (HELMS) went into liquidation in 2016 and were fined after an investigation.

Mr Boyce says he now wants to take The Green Deal Finance Company, which took over the loan book in 2017, to court.

He said: ‘Next year I’m coming into a bit of money and I’m planning on offering them £2,000 for them to clear the debt, and if they can’t I’ll take them to court.

‘The threat of court might make them do something about it.’

Discussing how it has impacted his life, he said: ‘For the last few years I’ve had to be really careful with money and it’s made me insecure about who I trust.

‘They sold me down the river and now I don’t speak to people on doorsteps when they come knocking.

‘It’s frustrating for me because I’m paying all this money for nothing.’