Sabien Technology warns against ‘fly by night merchants’

Industry comment

Published: 04 October

Author: Alan O'Brien

Type: Industry comment

Year: 2010

UK’s £112 BILLION low carbon economy creates ‘gold rush’ as new firms’ spring up to cash in on the action: but Sabien Technology warns against ‘fly by night merchants’.

  • Start ups marketing inferior, re-packaged technology
  • Allure of fast buck sees firms claiming unproven and unrealistic savings
  • Aggressive sales tactics – “mild harassment” cold calling rampant
  • Sabien predicts tightening of Government rules to protect companies against miss-selling.

GREEN tech specialist SABIEN Technology today warned of the potentially unscrupulous commercial tactics being employed by start up firms attempting to secure a slice of the UK’s burgeoning low carbon economy market.

Sabien reports that a raft of recent and ongoing government legislation in the carbon emissions reduction arena could spark a California-style ‘gold rush’.

“With the UK market alone now worth around £112 billion (1), there is bound to be a lot of interest in the sector for companies hoping to turn a fast buck,” said Sabien chief executive Alan O’Brien.

“Across the industry we’re encountering examples of firms with no discernible track record pushing inferior technology. He said.

A recent investigation by Which? (2) revealed an extraordinary 8 out of 10 new companies coming to the ‘green tech’ market supplying solar panels were making claims which could not be substantiated.

“We are now beginning to see the resurgence of old primitive prospecting techniques of exceptionally aggressive sales people across all technology sub-sectors , excessive cold calling businesses and government departments, claiming savings figures which are not proven or achievable,” he said.

O’Brien called on the Government to tighten enforcement measures to tackle miss-selling by so called green-tech firms if the UK’s private and public sector organisations are to continue to retain confidence in low-carbon products.

“Suppliers need to be properly accredited and qualified, marketing and installing proven technology – within the commercial energy efficiency sector we are seeing outdated technology being repackaged to resemble the latest cutting technologies,” he added.

One of the most common deceptions are claimed savings’ figures which are not proven or achievable – “all too often we’re finding that any savings achieved are at the detriment of the plant, building and ultimately the comfort levels impact the occupants.

“Likewise, sub-standard project management and installations which are the unfortunate hallmark of so many inferior firms looking to make a fast buck inevitably result in additional costs incurred by the client to remedy,” he said.

Sabien’s client base includes FTSE 100 Index listed blue chip giants such as RBS, Aviva, O2, Lloyds, Vodafone and BT, along with a host of local councils – the latest of which is Hampshire County Council.

Sabien Technology is now exceptionally well-placed to capitalise on growing demand for its M2G product, a boiler load optimisation unit delivering up to 25 % energy savings for public and private sector companies.

The company is currently in discussions about further roll-outs for the remainder of 2010 and into 2011 with existing blue chip and local government clients.

(1)  Innovas (2010) “Low Carbon and Environmental Goods and Services: an industry analysis. Update for 2008/09”

(2)  Which? May 2010