Heat Pump outrage as Sunak urged to scrap ‘failing’ boiler scheme

Heat pump grant is 'scheme for wealthy' says Andy Mayer

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Energy experts have urged the Government to scrap the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, comparing it to “sick dog” that needs to be put down. Mike Foster, the head of the Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA) slammed the scheme, which aims to promote the rollout of heat pumps, by offering households up to £5,000 in subsidies to replace gas boilers with an air source heat pump. Mr Foster argued the Government should scrap the “failing” subsidy scheme, and replace it with more “sensible” schemes which will help permanently lower energy bills. 

Mr Foster spoke out after poor take-up of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme last month, noting the Government was falling shy of its target to pay out 2,500 vouchers of heat pump subsidies. 

He said: “This policy has always been flawed. Part subsidising a heat pump installation with a £5,000 bung leaves the remaining costs, average of an extra £8,000, to be met by the consumer.

“Only the well-off need apply, which in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis with fuel poverty levels rocketing, is entirely the wrong priority.

“With energy bills set to climb by another 20 per cent in April, pumping money into the hands of those who wish to go green, rather than helping those who are forced to choose between heating and eating, is immoral.”

“The idea that subsidising 30,000 UK heat pumps would drive down the cost of a global product, with two million sold across the EU last year, is frankly for the birds. Subsidies like this tend to drive up costs; it is technology that slashes them.”

Heat pumps harness heat from the ground or the air around a property, increasing it, and moving it into the building, allowing the owner to keep their home at a steady, ambient temperature throughout the day.

Supporters of heat pumps argue one of the major advantages of green technology is their energy efficiency, which means that after the upfront costs are paid, heat pumps will eventually pay for themselves thanks to the massive savings in energy bills.

Mr Foster added: “The BUS is failing to meet its targets, falling way short. It should be paying out 2,500 vouchers a month, in January it paid out just 920.

What is the £5000 boiler heat pump payment?

“And because the money is tied up in the scheme, it can’t be used to fund sensible measures like insulation that permanently reduce bills and carbon emissions. Insulation can also be targeted at the least well-off, making it a fairer policy too.”

“BUS is like a sick dog, it is best for everyone concerned if it is put down. And when they are ready to consider alternatives, we are more than happy to help devise a scheme that actually works and delivers lower bills and carbon emission reductions.”

While heat pumps can be expensive, costs are beginning to fall as energy companies like Octopus Energy and British Gas roll out ambitious schemes to make the technology more cost competitive. 

Octopus Energy has unveiled a new heat pump that will cost Britons the same price or cheaper than a typical gas boiler does. According to Greg Jackson, the CEO of Octopus Energy, buying and installing their new self-designed heat pump will cost homeowners as little as £2,500.

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Experts argue that doing so could help tackle “three of the biggest challenges” that the country is facing today, energy security, cost of living, and climate change.

Aside from reducing the UK’s expensive gas imports, heat pumps are also tipped to slash household energy bills, are they are three to four times more energy efficient than the best boilers.

Octopus Energy noted that once the Government grants have been factored in, households can install their newly designed heat pumps at prices starting at £2,500.

However, they noted that based on the size of their home, most households will end up paying somewhere between £3,000 and £3,500, which is roughly equivalent to how much it costs to install a typical gas boiler.

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