Heat pump fury: UK rollout ‘dead in the water’ as Britons can’t afford expensive switch

As Britons face the worst impact of a global fossil fuel energy crisis aggravated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Government is scrambling to end its reliance on foreign oil and gas. One of their strategies includes a plan to phase out gas boilers and replace them with energy-efficient heat pumps. However, as the cost of living crisis worsens, and energy bills are set to reach a rumoured £4,266 in January 2023, experts slammed the Government’s heat pump strategy.

While energy efficient, heat pumps are prohibitively expensive for many households, even with support from the Government’s £5,000 Boiler Upgrade subsidy.

Claiming the strategy is “now dead in the water”, industry body Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA) Chief Executive Mike Foster slammed the Government for being out of touch with the public.

He said: “Research dictates a quarter of UK households across the UK have no savings, with some areas like the West Midlands at 42 percent.

“To continue to have a policy that asks people in the middle of an energy crisis to fit a heat pump costing as much as £10,000 is frankly perverse.

“The Government needs to urgently come up with a credible domestic heating strategy that gives us a roadmap to heat our homes and deliver Net Zero.”

Through the rollout of the £450million Boiler Upgrade Scheme, the UK is subsidising the installation of about 90,000 heat pumps by offering grants of up to £5,000, which could cut costs by half.

Mr Foster noted that the subsidy still leaves households trying to find the shortfall.

He said: “Consumers can’t afford heat pumps; they can’t afford to retrofit their homes with energy efficiency measures; they can’t afford new radiators or to pay for a hot water cylinder to be installed.

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“Put bluntly, most can’t afford to pay the bills soon coming their way with price cap increases.

“They have no savings and yet the Government’s strategy is still to ask them to fit a heat pump they won’t be able to afford.”

He suggested that the taxpayer money spent on the BUS could be better utilised in the rollout of energy efficiency measures like providing insulation for households.

According to data from the Energy Savings Trust, the £450million sum allotted for BUS would provide 849,000 lofts with insulation, which could save households an estimated £216.5million a year on bills.