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Changing from gas to heat pumps for home heating is premature and prohibitively expensive

UK will not have enough zero carbon electricity until 2040 to power heat pumps and they would cost up to £27,300 per household so change is a very costly jump from the frying pan into the fire

On 3rd December, the UK government announced a new target to reduce carbon emissions by 68% by 2030, accelerating the previous target which had been 57%.

Andrew Newman, Technical Director of the Gas Users Organisation, explains:

“We all agree that climate change is a real problem and needs urgent action. But the UK government seems to be making new commitments every month, without due regard whether they are achievable in engineering terms, and whether the costs passed on to UK consumers will actually make a significant difference, when other states, like China, Russia and India are not making equivalent changes. The UK is responsible for just over 1% global emissions, compared to 28% from China.

“The Committee for Climate Change’s own estimate is that the UK will not be approaching zero carbon electricity until 2040. So there needs to be real caution in any plans that, for example, seek to remove gas from people’s homes and move to electric heat pumps. Such a move would be rash and premature, because not only would the heat pumps consume electricity, that would not be from zero carbon sources, but any such move would cost consumers dearly.

“The installation of heat pumps systems is prohibitively expensive. A recent government report set out typical costs per household of between £14750 and £28,500, plus writing off the boilers and radiators in homes. The lifetime of a heat pump is similar to a gas boiler, so they would need replacing every 10 to 15 years. Although heat pumps are an efficient form of electric heating, because of the difference in price between gas and electricity, the majority of households would face higher bills.

“Unfortunately, the government’s model is that consumers are expected to pay for decarbonisation. This is why we urge caution from the government when they are loading more and more costs on consumers.

“Subsidies to fund current renewable energy sources are paid for by a levy on household energy bills. The OBR calculate by 2022 the green levy to pay for renewables will cost £10 per week per household on household energy bills regardless of income and ability to pay. This is grossly unfair. BEIS is now proposing an additional gas meter tax.

“UK consumers should not be paying through the nose for expensive measures that will only make a marginal difference to greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale”.

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