Energy bills: Martin Lewis discusses standing charges
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Energy bills are set to reach, and be capped at, £2,500 in October amid the UK’s continuing cost of living crisis. While this is less than Ofgem’s expected 80 percent bill hike, this still represents a significant rise in costs for households. To reduce energy bills long-term, many individuals are installing heat pumps in their homes with help from the Government.
However, experts are sounding the alarm that the installation costs for such a measure could reach as high as £35,000 for homes.
The Government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme was launched to incentivize households to install environmentally-friendly heating systems.
Specifically, the initiative encourages people to upgrade their boiler to a heat pump by offering grants which cover some of the installation costs.
This latest endeavour by the Government is available to all domestic properties, as well as small non-domestic properties, in England and Wales, and will run until 2025.
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However, the amount on offer is significantly the potential overall costs of £35,000 for families, which is being cited by experts.
As part of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, households get £5,000 off the cost and installation of an air source heat pump.
Included in the Government energy bill initiative, homes are able to get £5,000 taken off their biomass boiler installation bill.
On top of this, the cost of replacing a boiler with a ground source heat pump will be reduced by £6,000.
Despite this significant support, many analysts believe it is not enough to cover the long-term costs of introducing this infrastructure to most homes in the UK.
Myles Robinson, an energy expert from Boiler Central, broke down the “eyewatering” costs that arise from heat pump installation.
Mr Robinson said: “The costs are immense, and these can multiply if some parts of your existing heating system are incompatible with the heat pump system, such as radiators, emitters or any pipework.
“Ground source heat pump installation costs can add up to an eyewatering £35,000, of which the government can slash £6,000 off through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.
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“Compared to a £2,000 hydrogen-ready boiler and even £7,000 for an air source heat pump, this is clearly out of most people’s reach.”
It should be noted that homes need to meet certain eligibility criteria to receive grant funding to replace their boiler.
Homes need an installation capacity up to 45kWth and a current energy performance certificate (EPC), which has no outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation
The energy expert noted that most households are seeking “immediate” solutions to the energy bill crisis and replacing boilers with heat pumps does not provide that.
He added: “Assuming you have the funds, do not expect that you are in the clear. Unfortunately, not every home is suitable for heat pump installation.
“If you live in a flat above ground level, for example, you obviously have nowhere to dig a hole for the ground source heat pump, nor is it worth bothering to get planning permission for an air source heat pump that will last you less than a boiler, which you will need anyway for when it is cold outside and the pump struggles to extract heat.
“The reality is that most homeowners are looking for immediate solutions to cutting their gas bills because of the cost-of-living crisis.
“They most certainly do not have tens of thousands of pounds to spare.”
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