Woman’s energy bills hit £400 a month amid heat pump problem

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Earlier today, the House of Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee continued with its enquiry into the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. This initiative was launched by the Government to subsidise and incentivize people adopting climate-friendly energy sources, such as heat pumps. While expensive to install, heat pumps allow homes to be efficient and not reliant on the wholesale electricity market which has caused energy bills to rise as of late.

However, one expert during the committee outlined how one woman ended up paying £400 a month last winter despite having a heat pump installed.

Zoe Guijarro, the principal policy manager for Net Zero Homes at Citizens Advice, discussed how the initial cost of bringing a heat pump into the home is off-putting for many households.

Ms Guijaroo explained: “Without a doubt, it’s the high upfront costs and the unknown of how much it will cost to run.

“For example, we had a lady that came to us. She lived in a newer build property, but there was something clearly wrong with the heat pump.

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“Last winter, not even this winter with our higher energy prices, it was costing £400 a month to heat her home, which is huge.

“Even in the summer, it was costing £200 a month.”

The policy expert noted the expense makes the Boiler Upgrade Scheme harder to sell to everyday people.

As part of the £450million initiative, the Government will offer grants of £5,000 for air source pumps to be installed, with £6,000 being given to create ground source heat pumps in homes.

Around 90,000 households across the country are set to benefit from this latest show of support.

It should be noted the installation costs for an air source income can be high as £7,000, while ground source heat pump installation could soar to £35,000.

Discussing why households are not adopting heat pumps into their home, she said: “First and foremost, it is this high upfront cost.

“When you’re looking at £7,000 at the minimum to install the heating system. That’s huge. Over 65 percent of people told us that’s what was putting them off.

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“There’s still a large number of households who are not convinced of the benefits and then around a fifth who don’t feel the need to make those changes to their homes.

“Some people think if you’ve got an air source heat pump, you’ve got this big unit on the side of your house, because there’s no space in the back.

“Those types of visual things can put people off as well.”

According to Ms Guijaroo, the UK’s ongoing economic crisis is also causing households to turn away from the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

Inflation is currently at 10.1 percent and energy bills have risen by 27 percent since last month.

For Ms Guijaroo, more money needs to be given to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme to encourage households to become greener at a lower price.

She explained: “It’s all the more important that we have access to some kind of finance, either upfront grants to help people install these technologies, or we’re not gonna get anywhere close to what’s required.”

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