“Don’t cry for me”

25th Apr 2022

 

Like many others, I took some holiday over Easter, which coincided with the local school holidays. Parliament had returned to work and questioned leading energy supplier CEOs over the energy crisis facing the country and in particular, sky-high energy bills.

They were right to point out that millions will not be able to pay bills this winter unless energy prices plummet or the Government step in. Tinkering at the edges, with a council tax rebate here, and an ill-conceived loan there, simply won’t cope with the magnitude of the problem. These energy supplier CEOs were right to point out the scale. But call me cynical, from the lips of some, it just didn’t sound right.

One CEO was so moved by the plight of the fuel poor I thought he might cry giving his testimony. Then I remembered, he is a leading advocate of ripping out gas boilers and replacing them with heat pumps. Yes, the same person who called for support for the fuel poor thinks the very same households can stump up £10 grand for a heat pump, possibly another £12 grand for insulation measures, and then higher energy bills each year too. Forgive me for being so blunt, but the fuel poor don’t need help like this.

The reality is that up until very recently gas was by far and away the cheapest fuel for home heating. Even now, at 7p per kWh, a comparable heat pump needs to achieve an efficiency level of over 300 per cent to match running costs. When upfront costs are factored in, having a heat pump is not an economically rational thing to do. It saves carbon, absolutely, and for some homes, built with a heat pump in mind, they work well. But for the vast majority, including the fuel poor, they are not the solution to high energy bills facing millions.

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CEO

Mike Foster

EUA's Chief Executive

 

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