Weather turns colder, so the claims get wilder

11th Dec 2017

 

A few weeks ago I expressed my concerns over our industry making wild claims on energy savings from products; and misleading claims on efficiency. I did warn I was going to call them out, so here’s the first one.

By chance an email hit my in-box from Husky Heat pumps, claiming I could save up to 70 per cent off my heating bill. Now that is some claim, so being the stickler for stats, I delved into the numbers. So this claim applies to a comparison with oil boilers, but their website also implies an 18 per cent saving against a gas condensing boiler.

So if I take Ofgem’s average usage, 12000 kWh of gas used a year, at 4 pence a kWh for gas, the average usage bill is around £480, plus a standing charge of around £90, gives a typical gas bill for heating and hot water of £570. Husky Heat pumps claim that figure is £1763, compared to their heat pump cost of £1499. These misleading figures need to be called out.

Now for their defence, I’m a fair man after all. Their claim says “could save 70 per cent”. So if I used four times the average amount of gas than Ofgem recognise, then yes, I might save that amount. So it stems from the word “could”. So how do we stop these misleading claims?

The Each Home Counts implementation board has this in their remit. And the Energy Savings Trust should be playing a key role too, so leadership from both organisations on this will help protect the consumer who misreads “could” as “will”. I wonder what their view is on these claims.

While they mull over that one, what do they think about another organisation’s claim that has come to my attention. They claim a high efficiency heat pump can save £1089 compared to a non-condensing oil boiler. You picked that up, you can’t fit a non-condensing oil boiler, so who makes this false comparison and why? The EST don’t recognise that number, I know. So over to the Each Home Counts implementation board to root out these bad apples in our industry.