Rural homeowners living in Wales could face huge costs to install green heating systems if government plans go ahead, warns an industry trade association.
As part of the UK’s strategy to tackle climate change, consumers will be encouraged to replace fossil fuel heating systems with electric heat pumps at an average cost of over £10,000 to install.
The 114,000 oil heated households in Wales will be amongst those targeted first.
Government is already consulting on proposals to offer £4,000 Clean Heat Grants to help supplement the cost of heat pumps, and in limited cases biomass heating systems.
However, this still leaves a £6,000 shortfall for installation alone, which many consumers will not be able to afford, especially during a post-pandemic recession.
OFTEC, which represents the liquid fuel heating industry, has written to all rural MPs to highlight the issue and is urging oil heated households across Wales to raise the issue with their own local MP.
Resources to do this are available at OFTEC’s website www.oftec.org/future-heating
Malcolm Farrow of OFTEC said:
We know that rural households are already more likely to be in fuel poverty and face the largest fuel poverty gap. Many also fall into the low to middle income bracket with little or no savings.
These financially stretched homeowners are struggling to pay their existing bills, so there is no way they will be able to fund expensive green heating systems such as heat pumps, particularly post Covid-19.
Government should be backing more cost-effective options such as renewable liquid fuels which can provide a simple, drop-in replacement for heating oil. Failing to do so will mean that rural households in particular continue to suffer and progress on climate change will continue to stall.