In response to a wave of public anger about government plans to force households to ditch their gas boilers and switch to expensive and less effective heat pumps, promoters of heat pumps are now promising implausible cost reductions.
Current costs of heat pumps are on average about £10,000 per household to install, with worryingly high running costs due to the inflation of electricity prices caused by astronomical subsidies to renewables such as wind and solar (£11 billion a year at present).
According to reports in the Sun, Octopus Energy’s CEO Greg Jackson has now replied, admitting that buying and running a heat pump today is “expensive”, but promising that costs will halve in “the next couple of years”. It is doubtful that Mr Jackson really believes this “jam tomorrow” language.
Heat pumps are a mature technology, with much of the cost being accounted for by plumbing and other works, such as new radiators, underfloor heating, and digging trenches for heat coils, where large cost reductions are not to be expected in short order.
Mr Jackson also hopes that electricity prices will fall because the subsidies to renewables will be taken off electricity bills. What he doesn’t say is that the subsidy costs will only be relocated to general taxation, hitting householders equally badly but in a different part of their budgets.
Mr Jackson should also have disclosed that the heat pump lobby is the major beneficiary of the expected government grant of £4,000 per household to 600,000 households a year that it plans will want to switch to heat pumps. That £2.4 billion a year subsidy to heat pump suppliers like Octopus will have to be paid for by taxpayers, putting further indirect pressure on household expenditure.
Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) said:
This PR stunt shows that the heat pump lobby is terrified about the public outcry over enforced installation of heat pumps as the truth about this very costly technology becomes better known. Energy companies already have a bad name with the public. Implausible and self-interested promises about falling heat pump costs won’t help.”