Editor’s Note

With the latest story to hit the news being that Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband have kick started a national scheme to upgrade household heating systems to cut carbon, save money on fuel bills and sustain work for the heating industry, we have to ask ourselves whether it is going to really make the difference that the Government expects.

I am of course talking about the domestic boiler scrappage scheme which aims to offer 125,000 households in England the chance to upgrade their G rated boiler to an A rated system with the help of a voucher worth up to £400 from the Energy Saving Trust.

Now I am not one to complain about money off vouchers and in the current climate I am all for saving money wherever I can. But the fact remains that with the average cost of a boiler and installation standing at around £2,500, is this really going to make a difference.

The Government is claiming that the scheme will help sustain work for installers and boiler manufacturers throughout the economic recovery, but I have to say that I am not convinced it is going to be the knight in shining armour that we need.

If you look at the figures, changing to an A rated boiler works out at an average cost of £2,500 for the complete new system. If you deduct the £400 scrappage allowance, householders are still looking at a hefty bill of £2,100 to fork out at a time when everyone is noticeably tightening the purse strings. Granted the new system will save them £200 per year but that still leaves a payback of over 10 years.

Sadly I feel that only the people who actually need a new boiler will take advantage of the scheme and that despite the fact that replacing your G rated system will be equivalent in carbon savings to taking 45,000 cars off the road, people simply don’t have the spare cash to change a boiler which is still functioning.

Perhaps the Government should look at other ways to help the heating industry – answers on a postcard.

See you next month


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