NAO sees slow progress on decarbonising home heating: comment

New report from National Audit Office (NAO) criticises Government’s progress on decarbonising home heating.

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By George Smeeton

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Commenting on a new report from the National Audit Office (NAO) criticising the Government’s progress on decarbonising home heating [1] Jess Ralston, Energy Analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said: “The NAO detail a sorry saga of the Government’s efforts, or rather lack of them, in moving households to clean heating. Some of these spring from a failure to act, for example by not promoting the Boiler Upgrade Scheme to homeowners or rebalancing levies from electricity to gas bills. Others come from dithering and U-turns by no.10, such as the move to delay the Clean Heat Market Mechanism which only benefits the big boiler manufacturers and keeps the UK reliant on gas for longer.

“These all have consequences; heat pump uptake is slow, uncertainty is hampering investment, and our energy independence as a country is weaker as we'll have to import more gas as the North Sea continues its decline. Citizen's Advice say scrapping the Clean Heat Market Mechanism would ‘hurt’ households by leaving them vulnerable to volatile international gas prices.

“Industry, consumer groups and now government advisors are all urging the Government to learn from its mistakes, develop a clear long-term policy to correct them, and stand up to lobbying from the incumbent gas industry if there is to be any hope of turning this progress around.”

Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho has called the charging of a so-called 'boiler tax' by manufacturers "price gouging plain and simple" [2]. Energy minister Lord Callanan has accused "vested interests" of "funding campaigns of misinformation" about heat pumps [3]. Lord Callanan also said that "planting misleading and false stories about heat pumps... is frankly a disgrace" and that "big boiler manufacturers that fund the EUA should be ashamed of themselves" [4]. Members of the Energy and Utilities Alliance include firms such as Worcester Bosch, Vaillant, Ideal Boilers and Baxi Heating [5]. A gas company was also found to have potentially mislead consumers over their claims on hydrogen boilers in an investigation by Sky News [6], which has since triggered another CMA investigation [7].


Notes to editors:

1. The National Audit Office report, Decarbonising home heating, is published on 18 March.

2. Greedy boiler firms hiking costs are 'price gouging' blasts Energy Secretary & vows to investigate:

3. 'Campaigns of misinformation' around heat pumps says energy minister amid record number of installations:


5. EUA Members:

6. Potentially misleading boiler marketing over the use of hydrogen removed after Sky News investigation:

7. Investigation into boiler company over ‘green’ claims:

For more information or for interview requests:

George Smeeton, Head of Communications, ECIU, Tel: 07894 571 153, email: