Rural households in West Wales face heating bill shock

Deadline draws near for off gas grid boiler ban

Rural households, off the gas grid, living in West Wales face a heating bill double whammy as the Government deadline for banning oil and LPG boilers from 2026 draws near. According to leading energy trade body, the Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA) 13,000 households in Pembrokeshire and 20,000 in Carmarthenshire currently use an oil boiler to heat their home. From 2026, if it breaks down, Government plan a ban on it being replaced. Instead, they want homes to fit a heat pump, running on electricity. The current cost of fitting a heat pump, according to the Government, is £13,000 compared to replacing an oil boiler for under £3000.

In addition, according to EUA, the annual running cost of a heat pump is considerably more than an oil boiler – currently £360 a year more but without the Government’s price cap on electricity, that gap rockets to £1700 a year more.

Boris Johnson’s government announced the plans to ban oil and LPG boilers from 2026 as part of their green plan to fit 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028 – the majority in off gas grid homes, which Ministers refer to as ‘low hanging fruit’, meaning easy to pick off.

Commenting on the heating bill double whammy, EUA’s Chief Executive Mike Foster said:

“This news will shock most families. Already struggling with the cost of living crisis, they now face being the easy prey to pay eye-watering costs. I genuinely do not believe families in West Wales can afford either the upfront costs of buying a heat pump nor the higher annual bills.”

“It seems that families living in rural neighbourhoods, not connected to the gas grid, are easy prey to force heat pumps onto. Homes on the gas grid will not face the same boiler ban until 2035 but it is expected that hydrogen boilers will be commonplace by then, allowing boilers to stay in place.”

“Heat pumps are a way of reducing carbon emissions but this comes at a price, currently a hefty one. Now is not the time to ban oil and LPG boilers. At the very least, treating rural households the same as their on gas grid counterparts is fair. Delaying the oil boiler ban until 2035 allows for alternatives such as bio-fuels to become established, allowing a low carbon boiler to stay in the home, or to see if the cost of heat pumps fall. Rural families should not be the guinea-pigs for the government’s heat pump experiment.”