We’re being penalised for installing green heating | Energy bills


The government’s withdrawal of the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (DRHI) at the end of March is going to penalise people like me whose projects have been delayed by Covid and supply chain shortages. In 2020, work was due to start on energy-saving renovations to our house, including a £22,000 water-source heat pump. We’d budgeted around the estimated £4,400 a year for seven years from the DHRI. The pandemic pushed back the start date to January last year. Supply chain issues and Covid caused further delays, and it’s unlikely the system will be certified by 31 March.
IA, Bath, Somerset

The DRHI gives householders quarterly payments, over seven years, for every kilowatt hour of renewable energy produced. The deadline for applications was originally March 2021. In March 2020, at the start of the pandemic, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced it would extend it by a year, but it could not, then, have predicted the full impact of Covid, coupled with the fallout from Brexit, on supply chains. There must be many others, like you, who began installations in good time to qualify, but who have been caught out by the turmoil. Householders whose installations do squeak through in time may still not be eligible because of the certification process.

BEIS says that the year-long extension was to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. “The scheme will be succeeded by the boiler upgrade scheme (BUS), to provide grants of up to £6,000 for the installation of clean-heat technologies. If consumers are unable to apply to the DRHI before its closure, they may be eligible for BUS grants.”

This is good news for those who can’t afford to replace their boilers, because it provides up-front funding, although the £450m pot will only cover 90,000 homes. However, it’s small comfort to those who have nearly completed an installation in the expectation of far bigger subsidies. Environmental campaigners have criticised the government for short-changing households doing their bit to cut carbon emissions. “The government is sending all the wrong signals,” says Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK’s policy director. “While end dates for government-backed schemes do need to be set, arbitrary deadlines, during a post-Brexit pandemic, are unhelpful.

“New schemes offering the same level of funding to DRHI applicants should be available, and homeowners who missed out on the DRHI, through no fault of their own, should be top of the list for BUS grants.”

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