Citizens Advice response to BEIS consultation on phasing out the installation of fossil fuel heating in homes off the gas grid
Citizens Advice welcomes the opportunity to respond to this important consultation on the proposals for phasing out the installation of fossil fuel heating in homes off the gas grid. Since 2014, Citizens Advice has been the statutory advocate and advice provider for energy consumers. Our vision is for an energy market that is inclusive by design and recognises the essential nature of energy supply. It should facilitate and encourage innovation, be accessible by all and treat everybody fairly, regardless of their circumstances.
We recognise the importance of natural boiler replacement cycles and agree that they should be used as a trigger point to deploy low carbon heat. However, boilers often break down during times of high usage over particular cold periods, which can be a stressful time for consumers. Consumers may not necessarily have the financial capabilities to afford low carbon heating options, or the time to research what option is best suited to them; they may simply need a quicker and simple solution. We are also aware that there are other trigger points for consumers that should be considered for inclusion. For example, in previous research people have told us they have changed their heating system to a low carbon one when undergoing significant home renovations which have been planned in advance. Other people have trigger points such as when buying a new home.
It is therefore vital that consumers are able to access high-quality independent advice about what changes they need to make to their homes to switch to a different heat source. We have previously outlined how this should include holistic advice tailored to the energy efficiency and low carbon heat needs of individual homes. Consumers will also need financial advice about the options available to finance the supply and installation of low carbon heating solutions for their homes.