The Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC) has backed the findings of the Public Accounts Committee report which concluded that ‘The Renewable Heat Incentive has failed to meet objectives or provide value for money’.
CEO of APHC, John Thompson, explained: “The Renewable Heat Incentive was launched in April 2014 to encourage uptake of renewable heat technologies amongst householders, communities and businesses through financial incentives. The problem in my view is with the high cost of capital outlay for renewable and low-carbon technologies, especially when compared to gas and oil boilers which provide a far lower initial capital outlay. This is undoubtedly leading people to choose gas and oil boilers over renewable and low-carbon alternatives.
“In addition to the high capital outlay, the government failed to give the right amount of consideration as to the reasons why gas boilers are replaced; i.e. when they breakdown or when the homeowner renovates their property. This has meant the government vastly overestimated forecasts for the uptake of renewable and low-carbon technologies, as in nearly 4 years, just 60,000 renewable appliances have been installed under RHI, which compares to 6.2 million gas boilers which were installed over the same period.
“As a result, the government has cut back its expectations of how much renewable heat will be produced by the scheme by almost two-thirds, and of the reductions in carbon emissions due to the scheme by almost half. Projected funding of the scheme has also been cut from £47 billion to £23 billion and now expects to install 111,000 heating systems as part of RHI rather than the original projected figure of 513,000.
“In order to meet their revised expectations, the purchase price of renewable technologies needs to be lower or the government needs to subsidise the initial capital outlay.
“Additionally, the over burdensome nature of the installer accreditation scheme is limiting the uptake by the smaller plumbing and heating companies, and sadly with the Each Home Counts proposals, it doesn’t appear that this is going to be addressed.
“Finally, looking to the future the government needs to confirm what will follow when the current RHI funding ends on 31 March 2021, as our industry needs certainty in order to plan ahead.”