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Electric Boilers and heaters & the cost to the Householder

Electric Boilers and heaters & the cost to the Householder

With the new changes to Part L on the 15th June 2022, this will ‘reward’ electric heating and hot water with lower carbon emissions than gas boilers thanks to the decarbonisation of the national grid.

By 2025, the Government proposed to stop the use of Fossil Fuel boilers in new homes which will increase reliance on electric going forward.

But be aware, the EPC ratings are also changing, and they do NOT favour electricity. To confirm, the EPC is based on running costs, not carbon emissions.

A typical EPC rating will drop a level with simple electric heating systems under the new changes. So if you have an existing flat with an EPC ‘E’ rating now, if you renew this in the near future, this could drop to an F rating.

This is basic the current EPC ‘costs’ are based on older tariffs. And still include the feed-in tariff for PV panels which you can no longer obtain. In the last few years, we have seen a big increase in electricity costs which will now be updated in the new EPCs.

So what does this mean in real terms? It means if you go with an electric boiler (Because the Government told you to) then your saving suing a cheap heating system is passing a heavy financial burden on to the incoming householder.

I have just moved into a new build house. I have a gas combination boiler for space heating and hot water. I have checked our bill from 11th December up until the 11th March and the energy use and costs (including standing charges are outlined below:

  • Electricity use = 1,335 kWh = £291.95 (Tariff = 19.249 pence/kWh and 20.381 pence/kWh)
  • Heating & Hot Water via GAS = 3,307 kWh = £144.99 (Tariff = 3.797 pence/kWh and 4 pence/kWh)
  • Total energy cost = £436.94 for 3 months

So you can see the tariff for electricity is approximately 5 x cost of gas.

If we were to swap out the gas boiler and add in an electric boiler for space heating and hot water (and allow a 10% reduction in energy use as electric boiler is 100% efficient)

  • Electricity use = 1,335 kWh = £291.95 (Tariff = 19.249 pence/kWh and 20.381 pence/kWh)
  • Heating & Hot Water via ELECTRICITY = 2,976 kWh = £591.44 (Tariff = 3.797 pence/kWh and 4 pence/kWh)
  • Total energy cost = £883.39 for 3 months.

This is total increase of £446.45 for 3 months and a 102% INCREASE in my annual running costs using an electric boiler (Or panel heaters and electric hot water) rather than a gas combination boiler.

The resultant EPC rating would drop to a C rating and even with photovoltaic solar panels on the roof, this would struggle to achieve a B rated EPC due to high running costs. We believe house buyers are becoming much more aware of the predicted energy costs and mortgage companies are now offering incentives for better EPCs. An EPC ‘C’ rating for a new build dwelling is just not robust.

The Government ideally want us on heat pumps. This would (in theory) allow 1 kWh in = 3-4 kWh heating and hot water. So less impact on the national grid and affordable energy for householders.

So you can pass current and new Part L using electric boilers, but the householder will be lumbered with high running costs and an already out of date heating system that will struggle to be effectively upgraded for newer low temperature technologies.

There are instances when simple electric heating systems make sense. Such as compact well insulated flats or even Passivhaus’s with very low heating demand (often supplemented by efficient hot water systems), but as a general rule, currently this is a heavy burden for householders with fuel poverty already a real issue.

Sustainability has 3 key pillars, Environmental, Social and Economical.

If the householder is paying too much on energy, they have less money to pump into the economy. The extra bills will go to support a narrow energy market, rather than a broad economic market. Socially, how will the householder have spare money to enjoy life, join clubs, go for a drink, meet friends, join the local sports club. All aspects that are significantly affected by rising costs that would only be exacerbated with high costs heating and hot water systems.

 

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