The Ground Source Heat Pump Association (GSHPA) has reported that its members have yet to see an upswing in heat pump enquiries since the scheme fully launched in May. In fact, 62% of its members, incredibly, have seen a drop in customer enquiries for individual heat pump installations since the launch, and 86% of members feel that a heat pump is less investable than a year ago.

Laura Bishop, chair of the GSHPA, even goes so far as to say that the BUS is “certainly no replacement for the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive”.

These are particularly cutting criticisms, especially given the general expectation before launch was that the Boiler Upgrade Scheme would provide a vital shot in the arm for the heat pump industry in the UK.

However, things are likely to get worse before they get better for the BUS when you consider the cost of living crisis which continues to spiral out of control. With the energy price cap predicted to rise to over £4,000 per year in January 2023, it is likely even fewer people will have the finance available to fit a heat pump than at the start of this year.

So, what is the solution here? For Mike Foster and the EUA, it’s to pump those £450 million into retrofitting homes with other energy efficiency measures, such as insulation, to reduce the cost of their bills. 

I agree that these types of measures need to be encouraged, especially as the UK has some of the least energy efficient housing stock in Europe. However, I don’t believe the energy price crisis should be used as an excuse to entirely shelve a programme encouraging heat pump installations, especially as the technology has a vital role to play in reducing carbon emissions.

The BUS’ fate is set to be determined by our new Prime Minister, and although there is logic to using that money elsewhere to solve a short-term crisis, it would be a shame to see a fledgling programme fall away without replacement.