The delay of amendments to Commercial RHI and the launch of Domestic RHI risks damaging more than just the credibility of the policy, the Heat Pump Association (HPA) has said.

Apparently in the Commercial RHI sector it also risks damaging specific industries and businesses since there are current policy distortions which need to be rapidly resolved. Industry has invested millions in preparing for the launch of the policy and now those still able will have to fund a further period.

DECC is clear that it remains fully committed to the RHI policy, a point reiterated by Greg Barker at subsequent meetings. However, the HPA believes industry will have to work hard to convince sceptical end users and installers that they should buy into the project.

There are positives in the announcement, including increased funding for training and apprenticeships and the extension of the RHPP scheme for homeowners to March 2014. However, according to the HPA the benefit will be far less than if RHI had been implemented and it states there are now several vital actions DECC must take:

1. Communicate very clearly to the market that it is committed to Domestic RHI, and positively review the incentives available to householders in the intervening period

2. Urgently revise the tariffs for Commercial RHI to remove current distortions and introduce Enhanced Preliminary Accreditation for larger projects

3. Increase funding for social housing (landlords) and move as soon as possible to a predictable structure which will allow social landlords to plan ahead rather than using wasteful competitions.

The HPA and other industry members stand ready to assist in filling any gaps in knowledge which are inhibiting progress and call upon DECC to identify these clearly.

HPA president Tony Bowen said: “DECC state their strong and continuing commitment to the RHI scheme, but we need a rapid decision so that current market distortions can be corrected and that the market can be given enough detail to provide future certainty.”