Information for customers
The energy industry is leading the transition to Net Zero homes, and many energy retail companies provide information on the products and services that they offer on their websites.
Replacing the UK’s fossil fuel heating systems with low-carbon technologies must become an infrastructure priority if we are to protect UK households from volatile international gas prices and boost energy security, all while levelling-up the UK with domestic manufacturing and new jobs.
Home heating represents 17% of the UK’s total emissions output
Moving away from gas heating will not only help reduce energy bills in the long term, it’s essential that we decarbonise heating in order to achieve the Government’s target of a 15% reduction in energy consumption of buildings and industry by 2030, and Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Heat pumps, for example air source heat pumps or ground source heat pumps, are a viable and popular alternative to current fossil fuel heating systems. They work by extracting heat from either the air or the ground, and work as a low temperature (for example 55°C, in line with Building Regulations), highly efficient system, circulating around 3 times the amount of heat around the home for every unit of electricity used. Heat pump systems heat your house through radiators, and also heat your water.
In its Heat and Buildings Strategy, the Government estimated that 80% of homes that are not connected to the gas grid in England could accommodate a heat pump, and they are already being installed in a wide range of property types including National Trust properties and urban flats.
This technology can help to significantly reduce the UK’s gas consumption, with each installation of a heat pump cutting home gas use by at least 70%.
If all 23 million homes with gas boilers switched to a heat pump, the savings in wholesale gas costs would be equivalent to around 1.2% of GDP
Find out more about the benefits of Heat Pumps:
- Heat pumps operate with high efficiency in temperatures of minus six degrees Celsius. According to Energy Systems Catapult heat pumps are three times more efficient than gas boilers.
- Heat pumps are on average 280% efficient, compared to natural gas boilers which are around 93% efficient. You can find out more on this boiler efficiency guide and energy saving tips.
- According to the Electrification of Heat project, all housing types are suitable for a heat pump.
- Heat pumps are expected to meet 65% of low-carbon heating demand by 2030 under the Climate Change Committee’s ‘Balanced Net Zero Pathway’.
- Heat pumps save more than 70% on gas use compared to a natural gas boiler, once the gas used to produce electricity is accounted for. Find out more about how heat pumps can help tackle the energy crisis.
- The Government estimates that 80% of homes off the gas grid are already suitable to have a heat pump installed. You can see the Government’s heat and buildings strategy here.
- Heat pumps emit the same noise levels as a fridge freezer or existing gas boiler, but are situated outside. Check the most frequently ask questions about heat pumps here.
- The UK government offers grants to customers in England and Wales of £5,000 for air source and £6,000 for ground source heat pumps. Check if you are eligible to apply to the boiler upgrade scheme in England and Wales.
- Home Energy Scotland offers £7,500 grant plus £7,500 loan for customers installing a heat. Find more about heat pump grants and funding In Scotland.
Financial support is available for people wanting to upgrade their heating
The UK Government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme provides grants of up to £5,000 for eligible households in England and Wales installing an air source heat pump or biomass boiler, and £6,000 for a ground source heat pump. The Scottish Government also offers interest-free loans to households seeking to make their property more efficient. Households in Northern Ireland may be able to access grants to replace their boiler.
Consumers can check if their home is suitable for a heat pump by using the Government’s online assessor tool.
Visit a heat pump
Nesta, the UK’s innovation agency for social good, has launched a new ‘Visit a heat pump’ service which helps people to visit a heat pump near their home. Homeowners interested in installing a heat pump but who don’t have any first-hand experience can book a visit to see an air source heat pump in action and learn more about what it’s like to have one from heat pump owners and installers – the people who know best.
Requesting your gas meter to be capped
If a customer has electric heating and cooking installed in their home, and has no existing or future use for a gas supply, then they can have their gas meter is capped, which means they will no longer be liable to pay a standing charge for maintaining the gas connection.
There are a number of steps that the customer will need to take in order to arrange for their meter to be capped, and this involves contacting their energy supplier in the first instance. Energy customers can find their gas and electricity supplier following the instructions on Ofgem’s website
The steps are as follows:
- Step 1: Customers should contact their energy supplier. Energy suppliers are responsible for gas meters and are required to cap the gas meter if their customer requests this of them.
- A supplier may ask the customer a few additional questions about their circumstances, and whether they require a temporary pause in supply, or a permanent cap. The supplier will also need to assess whether the supply can be capped at the meter, or if the supply between the street and the house needs to be removed entirely (see Step 3).
- Step 2: The work will then be booked in with an engineer on the next available date.
- There is variation among suppliers over whether a fee is charged for this service. Some suppliers currently offer this service free of charge. Some suppliers will charge a fee depending on the type of meter that is being capped.
- Step 3: If a new gas meter is not fitted within 12 months, the gas distribution network operator (GDNO) will contact the property owner. If the pipe is no longer needed, the gas distribution network operator might carry out additional work to determine if the pipe needs to be removed too.
- Pipes made of metal will usually be disconnected unless they supply gas to your neighbours. The gas distribution network operator may leave plastic pipes in place and live. There is no risk of corrosion, and they may be required in the future. If the pipe is disconnected, it will be disconnected as close to the gas main as possible and more than 12 months after the meter is removed by your energy supplier. Your gas distribution network operator will not charge for this type of disconnection. Further information can be found at https://www.energynetworks.org/customers/disconnecting-from-the-gas-network.
- If there are home improvements that require pipes to be removed then the consumer will have to contact their gas network. If the GDNO needs to remove any pipes if they are not needed post meter removal, as per their visit after 12 months, then this is free.
Tenants in privately rented properties or social housing should speak to their landlord or managing agent regarding having their gas supply capped.
Heat networks, or district heating, are a cost-effective solution for delivering heat in densely populated urban areas where demand for heating is high. Heat networks can serve domestic and commercial properties which means that the costs for installing and running the heat network can be shared among a large number of consumers.
Heat networks can be powered by a range of low and zero carbon heat sources, which means they represent a ‘no regrets’ technology that can accommodate heat generated from a range of sources, even waste heat from other industrial processes. They work by providing hot water directly into homes, and some networks can also provide cooling in the hotter months as well.
This technology has been used for many years in cities around the world, and is being constructed in communities across the UK. As heat networks tend to serve a large number of buildings, they are often delivered through partnerships between the private and public sectors.
For more information, read our blog on heat networks and what a roadmap may look like for their scaling-up.
There is ongoing research and development, supported by Government, into the viability and effectiveness of hydrogen boilers and what their potential role could be in our future energy system. As set out in its Heat and Buildings Strategy, the Government will make a strategic decision on the role of hydrogen in home heating in 2026.
Government, alongside industry, is also delivering neighbourhood, village and eventually town trials using hydrogen gas in the existing gas network. Existing boilers and appliances will still need to be retrofitted and updated if hydrogen gas is rolled out , but this represents an additional potential option for home heating in the future. This technology is not yet available to consumers.