Bills Warning for Heat Pumps in Rural Homes

If your house is in the countryside you could see your heating bills increase by more than two thirds if you decide to install a heat pump, according to figures from industry trade body Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA).1

They calculated that the cost of running a heat pump for rural homes is more than 70 per cent higher per year than a conventional oil boiler. The Government wants to install 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028 and ban all new oil boilers by 2026, as well as put eight million electric vehicles (EVs) on UK roads by 2030 as part of the push to meet ‘net zero’ targets.2

The proposals have prompted fears in rural communities, where millions of people are not connected to the gas grid and so rely on oil heating, that antiquated local infrastructure will not be able to cope with the sudden demand on electricity. [1][2] 

The costs associated with upgrading are also significantly higher than staying with conventional boilers. While a replacement oil boiler typically costs £2,500, heat pumps retail in the region of £13,000, according to the EUA.

In an attempt to soften the blow of switching to alternative heating, the Government offers grants of between £5,000 and £6,000 for households to purchase and install a heat pump and advocates argue that this price will reduce as the industry grows.

However, fewer than 10,000 heat pumps were installed during the first year of the roll-out programme, falling far short of the target of 30,000. Some £90 million of unspent subsidies are set to be handed back to the Treasury due to the lacklustre uptake.1

If you live in a rural home, or are considering purchasing a property in a rural area then this will become a key topic to bear in mind in the coming years regarding the plans around the use of heat pumps.

“The government has promised that from 2026 people living in homes off the gas grid – that is typically in rural areas of Britain – would not be able to replace a broken boiler with a new one. By law they would be forced to have a heat pump.” ²

“That is not something that most rational people would do as a choice, and if they are forced to do it then the political backlash would be immense.” ²

Mike Foster, chief executive of the EUA


  1. Sharetalk (2023) Industry group indicates a 70% increase in bills for rural households transitioning to heat pumps. Available at: (Accessed 23rd August 2023)
  2. This is Money (2023) Government has no plans to delay proposals to replace gas boilers with heat pumps. Available at: (Accessed 23rd August 2023)

All the information in this article is correct as of the publish date 31st August 2023. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. The information provided in this article, including text, graphics and images does not, and is not intended to, substitute advice; instead, all information, content and materials available in this article are for general informational purposes only. Information in this article may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.


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