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ASA finds energy saving claims 'misleading'

The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that a pamphlet distributed by ACS Renewable Solutions made claims which were 'misleading' stating that air-source heat pumps could 'reduce winter fuel bills by 40%.'
ACS Renewable Solutions wrongly claimed that installation of its air source heat pumps would reduce customers' winter fuel bills 'by 40%'. The company was also found to have made a series of misleading statements about the achievable energy output of air-source heat pumps, including the claim that the pumps are 'over three times as efficient as a traditional heating system'.

The advertising watchdog has advised ACS Renewable Solutions that its mailshot must not appear again in its current form and that the company must in future ensure that it holds robust evidence to substantiate savings and energy claims.

Calor Gas, which formally challenged ACS Renewable about its claims about the cost-efficiency of air source heat pumps, has welcomed the decision.

With the recent launch of the Renewable Heating Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme, designed to help households buy renewable heating technologies, Paul Blacklock, head of strategy for Calor Gas, warned consumers: 'Through the RHPP, which encourages the installation of air-source and ground-source heat pumps, the Government is endorsing the use of a technology that is not guaranteed to deliver suitable energy provision to the thousands of home-owners at which it is targeted.'

Mr Blacklock added: 'This adjudication by ASA follows a recent Which? undercover investigation that found solar panel companies using 'dodgy sales tactics', and most of them making exaggerated claims for the energy produced by solar technology and under-estimating how long it would take for the system to pay for itself. We are now seeing the same sort of tactics being deployed by suppliers of heat pumps. The Government needs to nip this in the bud as soon as possible, especially as these renewable technologies are all being supported by tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers' money.

'We are delighted that the ASA has agreed with us that ACS Renewable Solutions' claims about the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of air-source heat pumps could not be substantiated.'

To view the full adjudication click here.

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3 August 2011

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