Richard Scott, business manager of Applied Energy, insists recent price hikes mean electricity is now cheaper than gas for home heating
ELECTRIC heating in the home is now more than 17% cheaper than gas central heating for the average householder, according to a recent study. However, when all the relevant costs such as installation; maintenance; fuel costs and safety checks are accounted for then the annualised cost difference can be as high as 46% for landlords and social housing developers.
Soaring gas price increases during the last 12 months have significantly widened the gap between gas and electric during the heating system's lifetime. Electricity charges remain slightly higher than gas but manufacturers of gas boilers insist on annual servicing as part of their guarantee conditions,which is not a requirement of 'zero maintenance' electric heating. Once this true cost is accounted for, electric heating can be more than 17% cheaper than gas central heating for the average household.
Electric heating is available at a much lower capital outlay, has flexibility of design and a faster and, therefore, cheaper installation cost, with no requirement for annual maintenance. Overall installation costs for an electric system are as much as half that of gas heating installation.
In social housing and for landlords generally it is a legal requirement that gas heating appliances must have thorough annual safety checks and, under the conditions of a manufacturer's guarantee, must be serviced by competent and qualified personnel.
Electric appliances have no such obligations because of the safe, clean and 100% efficient nature of the heating system.
Once landlords account for these installation cost differences, safety checks and servicing requirements, the true cost difference between gas and electric has been calculated at 46% on an annualised basis.
The study compared a typical installation of six electric or wet radiators with their lifetime expectations and used information from the National Landlords Associations and British Gas Servicing to understand true costs. Finally, fuel costs were calculated based on BRE GPG345 updated with the latest and least expensive on-line prices for both gas and electricity effective March 20 2006.
On this basis the true lifetime cost for a comparable gas installation was £725 a year. The same heating and comfort requirement was achieved using electric at a lifetime cost of £390 a year which is a difference of £335 a year or 46.2%
Creda, part of Applied Energy, has responded to this - and the much predicted gas price increases - with the launch of the energy efficient Eco-Response panel heater, a Part L 2006 compliant heater also designed to perform well within the new SAP ratings.
As the UK becomes an importer of gas and prices look set to stay high, Eco-Response is in the new wave of modern, advanced electric heating of the future. It challenges the accepted norms of heating with superior efficiency and controllability. It provides warmth, when and where it is needed, whether in a single room or an entire house or office complex.
One hundred per cent efficiency is combined with comfort, economy and response into an intelligent heating solution that is clean, safe and convenient. On demand, this fast-acting appliance raises the temperature to meet consumer needs. This ability to respond quickly but cost-effectively provides the user with the total control and peace of mind that comes from heat on demand and the now demonstrated low running costs of modern electric heating. Gas remains a carbon dioxide polluting fossil fuel that will one day run out. As the UK moves towards low to zero carbon electricity generation from renewable energy, only electric heaters like Eco-Response will be able to produce low carbon space heating with electricity generated from sustainable sources.