Rising Gas Prices
The month of March has seen the continuing rise of oil and gas prices across the UK, resulting in an increase in energy bills – the energy industry has said that energy bills could reach as high as £3,000 a year.
The invasion of Ukraine has made the cost of energy across Europe extremely volatile. The UK sources 4% of it’s gas from Russian sources, which does not imply that there will be any supply issues. However, the impact of the invasion on the wider European market will drive costs up. It has been predicted by Cornwall insight that average annual energy bills will further jump by another £2,500 from October, whilst other companies such as Investec have estimated that this figure could reach £3,000.
What’s the best option to move away from Russian gas and protect customers from volatile pricing? Well, after it has been reporting that the drilling for gas and oil in the North Sea would not necessarily reduce energy bills for consumers, pursuing heat pumps and energy efficiency – such as increased insulation – would be a far quicker method to move away from Russian gas. By concentrating it’s focus on heat pumps and insulation, the UK could shield 6.5 million vulnerable households from increases in gas prices. Additionally, on average, a heat pump will be £260 cheaper per year than a gas boiler by next month.
The start of next month is the beginning of the Boiler Upgrader Scheme. The government will provide £5,000 grants to encourage property owners to install low carbon heating systems such as heat pumps, through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. These grants will help property owners overcome the upfront cost of low carbon heating technologies. The scheme will run from 2022 to 2025 and will cover domestic and small non-domestic properties. If you are looking to improve the energy efficiency of your property, we fully recommend making use of the scheme whilst it’s available.
With Energy Efficiency on the mind, it was great to see the Chancellor of the Exchequer announce that all energy efficiency improvements installed on properties will not be subject to VAT. This is great news and we hope this helps homeowners to be able to improve the efficiency of their properties with the likes of heat pumps.
Thousands of commercial properties not reaching MEES
This month, research has revealed that thousands of commercial properties won’t reach the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) – resulting in further costs and perhaps even fines for landlords, and also resulting in the disruption of multiple businesses. An extension of MEES requirements will mean that landlords will be unable to lease out commercial buildings with an EPC rating of F or lower from April 2023. Fines for continuing to let out a property of from this date may incur fines ranging from £5,000 to £150,000. Research from Bensons Gas Engineering has found that the domestic leased properties least likely to reach the MEES are theatres, music halls and cinemas, with 47.2% having an EPC rating of F or G. Research also found that 10.13% of commercial properties leased out do not have an adequate EPC rating of E or above – meaning it is important for tenants to check the building’s history to avoid disruption to businesses. We hope that these findings may translate into good business for Quidos members.
Recently, 59 local authorities were awarded funding to spend on the Private Rented Sector Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard Compliance and Enforcement. As energy efficiency experts, Quidos have been working with BANES to provide guidance in relation to this funding. PEPA have also carried out a Freedom of Interest request to understand how this funding is being spent – resulting in PEPA members going a step further and also providing guidance to these authorities. We hope this will have a positive impact on properties within the BANES area.
Reduction in Register Fees
From 1st April 2022, register fees for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland (not Scotland) will be decreasing!
The new register fees will be £1.50 for domestic lodgements and £1.70 for non-domestic lodgements. This will in turn will reduce your lodgement fees which we hope will be welcomed by all Quidos assessors of all types.
We’ve been exhibiting!
This month saw Quidos take to two exhibitions. From 1st March to the 3rd March we were exhibiting at Futurebuild, in the ExCeL, London. It was great to see so many faces and chat about the ongoing within the industry, and our vast software range and accreditation packages.
We were also exhibiting at the Ideal Home Show for 17 days between the 11th and 27th of March. We partnered with NatWest on their stand, to d
iscuss the current importance of the EPC and offering advice for visitors on how to reduce their energy spend. It’s great to work with a company like NatWest and amazing to offer advice to so many, and we are looking forward to being at the next Ideal Home Show with NatWest in Glasgow in May. You can read more about our visit to the Ideal Home Show HERE.
We’ve moved office
During the early parts of the month we moved office after 8 years of being based in North Parade Buildings.
You can now find us around the corner at Cambridge House, on Henry Street, Bath. It’s now great to be settled in our new home.
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