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I see a press release about "Heat Pump offer" for lower tariff for heat pumps?

  • 6 October 2023
  • 38 replies
  • 1254 views

But I cannot find it in the listings for tarifs anywhere…

 

Can anyone point me at it? 

I must be missing something.

 

Also - anyoen know if it counts for existing HP owners, or only if we buy a new one?

 

TIA

old_techie

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Best answer by Jeffus 24 January 2024, 21:06

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It’s 15p per kWh for OVOs new installation offer with Heat Geeks. They measure the electricity used for just the heat pump and that’s what’s charged at the 15p rate. Not available for existing installations but here’s hoping!!

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The 15p deal is called Heat Pump Plus

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Hi,

 

How long will the 15p tariff be available for ?

I heard that it will be for 12 months

 

Thanks

 

Paul;

 

Userlevel 1

OvO are very coy about this scheme and .. is it actually up and running yet?

I also am looking for a Heat Pump variable tariff since I am installing a big one in March, NOT via Heat Geek. If you have been looking for a government grant then you will know that certainly here (Scotland) they insist on MCS accreditation for the design and installation. I have it on good authority that Heat Geek do not install heat pumps, rather they have MCS accreditation but then certify installers themselves to do the work. On that basis your installer may or may not have MCS accreditation and in the latter case then if the funding body is awake they could reject your application.

I have to say that I object to the scheme because there is no functional connection between installation and electricity provision and it looks to me like a way of getting non-MCS accredited installers past the funding guidelines and squeezing out legitimate and more experienced firms. It is just a cosy business arrangement between Heat Geek and OvO and a land grab of government funds.

Unless OvO come up with something less objectionable and more generally available then I’m moving to another supplier and taking my company with me.

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Hi @dr_dongle 

I don't work for ovo, i am just a customer.

Welcome to the forum.

This is primarily a forum where customers help each other out. The are a few ovo moderators who read all the posts and respond to some but not all threads.

Great to hear about another heat pump installation.

There is a thread here with a bit more info on the offer

And other threads if you search for heat pump on the forum.

It is what it is right now.

If you are after a non standard tariff for a heat pump installed via anyone but the heat geek offer then you will have to shop around.

I suspect one of the Octopus tariff are worth a look depending on your setup. Although I hear of some people struggling with their Cosy heat pump tariff. Your installer may be able to help with recommendations for a tariff. Having home batteries or an EV can open up possibilities for example.

Octopus have a table with suggested tariff which is probably a good place to start. You may already have seen it

Your low carbon tech Your best tariff
Heat pump Cosy Octopus
Electric car (EV) Intelligent Octopus Go
Solar panels Outgoing Fixed
Solar, battery storage Octopus Flux
Battery storage Agile + Outgoing Octopus
EV, solar Intelligent Octopus Go
EV, heat pump Intelligent Octopus Go
EV, solar, heat pump Intelligent Octopus Go
Heat pump and solar Cosy Octopus + Outgoing Fixed
Nothing yet Agile Octopus or Octopus Tracker

If you want information on the ovo Heat Geek offer you can find it here.

https://upgrades.heatgeek.com/homeowner/homeowner-agreement/

There is an email address in the terms for queries, so you could always ask them directly about the points you have raised. I suspect that is better than asking via OVO.

upgrades@heatgeek.com

And a phone number in the terms and on the Heat Geek website 0808 168 9403

There are lots of Heat pump owners on the forum if you have any questions before and after your new heat pump. Is there anything you would like to ask?

Do you mind sharing some information on what your setup will be? For example have you included batteries, does your design easily integrate with Octopus Agile, has your designer recommended any tariff based on their experience and the design they are recommending for your home?

Be great if you could post your experience to share with others, including any other tariff you are considering. Have you found any tariff you like at the moment?

Good luck!

 

 

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If you lived in the Bristol area you’d absolutely be able to contact an MCS accredited HeatGeek who can install you a heat pump with the government BUS grant. I don’t know how far the scheme extends right now but it has to start somewhere. OVO are based in Bristol, this may be the reason. 
Heat Geek provide training for heating engineers, they show who has passed which level of training on their map at https://www.heatgeek.com/find-a-heat-geek/ True, there aren’t any Elite level installers in Scotland.

Although MCS accreditation is required for the BUS scheme it doesn’t necessarily mean the installer has done the high level of training required to get to HeatGeek Elite.

Userlevel 1

Very happy to talk about my up-and-coming installation if this is the best forum… I have a generous 4 bedroom house (1975-1990), all on one level so lots of floor and roof. I’m off grid for gas and I’m burning 4000 litres of oil/annum (=over 10 tonnes of CO2) in a big 20 year old boiler. One heat pump will struggle on the coldest days so I’m going for a hybrid - a 14 KW Vaillant ASHP and a much smaller condensing oil boiler as a top-up - I’m hopeful that that will just be for a couple of weeks each year.  I’m replacing some of my radiators (P+ and K2 for the cognoscenti) with K3 which have three panels with fins. The rads I have chosen have the same height, width and pipe position as the current ones so I’m hopeful that they will go in one-for-one, just thicker - we’ll know about that next week when they’re installed.

Despite all of the discussion about heat pumps I feel that I am path-finding with this setup but there must be lots of heat-inefficient large rural properties for which this would be an option. 

I keep learning things which make me realise the magnitude of the problems with switching to sustainable power, e.g.: “A Tesla Powerwall will store as much energy as 1.3 litres of kerosene”.

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Are you having any of the pipe work increased to 28 and 22 mm ? 

Userlevel 1

Sorry, me again but you mentioned batteries - were you thinking about photovoltaic input? A 12-panel Maxeon 3 solar array generates a bit over 5 kW under ideal conditions. Scotland is far from ideal so best take 80% of that when the sun shines - in December we average 27 hours of direct sun over the entire month (42 in January) so all of December equates to 111 kWh which is 3.6 kWh or a bit over £1 worth of electric power per day. I’ve tried to make PV work but there’s just not enough sun for heating or cars - it would take 5.5 days to half-charge a small 40 kWh EV. You get some PV output under bright cloud but it drops off a lot.

Where batteries or more likely a generator might be handy in a hybrid system is that if you had a power cut (and we do get them here) or the ASHP failed you could power the oil boiler and pump for a while till things came back on again.

 

Userlevel 1

To juliamc:

No-one has mentioned pipes though it had occurred to me: the main pipe runs are 22mm dropping to 15mm at each end of the radiators. The installer engineer is due here tomorrow, I’ll check though, thanks. I hope to have a full schematic for the system soon after that as well.

Concerning Octopus Agile I think the main requirement is for networking round the house and one of the more recent SMETS2 smart meters - one reason I’ve been holding off on OvO installing theirs. 

I take your points about accreditation and there, the funding bodies and private customers can easily check and insist on that. I’m a bit more concerned about the  OvO/Heat Geek partnership using OvO’s dominant market position to leverage Heat Geek’s position as installer-brokers. It is dangerously close to being a restrictive practice.

I’ve not researched tariffs further than Octopus - I’m not expecting to save money (it may even cost me) but this is me doing my bit to save the planet.  It may make this house more saleable, but that’s hopefully a LONG way into the future. Of course if we’re all using hydrogen or glowing zero-point modules by then I’m doomed ...

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Rereading the OVO-HeatGeek link that jeffus has posted above: it does say that HeatGeek will apply for the BUS scheme for you.. this means the installer would have to have MCS accreditation, so there wouldn’t be a situation where the customer finds that the application is rejected.

There have been many examples of poor workmanship from installers who are just MCS accredited. That’s not enough on its own to guarantee a decent standard of service.

Userlevel 1

Hi,

 

The scheme is up and running!

I filled out the form and received a link to engage with Heat Geek.

So far I’ve paid to get the survey done and have been contacted by the installer and agreed the date for the survey :)

Heat Geek are sub-contracting the install to the Heat Geek network of engineers.

There seems to be a network of Heat Geek affiliated companies that hold the necessary certifications to meet the boiler upgrade scheme requirements.

Here are the details of  Heat Pump Plus add-on Terms and Conditions | OVO Energy

It looks like it is similar to the EV charging add, it that it’s driven by the energy usage from the heat pump.

 

 

 

Userlevel 7
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Hi,

 

The scheme is up and running!

I filled out the form and received a link to engage with Heat Geek.

So far I’ve paid to get the survey done and have been contacted by the installer and agreed the date for the survey :)

Heat Geek are sub-contracting the install to the Heat Geek network of engineers.

There seems to be a network of Heat Geek affiliated companies that hold the necessary certifications to meet the boiler upgrade scheme requirements.

Here are the details of  Heat Pump Plus add-on Terms and Conditions | OVO Energy

It looks like it is similar to the EV charging add, it that it’s driven by the energy usage from the heat pump.

 

 

 

@PaulWa be great to hear how the survey goes 

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Where are you @PaulWa ?

Userlevel 1

North East Hampshire, not far from Heat Geek HQ

Userlevel 7

 @PaulWa that’s fantastic to hear. Would you be happy to keep this forum updated with how things go? I’d love to be able to have someone document this, from signing up, surveys, installation and beyond. It will be super valuable to others considering the change to this low carbon technology. 

 

@dr_dongle on the 31st January, assuming no delays, we’ll be posting on the forum about something you will be very interested about. My advice is to wait till then and then make an informed decision on this.

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@Tim_OVO: You’ll have my full attention and I’ll be very happy to spread good news!

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To juliamc:

No-one has mentioned pipes though it had occurred to me: the main pipe runs are 22mm dropping to 15mm at each end of the radiators. The installer engineer is due here tomorrow, I’ll check though, thanks. I hope to have a full schematic for the system soon after that as well.

Concerning Octopus Agile I think the main requirement is for networking round the house and one of the more recent SMETS2 smart meters - one reason I’ve been holding off on OvO installing theirs. 

I take your points about accreditation and there, the funding bodies and private customers can easily check and insist on that. I’m a bit more concerned about the  OvO/Heat Geek partnership using OvO’s dominant market position to leverage Heat Geek’s position as installer-brokers. It is dangerously close to being a restrictive practice.

I’ve not researched tariffs further than Octopus - I’m not expecting to save money (it may even cost me) but this is me doing my bit to save the planet.  It may make this house more saleable, but that’s hopefully a LONG way into the future. Of course if we’re all using hydrogen or glowing zero-point modules by then I’m doomed ...

Do you have an old smart meter at the moment or a traditional meter @dr_dongle 

If smart try this check to see if it has been migrated to the same connectivity as SMETS2 meters which would mean any supplier can read them.

https://smartmetercheck.citizensadvice.org.uk/

 

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Sorry, me again but you mentioned batteries - were you thinking about photovoltaic input? A 12-panel Maxeon 3 solar array generates a bit over 5 kW under ideal conditions. Scotland is far from ideal so best take 80% of that when the sun shines - in December we average 27 hours of direct sun over the entire month (42 in January) so all of December equates to 111 kWh which is 3.6 kWh or a bit over £1 worth of electric power per day. I’ve tried to make PV work but there’s just not enough sun for heating or cars - it would take 5.5 days to half-charge a small 40 kWh EV. You get some PV output under bright cloud but it drops off a lot.

Where batteries or more likely a generator might be handy in a hybrid system is that if you had a power cut (and we do get them here) or the ASHP failed you could power the oil boiler and pump for a while till things came back on again.

 

Hi @dr_dongle no not solar but battery storage. The majority of people are using batteries to capture cheap electricity from the Grid rather than for power cuts

The only people I have personally come across that have made the Octopus Cosy tariff viable are those with battery storage to charge up in the cheap slot to get through the expensive daytime slot.

You would need to see how your heat pump performed if it was throttled in the expensive daytime slot. You might find it it would work for you. @juliamc gave it a go for example.

Your designer should be able to give you some thoughts based on your heat loss and you could always see how your heat pump would perform without actually switching to Octopus 

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Very happy to talk about my up-and-coming installation if this is the best forum… I have a generous 4 bedroom house (1975-1990), all on one level so lots of floor and roof. I’m off grid for gas and I’m burning 4000 litres of oil/annum (=over 10 tonnes of CO2) in a big 20 year old boiler. One heat pump will struggle on the coldest days so I’m going for a hybrid - a 14 KW Vaillant ASHP and a much smaller condensing oil boiler as a top-up - I’m hopeful that that will just be for a couple of weeks each year.  I’m replacing some of my radiators (P+ and K2 for the cognoscenti) with K3 which have three panels with fins. The rads I have chosen have the same height, width and pipe position as the current ones so I’m hopeful that they will go in one-for-one, just thicker - we’ll know about that next week when they’re installed.

Despite all of the discussion about heat pumps I feel that I am path-finding with this setup but there must be lots of heat-inefficient large rural properties for which this would be an option. 

I keep learning things which make me realise the magnitude of the problems with switching to sustainable power, e.g.: “A Tesla Powerwall will store as much energy as 1.3 litres of kerosene”.

Hi @dr_dongle you will find very few hybrid setups these days.

We have some double panel double fin radiators in our old house even with a gas boiler. They have helped when we are a bit constrained in a conservation area and with rubble filled very narrow cavities.

The grants outside  Scotland don't cover hybrid heat pumps.

You will find a few setups under the old RHI Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, including examples running HVO Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil rather than oil for environmental reasons. You may already have come across this example of rural house with a hybrid setup running HVO.

https://myhomefarm.co.uk/category/sustainability

If you are interested in batteries then this is an interesting forum to check out. A few of the posters have gone down the DIY route which is dramatically cheaper if you feel confident about that sort of thing. It is also a good forum for advice about heat pump designs and optimising.

https://renewableheatinghub.co.uk/forums

One of the free heat loss tools might be worth checking out if you haven't already as a comparison to your designers heat loss calculations 

https://heatpunk.co.uk/home

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 @Jeffus  No, dumb.  I had a smart meter installed some years ago but the house RCD immediately started tripping at 6pm every night so I went back to a dumb one.
The engineer who took it out thought that the burst of microwaves when the meter phoned out to record the reading was tripping the RCD which was close by. Hopefully this is a non-problem with current technology and if not then my first response will be to screen the RCD. OvO have apparently been installing SMETS2 for some time.

The pipe runs are 28mm as far as they are visible (22mm was the hot water), sorry.

I hadn't considered battery assistance to optimise tariffs.  The Vaillant ASHP delivers 12.3 kW at a SCOP of 3.63 suggesting that it draws 3.4kW so to fully time-shift a 4 hour cheap band would require 13.6kWh of storage. What would do that (my brief research led immediately to the aforementioned Tesla Powerwall 2 at £5000+. Ouch). I’ll check your links though.

I looked at wood pellet biofuel but not oil. I can talk about pellets if you like and if it’s not off-topic.

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That’s more often than not caused by faulty RCD units. Smart Meters are designed to try and avoid that, but it’s an imperfect science.

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@Jeffus  “you will find very few hybrid setups these days.”. This implies a trend that they are a decreasing breed. Did you form an opinion as to why?  An obvious possibility is that bigger and better heat pumps are taking away the need but another could be that those potential customers aren’t coming forward e.g. because of high electricity prices.  My house is a bit weird but I can’t believe that it has a significantly higher head demand than all the farmhouses around here or even many large stone country or town houses. I did the calculations and the installer did too using the MCS toolkit and we both came out with figures that said that a single heat pump would struggle, hence the hybrid. My installer said that they don’t get many rural properties, full stop.

PS I never thanked you for your welcome post, much appreciated.

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1st step towards sustainable heating today - replaced radiators with ones that will work at 55 C. Replacing rads with ones the same width and height but rather thicker worked well and they look OK. Installer (a different one) says that I’m the only house in the area doing this apart from an architect who lives nearby, so why? My theory is that there are definite issues up front (cost, upheaval) with risk downstream (uncertain cost savings and the possibility that one is investing heavily in a technological dead end) and no concrete benefits except a warm fuzzy feeling.

Which brings me back to tariffs.  

There are between 2 and 4 million rural properties chucking out tonnes of CO2 each year (11 tonnes in my case, five times the CO2 output of my car even when I was driving a lot and three times the CO2 output of an average gas-burning 3 bedroom house.

The energy companies should be rewarded, cajoled, incentivised, forced, shamed, whatever into providing tariffs that pass the benefits of CO2 savings properly back to their customers who invest in sustainable systems even if this means subsidising the process from those who elect not to.  There’s a log-jam here which needs to be shifted if we are serious about sustainability.

This in turn requires that the government researches the issue and if my analysis is right should match its actions to its policy. Just offering significant cash grants up front doesn’t seem to be working.

OvO is in a position to be a market and civic leader here - if the impending announcement is a log-jam breaker then I will be the first to make sure to applaud it and make sure that policy-makers hear about it.

PS: the other comment attributed to the architect was that any house over 15 years old can never be made heat-efficient through insulation so (my conclusion) don’t base policy on the assumption that it can.

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@Jeffus  “you will find very few hybrid setups these days.”. This implies a trend that they are a decreasing breed. Did you form an opinion as to why?  An obvious possibility is that bigger and better heat pumps are taking away the need but another could be that those potential customers aren’t coming forward e.g. because of high electricity prices.  My house is a bit weird but I can’t believe that it has a significantly higher head demand than all the farmhouses around here or even many large stone country or town houses. I did the calculations and the installer did too using the MCS toolkit and we both came out with figures that said that a single heat pump would struggle, hence the hybrid. My installer said that they don’t get many rural properties, full stop.

PS I never thanked you for your welcome post, much appreciated.

It is a good question. I am not questioning your need for one by the way. If the qualified designer says that is the best option then why not go for it.

A number of reasons why you won't find many examples

1. Grants outside Scotland don't pay out for Hybrid heat pumps. That is clearly a big one.

2. Complexity and cost puts some people off.

3. The number of installers able or with decent experience to offer hybrid setups is relatively small

4. It feels like a transition technology as gas will go at some time 

5. Households are encouraged to go for a fabric first approach. Improve insulation etc ideally so a heat pump will suffice. It is not easy or cheap in some homes, not just rural ones

6. There is already some tightening in the mortgage market for homes with poor insulation so there will be more of an incentive to prioritise that going forward so a hybrid setup isn't needed.

7. An expectation that costs may be taken off electricity and loaded onto gas at some point making the financial case for hybrid setups less appealing.

You will find examples of hybrid setups but they will be rare even in rural locations.

Under the boiler upgrade scheme in England and Wales in December which pays grants for heat pumps:

46% of upgrades where previously off the gas grid  

57% of installs were classed as rural

It doesn't tend to be particularly newer homes taking up heat pump grants.

 

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