Electric Heating

Alternative heating

Electric heating can be expensive and problematic for both tenants and landlords and with a high proportion of electric heating in social housing; electric heating tends to result in significantly higher energy costs than for homes with gas.  

There are often issues with old storage heaters. They often leak too much of the heat that should be stored, this can make some rooms too warm, and more importantly the heat escapes when it is not needed – and it is therefore not available when it is needed. Even worse, this can lead to the use of Economy 7 day rate electricity for heating which is then even more expensive than if the tenant was on standard rate electricity.

We have created an evaluation tool and how to guides to help landlords decide which solutions work best for them and their customers and these will be available shortly.

Our work with landlords shows that the most effective approach is to take a fundamental look at the options for electrically heated homes within the context of the organisation’s own aims. 

This includes understanding the technical options, but also the practical and people issues. These include capital and revenue costs, tackling fuel poverty, reducing energy costs and meeting an energy efficiency target.

Five things to think about


1. Electric heating was installed, and is still being installed, in homes for sound reasons, but can cause problems for housing providers.  With electricity prices rising and other use and control issues coming to light, they can create issues around affordability and can lead to customer complaints.

2. Tackling electrically heated homes is not always straightforward. The specific details and factors at any given site mean that adopting a fixed decision making hierarchy for heating may not come up with the best solution in many cases. 

3. There are some key things that can make the process easier.  In simple terms, sites with electrically heated homes need to be assessed individually and the solution linked to the key aims that you are trying to achieve. These can include home energy costs, capital costs, carbon saving, energy saving and revenue costs.

4.  It is important that proper evaluation is carried out to achieve the best option.  Defining the best option can be approached in different ways and with different metrics, how value is assessed can also affect the best option. 

5.   Using SAP in the evaluation process is entirely logical, but needs to be used wisely. Ideally SAP scores should come directly from assessments of the scheme and not another source such as stock databases or Energy Performance Certificates.