Government responds to British Gas Boiler Plus 'opt-out'

Published:  29 June, 2018

The Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) has provided a response to allegations that British Gas customers could opt-out of having Boiler Plus compliant measures installed.

A British Gas customer quote, of which part was published by the @gasmangod Twitter account on 6 June, stated the following: “We have explained the Boiler Plus requirements as well as the benefits of having one of the qualified measures installed. You have requested not to accept a qualifying measure. At some point your local authority (if appropriate) or a Gas Safe inspector may require this to be installed.”

HVP has seen the full quote (dated 8 May 2018 with the customer address redacted), which states the installation is for a new combi boiler with a wireless programmable room stat, and white angled manual and thermostatic radiator valves.

After being directed by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy that the MHCLG was responsible for enforcement, we approached the department for comment.

Regarding British Gas’ actions, a MHCLG spokesperson commented: “We are aware of these complaints and will be reminding the company of their responsibilities in meeting the minimum standards contained in Building Regulations.”

A spokesperson for British Gas said: "Boiler Plus standards were introduced from the 6 April of this year. We recognise the importance of these changes which is why we have expended significant time and resource in ensuring all of our service engineers in England and Wales (where Boiler Plus is applicable) have been trained in the new standards so that they can talk to customers about them.

"We positively encourage customers to engage with and understand the benefits of the new measures, so we do not approach this on the basis of an opt-out. However, if a customer has declined, then we do consider that we are responsible for ensuring that the customer is not left without a quote.

"We are already seeing encouraging levels of customer participation, which we monitor closely. We will be sharing our customer insights with government in the second half of this year, as it conducts a planned review of the effectiveness of the policy."

When asked for a statement confirming that gas engineers must comply with Boiler Plus, otherwise they open themselves up to the possibility of prosecution, the MHCLG spokesperson said: “Our new Boiler Plus standards are designed to ensure that boiler replacements are highly energy efficient, driving down bills for homeowners.

“It is important that installers follow them and councils have the power to take action where it is suspected building work may not meet Building Regulations.”