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Write to your MP request: Commons Select Committee on Energy Security and Net Zero

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Illustrious Member Admin
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Thank you to @transparent for bring the following to my attention:

I think this is a point which needs raising with the Commons Select Committee on Energy Security and Net Zero.

They opened a 'Call for Evidence' on the subject of Heating our Homes in June'23.
Although the time-frame for responses has officially closed, that's not quite as 'closed' as you might suppose!

Once the Committee has read the evidence, then then call witnesses for Oral Evidence sessions.
Those are transcribed and available for us to read, even if we missed the live-broadcast.
If any content within that Oral Evidence needs clarifying or challenging, then we can/should do so.

Let me copy here a section of the Oral Evidence session held on 10th Jan.

Vicky Ford MP [Con. Chelmsford] is questioning Fay Holland, Senior Energy Policy Advisor for the Energy Catapult, a government-operated quango:

6164 Q313

The overall session is trying to find out how local government could/should be helping people to better consider their heating options, whilst ignoring the wealth of expertise which is already available for free on forums.


@Derek has come up with a good idea to write to your MP, urging them to direct Vicky Ford to our forums, and has provided us with his draft that you can use as a template to contact your own MP. I would like to please request any forum members or guests who have received advice from these forums to please send a letter to their MP. Feel free to adapt the email to mention the type of advice you've received, and feel free to cc or bcc me on those emails:

Dear (MP Name)
I would be obliged if you would direct your colleague Vicky Ford to the forums at Renewable Heating Hub, which is an excellent source of good quality advice concerning heat pumps, both solar PV and solar thermal systems, and battery storage systems.
Many of the forum members are quite concerned at the lack of genuine help and guidance available, in both the selection of a suitable system and a competent installer to provide such a system, and once installed, in getting such a system correctly commissioned and optimised for efficient and effective performance.
Please feel free to contact me if you require further information.
@transparent if you have any additional advice on how members can become more vocal and have an impact, please feel free to share.

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Famed Member Moderator
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Thanks @editor

I'm minded to suggest that we don't try to deluge a named MP with letters from all her colleagues!
It's best to draw the attention of our own MP to a point raised within a Select Committee hearing, and allow them to respond appropriately.

a. Some may be interested to hear of this Forum and simply reply personally.
That's fine. The next time that MP receives a complaint from a constituent about a heat pump installation, they'll be only too pleased to direct them here!

b. Some might decide to use the official route, which is to forward your correspondence to the Minister of State for Energy (currently Claire Coutinho MP), and request a written response.
That draws the attention of staff in DESNZ to the value of this forum, which is certainly worthwhile doing.
Your MP will receive that official written response and will usually forward a copy to you.
Only at that point would I then ask my MP if DESNZ would be minded to provide financial support to such a cheap mechanism of distributing such valuable technical expertise.

c. Some MPs might decide to draw the attention of the Select Committee to the point you are making.
But let's remember that
  - we have the ability to do that ourselves, so why are we trying to involve our MP?!
  - correct protocol is to recognise that Vicky Ford MP is acting as a Member of that Select Committee, not as an individual


However each person here on the RHH Forum decides to act, it's extremely important when writing a letter to your MP that you start by setting the context.
There are two elements to this:

1. Say who you are, establishing that you do actually live in that constituency:
eg. "I am writing to you as a resident of [town] with an interest in renewable energy. In our quest to reach Net Zero by the government target of 2050, I have installed solar panels in [year] and more recently a heat pump. I am grateful to fellow members of the Renewable Heating Hub online forum, who have provided a high level of expertise at no cost whilst I have struggled to get this functioning as it should."

2. Refer to the matter which has provoked this letter:
"May I draw your attention to the following transcript which occurred during oral evidence to the Commons Select Committee on Energy on 10th January."
[include the screenshot from above]

and only then can you actually make the comment which you'd like your MP to act on!

viz: "Instead of central government continuing to increase the subsidy for heat pump installations which are clearly failing, it would surely be significantly cheaper, and more effective, to support those existing channels which are actually getting these installations right....."
[Provide an example screenshot from this Forum of an expert response to a question which has been posted]

End by saying
"Thank you for taking the time to read this.
I would appreciate hearing how you feel this can be taken forward."


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Mars and Derek M reacted
Illustrious Member Admin
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Topic starter  

@transparent, thanks for that and your experience, expertise and guidance in this matter is greatly appreciated. Government communications are complicated. 😪 In order to help members with a base template to send to MPs, would something like this work:

Dear [MP's Name]

I am writing to you as a resident of [town], deeply committed to the advancement of renewable energy within our community. In alignment with the government's goal to achieve Net Zero by 2050, I have actively participated in this initiative by installing a heat pump. My journey, though rewarding, has not been without challenges. I am indebted to the Renewable Heating Hub forum, whose members have generously shared their expertise at no cost, aiding me immensely in optimising my system.

I wish to bring to your attention a concerning matter highlighted during the oral evidence presented to the Commons Select Committee on Energy on 10th January. [Include the screenshot here]. This transcript raises critical issues regarding the current approach to promoting renewable energy solutions, specifically regarding heat pump installations.

Rather than continuing to increase subsidies for heat pump installations, which, as evident, have faced numerous issues, I propose a reevaluation of our strategy. It would be more cost-effective and impactful to support existing platforms that are successfully guiding these installations. As an illustration of the valuable assistance provided by such forums, I have attached a screenshot of an expert response from the Renewable Heating Hub. [Include the example screenshot here].

This pragmatic approach not only promises better utilisation of resources but also ensures that individuals who are embracing renewable energy solutions receive the support they truly need. It's about fine-tuning our focus to nurture and leverage the channels that are already making a positive difference.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Your consideration of this matter is crucial, and I eagerly await your thoughts on how we can collaboratively advance this initiative for the benefit of our constituency and the broader goal of sustainable energy.


Buy Bodge Buster – Homeowner Air Source Heat Pump Installation Guide:

Follow our sustainability journey at My Home Farm:

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Submitting to a Commons Committee.

Let's suppose that instead of (or as well as) writing to our MP, we wish to write directly to the Commons Committee from which I've been quoting the transcript of Oral Evidence.
I'm about to do just that, but on a different point within the same transcript of 10th Jan.
I'll lay out here the basics of how I'm constructing that so others can follow my approach.


1. Start with a Heading that defines what the document is, followed by identifying why this response is being written.

Heating our Homes inquiry by the Commons Select Committee on Energy Security and Net Zero

Submission by [name] in response to points raised in Oral Evidence session on 10th January 2024

I wish to clarify points made by witness Paula Widdowson in response to Q293 by Sir Mark Hendrick MP


2. To save everyone's time, reproduce the relevant section from the published transcript.
I've used software to clip out a couple of sentences and then highlight what I'm about to comment on.
You don't have to do this of course, but I like using colours to provide emphasis and clarity.



3. State what I'm taking issue with:

Whilst not disagreeing with the figures, I would like to point out that these two paragraphs are referring to different aspects of grid capacity.

The £7m cost of upgrading the Distribution Grid to connect the solar-farm in question is based on the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) calculating the power which must be carried at an instant of time. It's measured in kilowatts (kW).

The Climate Change Committee is referring to the amount of electricity consumption per unit of time (hour/day/year) required to power devices in the Britain by 2050. That is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), megawatt-hours (MWh) etc.

Yes, electricity demand in the country will increase due to transport migrating to EVs instead of petrol-diesel engines, and the installation of heat-pumps rather than gas boilers. But that demand is spread over time. The 400kV national grid doesn't need to be sized to carry all of that demand throughout all hours of the day.

National Grid Electricity Transmission inform me that the switch to EVs, for example, will actually require only a 10% increase in the (instantaneous) capacity of the physical wires and transformers, measured in gigawatts.

But we also need to note that overall demand is presently falling due to greater efficiency of devices powered by electricity [Source: DUKES 2022, Chapter 5]. We are reaping the benefits of migrating from incandescent light bulbs to LEDs, and from buying replacement TVs and fridges which have lower power input.


4. Now take the opportunity to add in a further point which makes clear the absurdity of allowing so many proposed solar-farms to connect to the grid.

It will be another 6 months before we have the DUKES statistics for 2023, but this was the situation for (instantaneous) grid capacity at the end of 2022.


The reason that Paula Widdowson is commenting on a potential delay until 2034 before that solar-farm can be connected, is because it's somewhere within the green bar of sites with "Offers to Connect".

During 2023 that green bar has continued to increase, propelled upwards by Ofgem's Significant Code Review on Access Charges coming into force on 1st April. That Decision removed from Applicants the need to contribute towards infrastructure upgrades when making a grid connection. Instead National Grid Electricity Transmission and the DNOs must find funding from consumers to pay for the enormous cost.

A major portion of those costs will inevitably be allocated onto the Daily Standing Charge, thereby disproportionately falling onto those with lower energy consumption. Those are households with prepayment meters and/or those in Energy Poverty.


And I will go on to comment on the way in which future energy planning will become the responsibility of the new Independent Systems Operator and Planning.
... but I hope you can get the drift of how such a document needs to be presented.

It needs to be based on a logical flow, supported with the relevant evidence, with sources referenced.

Remember, we're communicating with MPs. They have higher than average intelligence but very few have the engineering background to fully appreciate the issues.
It's our role to present those background details in as accessible a way as we can.
Unlike the 'official submissions' from organisations in the energy industry, I try to make copious use of graphics.

When you send in a submission like this, it is essential to supply your contact details in a covering message. Those don't get published, but Parliament is obviously going to ensure any evidence is only accepted from its own citizens!

Finally, note that Parliament only accepts electronic submissions in MS Word and ODG (Libre Office) file format.
You can't send in a PDF, for example.

This post was modified 4 months ago 10 times by Transparent

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