Misleading claims from renewable heating supplier – ASA ruling

The Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) and OFTEC were delighted by the Advertising Standards Authority’s decision with respect to misleading claims made on a poster by a renewable heating supplier as to the cost-efficiency of air-source heat pumps.

Strong advocates for a mix of technologies and fuels Guy Pulham and Paul Rose have welcomed the ASA’s ruling

In a poster, the renewable heating supplier wrongly claimed that ‘oil heating will be outlawed by 2030’ and encouraged schools and colleges to switch to alternative systems ahead of the 2030 ‘deadline’.
The ASA considered that consumers were likely to understand the claim, “Don’t forget it’s now government policy that oil will be outlawed from estates by 2030” to be an objective statement that there was current government policy intended to prohibit the use of oil from estates by 2030.
The ASA has advised the supplier that their poster must not appear again in its current form.

Because the ASA had not seen evidence that showed that the government intended to prohibit, as opposed to phase out, the use of oil from estates, they concluded this claim “had not been substantiated, was therefore misleading and breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation).

“Promotional campaigns like this highlight the need for government to ensure consumers and businesses are not misled through the communication of a clear future pathway,” said Guy Pulham.
“OFTEC and FPS want to work with government to create a customer-focused decarbonisation programme. We see liquid fuels (whether that is a bio or e-fuel) as part of renewable future energy, and we would like the renewables sector to recognise that the future will be a mix of technologies and fuels dependant on the infrastructure of the building and the financial restrictions of the consumer. Our door is always open to explore how this can be best achieved.”
“These misleading claims may have been a great cause of concern for many schools and led them to falsely believe they had to switch to an alternative heating system; this would have been completely unnecessary”, added Paul Rose.
“Liquid fuels are very much part of the future energy mix and we welcome this ruling from the ASA as it demonstrates the importance of ensuring schools and other organisations are given accurate information, so they make informed decisions.”