The government's stated objective of replacing millions of gas boilers within a few years would be "potentially very costly for consumers" and its environmental record "uncertain", the important consumer defense association UFC-Que Choisir estimated on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne presented in May a plan to reduce France's greenhouse gas emissions, in which the change of boilers is among the first targeted items, without mentioning a precise timetable. According to the president of the Confederation of crafts and small building companies (Capeb), Jean-Christophe Repon, the Prime Minister mentioned 2026 as “possible and potentially desirable deadline”. For UFC-Que Choisir, the consultation launched on the subject and which ends at the end of the month is a "simulacrum", since in his eyes "in defiance of the answers which will be provided, the Prime Minister has already spoken out for an end to the marketing of new gas boilers from 2026".
In addition, the consultation is held “without providing any complete assessment of the environmental impact of such a measure”. The manager of the high-voltage network RTE “will not publish until September, ie after the end of the consultation, a study aimed at “correctly assessing the new electricity needs”, explains the association. The UFC-Que Choisir also alerts to the fact that alternative heating methods, such as heat pumps, can induce an increase in electricity production. "There is nothing today to say that the environmental balance of a reduction in the fleet of gas boilers would be positive" in fine, she says.
In addition, the association still denounces, “changing the heating mode in poorly insulated housing is an aberration” and could lead “either to a strong insufficiency of heating, or to an excessive increase in the electricity peak in winter”. Last point, which strains the finances of many households: prohibiting the marketing of gas boilers would weigh the costs of transporting gas (30% of the bill excluding tax currently) on "an increasingly limited number of subscribers", knowing that some of them would be physically unable to install a heat pump, which "cannot be set up" without outdoor space, notes the association.