In an interview with “Wirtschaftswoche”, Kai Schiefelbein, the boss of Stiebel-Eltron, expressed his dissatisfaction with the federal government’s heating policy and Economics Minister Habeck’s heating law. He sees the funding strategy as a “low blow for the heat pump industry”.

Schiefelbein is the head of the heat pump and air conditioning company Stiebel Eltron. His main criticism: The government had “only announced a ban on installing new gas heaters” and thus triggered a rush of buyers. The installation ban was later postponed again – whereupon many homeowners bought gas heating again.

According to Schiefelbein, this was “a double blow against the heat pump that strangled the entire market.” At the beginning of the year, Stiebel Eltron had to respond to the collapse in demand for heaters and sent 2,000 workers at its factory in Holzminden, southern Lower Saxony, on short-time work. Work was only done three days a week. “Politics have caused these people pain,” complained the head of Stiebel Eltron back then.

But he still sees a major disadvantage for heat pumps in the next few years, Schiefelbein told “Wirtschaftswoche”: “CO2 pricing is not yet effective enough and that means that electricity is three times more expensive than gas. That will remain the case for another two to three years, we have to live with that.”

Stiebel Eltron bought a factory from the automotive supplier Continental in Gifhorn in December and wanted to retrain 300 of its employees to build heat pumps by 2027.

The company boss also criticized the traffic light’s funding strategy in the interview: “Then there are funding commitments like the one now in Germany, which will be announced in 2023, but for which applications could only be submitted from the end of February 2024, and the money will now only be paid out in autumn 2024. “This is “another low blow for the heating industry and especially the heat pump industry, because in the worst case scenario demand could be postponed until autumn this year,” said Schiefelbein.

Of course, it’s not just Stiebel Eltron who has noticed the weak demand for heat pumps in the heating market. Today, heat pump manufacturer Vaillant announced that around 700 jobs would have to be cut within the group, including 300 in Germany. The group had invested two billion euros in the heat pump business.

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