Following an article on district heating on Radio 5 Live, Heat Trust has made the following statement. 

“Heat Trust is a voluntary scheme that sets the standards for high quality customer service and protection for people living on district heating schemes. Customers on heat networks registered with Heat Trust can refer complaints about their supplier to the Energy Ombudsman in the same way as electricity and gas customers.  It is vital that issues raised by customers are addressed proactively and swiftly. We encourage customers with complaints that are unresolved after eight weeks and are on heat networks that are registered to Heat Trust, to contact the Energy Ombudsman who can investigate their complaint thoroughly and independently.

“The Scheme’s customer service standards are set by an independent committee, with representatives from consumer bodies, local authorities, housing associations, Scottish and UK governments and heat suppliers. We believe all heat networks should be required to meet the service standards set out by the Heat Trust, and this should be a condition of receiving any government funding.”

Notes to editors

About Heat Trust

Heat Trust is a voluntary, stakeholder-led scheme that sets the industry standard for high quality customer service and protection in the district heat market. We set customer service standards that build on those in the gas and electricity markets to ensure those protections are extended to customers on district heat schemes. Our vision is for all heat network customers to be provided with a dependable heat supply and excellent customer service. We endeavour to deliver heat customer protection by:

  • Applying robust customer service standards to heat suppliers;
  • Providing access to an independent dispute resolution service; and
  • Promoting best practice, innovation and continuous improvement in customer service.

 We are committed to working with all stakeholders to help ensure that the district heating market develops with a core focus on customer service and customer protection.  

How to make a complaint

When things go wrong with a customer’s heat supply and the problem cannot be resolved after speaking directly to the heat supplier, customers living on heat networks that are registered with the Heat Trust have access to a specialist independent complaint handling service, operated by the Energy Ombudsman. 

The Heat Trust has also produced a customer information sheet on how to make a complaint to your supplier and how to access the Energy Ombudsman which can be found here: http://www.heattrust.org/index.php/complaints

Complaints on accuarcy of bills and whether they have been calculated correctly can be taken to the Energy Ombudsman if the customer remains unhappy with how their supplier has managed their complaint. 

Governance

There are two groups involved in the governance of Heat Trust: the Board and the Committee of stakeholders.

The Heat Trust scheme is owned and managed by Heat Customer Protection Ltd, which is a not-for-profit company. The Board of Heat Customer Protection Ltd is responsible for ensuring the company’s operations and activities are within its Articles of Association and financial administration of the Company. The Board does not have the power to amend the Heat Trust standards directly. All Board members are bound by law to act in the interest of Heat Customer Protection Ltd and not the company of their employment.

A separate stakeholder Committee has been established to provide oversight of the Heat Trust scheme. It is the Committee’s role to review the standards set in the scheme and propose amendments to the standards. This structure is used in other codes of conduct and ensures a separation between the Board and Heat Trust Rules.

Importantly, independent panels and organisations are used to provide impartiality when assessing a heat supplier’s compliance with the Scheme:

  • We use the Energy Ombudsman to provide an independent complaint handling service.
  • We require each heat network to undergo an independent audit to assess compliance against the Scheme Rules. These audits will be conducted by independent Auditors as set out in the Scheme Bye-Laws.
  • If disciplinary action is required against a Registered Participant, a separate and independent Non-Compliance Panel is convened to assess the case and determine any necessary sanctions. It is the Non-Compliance Panel that can determine if a Registered Participant should be removed from Heat Trust.

How many networks are registered with Heat Trust?

As of end March 2017, there are 51 heat networks that are registered with Heat Trust, covering 30,000 customers.

ENDS  

6th February 2017

Following an article in The Observer on district heating and customer service, the Heat Trust has issued the following statement:

“At Heat Trust, we believe that value for customers and trust in the sector must be built on a foundation of basic customer protection: clear quality of service, strong minimum standards, and an independent way to settle disputes.

Heat Trust has established a consistent set of service standards that we believe all heat suppliers should provide their customers, and puts in place access to an independent Ombudsman to hold suppliers to account if they fail to deliver those standards.

The Heat Trust Scheme is stakeholder-led, with an independent Committee that is responsible for ensuring the standards set by the Scheme are robust. As Heat Trust moves into our second year we remain committed to working with all stakeholders to help build and grow a fairer, more transparent market for all customers of heat networks.”

Notes to editors

About Heat Trust

Launched in November 2015, Heat Trust is a customer protection scheme that operates a voluntary code of conduct. Our vision is for all heat network customers to be provided with a dependable heat supply and excellent customer service. We endeavor to deliver heat customer protection by:

  • Applying robust customer service standards to heat suppliers;
  • Providing access to an independent dispute resolution service; and
  • Promoting best practice, innovation and continuous improvement in customer service.

 We are committed to working with all stakeholders to help ensure that the district heating market develops with a core focus on customer service and customer protection.  

 How is Heat Trust managed?

There are two groups involved in the governance of Heat Trust: the Board and the Committee of stakeholders.

The Heat Trust scheme is owned and managed by Heat Customer Protection Ltd, which is a not-for-profit company. The Board of Heat Customer Protection Ltd is responsible for ensuring the company’s operations and activities are within its Articles of Association and financial administration of the Company. The Board does not have the power to amend the Heat Trust standards directly. All Board members are bound by law to act in the interest of Heat Customer Protection Ltd and not the company of their employment.

A separate Committee has been established to provide oversight of the Heat Trust scheme. It is the Committee’s role to review the standards set in the scheme and propose amendments to the standards. This structure is used in other codes of conduct and ensures a separation between the Board and Heat Trust Rules.

Importantly, independent panels and organisations are used to provide impartiality when assessing a heat supplier’s compliance with the Scheme:

  • We use the Energy Ombudsman to provide an independent complaint handling service.
  • We require each heat network to undergo an independent audit to assess compliance against the Scheme Rules. These audits will be conducted by independent Auditors as set out in the Scheme Bye-Laws.
  • If disciplinary action is required against a Registered Participant, a separate and independent Non-Compliance Panel is convened to assess the case and determine any necessary sanctions. It is the Non-Compliance Panel that can determine if a Registered Participant should be removed from Heat Trust.

How many networks are registered with Heat Trust?

In total there are 47 heat networks that are registered with Heat Trust, covering nearly 28,000 customers.

ENDS  

Contact details: 
Bindi Patel
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

 11th November 2016

Today Heat Trust welcomes Switch2 Energy Limited and its Grafton Square heat network in to membership, extending independent customer protection to 45 heat networks and 27,500 customers.

Bindi Patel, Head of Scheme at Heat Trust said:

“We are delighted that Switch2 Energy Limited has chosen to register its ESCO sites with Heat Trust.

By registering with Heat Trust, Switch2 Energy Limited joins a growing number of ESCO providers that recognise the importance of customer protection and sector-wide standards to provide assurance to customers on the quality of service they can expect from their Heat Supplier.”

Fiona MacDonald, Head of Customer Service at Switch-2 said:

Switch2 Energy Limited is delighted to be registering our ESCO sites with the Heat Trust. We are a strong supporter of all aspects of the Heat Trust and what it stands for; introducing standards of service to the industry and giving customers a higher degree of protection. As a customer focused organisation, we welcome this as an opportunity to continuously strive to improve our service and introduce new initiatives to enhance all aspects of our customer service.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

About Heat Trust

Heat Trust is leading customer protection for the district heating sector. Launched in 2015, Heat Trust puts in place a common standard in the quality and level of customer service that domestic and micro-business customers should expect from heat energy suppliers. It also provides customers free access to the Energy Ombudsman.

The standards of service have been designed to be comparable to those required by electricity and gas suppliers. Areas covered by Heat Trust include: support for vulnerable heat customers; procedures for reporting and responding to a fault or emergency; metering and billing, debt management and complaint handling.

There are currently 45 networks across GB registered with Heat Trust covering over 27,500 customers. A map of all registered heat networks can be found here: http://www.heattrust.org/index.php/members

Heat Trust is run by Heat Customer Protection Ltd which is a not-for-profit organisation.

Contact details

Bindi Patel, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Today one of the UK’s largest district heating schemes, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Stratford has joined Heat Trust. Over 2,800 customers who are resident at East Village, formerly the Athletes' Village, will now be protected under the Heat Trust Scheme.

Welcoming East Village to the scheme, Bindi Patel, Head of Scheme at Heat Trust said:

“We are delighted to welcome the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Heat Network to Heat Trust. By joining, East London Energy and its parent company, ENGIE, have recognised the importance and value of demonstrating their commitment to providing their customers with excellent service. With this addition Heat Trust is now providing customer protection to 25,500 customers”.

Paul McIver, Head of Community Energy at ENGIE said:

“We are committed to offering a high standard of care and customer service, which is why we are delighted our Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Heat Network has joined the Heat Trust Scheme. Our membership with the Heat Trust is an important part of providing continued improvements for our East London Energy customers, giving them the confidence that that  we will provide good standards of quality and consumer protection.”

The Park covers 560 acres, with 16km of heating pipe and 2km of cooling pipe. It was originally built to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Following the games many of the buildings were converted to public facilities, including the aquatics centre and the velodrome, and the athletes’ village to new residential housing. The Park’s energy centres also supply Stratford’s Westfields Shopping Centre.


The Park continues to evolve and grow and by 2030 it is expected that there will be more than 10,000 households forming the new E20 postcode.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

About Heat Trust

Heat Trust is leading customer protection for the district heating sector. Launched in 2015, Heat Trust puts in place a common standard in the quality and level of customer service that domestic and micro-business customers should expect from heat energy suppliers. It also provides customers free access to the Energy Ombudsman.

The standards of service have been designed to be comparable to those required by electricity and gas suppliers. Areas covered by Heat Trust include: support for vulnerable heat customers; procedures for reporting and responding to a fault or emergency; metering and billing, debt management and complaint handling.

There are currently 44 networks across GB registered with Heat Trust covering 25,500 customers. A map of all registered heat networks can be found here: http://www.heattrust.org/index.php/members

Heat Trust is run by Heat Customer Protection Ltd which is a not-for-profit organisation.

Monday 17th October 2016 

Consumer protection a vital part of Government’s heat network investment requirements

Consumers will be placed at the heart of new Government backed heat schemes according to a major new initiative launched today.

Applications to the Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP) for funding to support the development of heat networks will be required to sign up to consumer protection scheme Heat Trust or offer equivalent standards to domestic and micro-business customers.

The requirements form part of the pre-qualification questionnaire which invites local authorities to apply for a share of £39 million as part of the HNIP’s Pilot Scheme. Multiple criteria will be used to score and rank applications to the Pilot Scheme and include scores for carbon savings, customer impact and social net present value.

Welcoming the launch of the Heat Networks Investment Project, Bindi Patel, Head of Scheme at Heat Trust said:

“The long-term legacy of heat networks will be defined by how well heat networks operate and deliver for the customers they serve. Striving for excellence in customer service should form a central part of any heat network project.

It is, therefore, fantastic to see that the principles set out under Heat Trust for customer service standards and customer protection form part of the selection criteria in allocating funding.”

ENDS

Notes of Editors

About Heat Trust

Heat Trust is leading customer protection for the district heating sector. Launched in 2015, Heat Trust puts in place a common standard in the quality and level of customer service that domestic and micro-business customers should expect from heat energy suppliers. It also provides customers free access to the Energy Ombudsman.

The standards of service have been designed to be comparable to those required by electricity and gas suppliers. Areas covered by Heat Trust include: support for vulnerable heat customers; procedures for reporting and responding to a fault or emergency; metering and billing, debt management and complaint handling.

There are currently 45 networks across GB registered with Heat Trust covering 25,000 customers. A map of all registered heat networks can be found here: http://www.heattrust.org/index.php/members

Heat Trust is run by Heat Customer Protection Ltd which is a not-for-profit organisation.

Contact details

Bindi Patel, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About HNIP

The Heat Network Investment Project is managed by BEIS. Over five years £320 million will be made available for heat networks, new and existing. Today BEIS has published guidance for applicants applying for the first tranche of funding available for investment in heat networks as part of its £320 investment funds over the next five years.

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-central-heating-for-cities-to-help-reduce-energy-bills