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