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
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