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.

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Friday 30th September 2016

Heat Trust has today launched its Heat Cost Calculator. Designed specifically for domestic customers served by new district heating schemes, the Heat Cost Calculator is a new online tool that will allow customers to compare their annual heating and hot water costs with a typical, alternative heating system.

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20 January 2016

Today Citizens Advice published a report on district heating following an information request that was issued to local authorities last year. 

In response to the report Heat Trust said:

“We welcome that Citizens Advice considers Heat Trust to have established well thought-out customer protection standards. It is encouraging that 76% of suppliers in the report said they would consider joining Heat Trust.

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First GB–wide independent heat customer protection scheme goes live

25 November 2015

From today, over 15,000 heat customers are benefitting from free independent complaint resolution and minimum customer service standards.

This is through the launch of Heat Trust, a new industry-led customer protection scheme that sets standards in key areas including performance, reliability and customer service. The Energy Ombudsman will provide the independent complaints handling service to ensure fair treatment of customers.
Launched at Heat Conference, Heat Trust announced that E.ON, SSE Heat Networks and Metropolitan King’s Cross have become its first members.

Bindi Patel, Head of Scheme said:

“I am delighted to welcome E.ON, SSE and Metropolitan King’s Cross as the first members of Heat Trust. The launch of Heat Trust is a key milestone for the district heating sector, demonstrating its commitment to giving customers peace of mind in their heating and hot water supply.
I look forward to working with industry, government and consumer bodies to ensure Heat Trust provides effective protection to as many customers as possible.”

Lord Bourne, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, welcomed the launch of Heat Trust:

“My priorities are keeping energy bills as low as possible for hard working families and businesses and ensuring everyone has access to reliable and low carbon energy.
Heat networks play an important role in these priorities but they need to do so in a way that focuses on consumers, I am therefore happy to support the launch of the Heat Trust as the UK’s first independent consumer protection scheme for heat networks.”

Heat Trust provides protections to customers across Great Britain. The Scottish Government Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said:

“The Scottish Government believes that development of a sustainable renewable heat industry will be a key factor in helping Scotland meet its climate change targets and provides huge business opportunities. The launch of the independent Heat Trust is a positive step forward for the protection of householders and micro businesses connected to heat networks.

“Earlier this year, the Scottish Government published its Heat Policy Statement which sets out our framework for a resilient heat system. We are committed to a largely decarbonised heat system by 2050 which will require action by householders, business, industry, the public sector and communities across Scotland.”

Customers that live on heat networks registered to the Scheme will be able to refer a complaint they may have with their supplier to Ombudsman Services: Energy for investigation. Speaking at the launch of Heat Trust, Simon Morris, Deputy Chief Executive of the Ombudsman Services said:

“We are delighted that Heat Trust has recognised the value and quality of independent redress and are proud to be providing the dispute resolution service for them. As of today, energy customers that use a heat network registered to the scheme have the extra reassurance that they will be protected if things don’t go to plan with their energy supply.

“As the value of customer service becomes increasingly important for both consumers and businesses, providing dispute resolution which is independent, free to the consumer, and at low cost to the industry, is an example of best practice.”

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Please note that DECC have suspended the requirement for cost effectiveness tests for individual metering and removed the Heat Metering Viability Tool. DECC have posted the following notice on the webpage that hosts the heat networks metering guidance and regulations (Heat Networks Metering and Billing: compliance and guidance - Detailed guidance - GOV.UK):

“The European Commission is developing guidance on the application of cost effectiveness tests for heat metering, under the Energy Efficiency Directive. This means that the earlier DECC cost effectiveness tool will need to be revised. In most properties, the tool had indicated that individual heat meters will not be cost-effective. Therefore, pending the revision of the tool we are advising that no further assessments should be undertaken. Any assessments which are undertaken following this announcement using the current tool may need to be redone once the revised tool has been introduced. The requirement to install heat meters to measure final consumption of heat from a heat network in buildings occupied by one final customer will not be enforced by the National Measurement and Regulation Office pending revision of the tool. The remaining requirements in the regulations are unaffected (for example in relation to building-level meters and newly constructed buildings connected to a district heating network and those buildings on district heating networks that undergo a major renovation). The remaining notification requirements still apply."