Scales fairness 2Treating customers fairly

Heat Trust's Registered Participants are required to treat their heat network customers fairly and this principle underpins all our consumer-protection standards. Read our guidance on what it means HERE.

ProtectionSupporting vulnerable customers

Heat Trust's minimum consumer-protection standards include supporting customers in vulnerable situations. You can find our best practice guidance for our Registered Participants on what's mean by 'vulnerable situations' (and how to identify them) HERE.

In 2021, Citizens Advice also published a Good Practice Guide for heat suppliers on making sure consumers get the right support and information. Find it HERE

AbacusSupporting customers in financial difficulty

Following the crisis in energy prices and the cost of living, Heat Trust compiled a 2022 report that reviewed how our Registered Participants were supporting their heat network customers in financial difficulty. It also summarised best practice. You can find it HERE.

In 2021, Citizens Advice also published a Good Practice Guide for energy and heat suppliers on supporting customers in energy debt. Find it HERE.

ProtectionGuaranteed Performance Standards

Heat Trust has developed guidance for our Registered Participants on how to comply with our Guaranteed Performance Standards (Scheme Rule 6). You can read it HERE.

ChargesGuaranteed Service Payments

Heat Trust requires our Registered Participants to compensate their customers where interruptions to their heat supply don't meet our minimum performance standards. The resulting Guaranteed Service Payment (GSP) amounts are given in the Scheme Rules as "(Indexed)", meaning that they are October 2015 prices (from when the Scheme launched) and must be uprated for inflation. Since 1 April 2023, they are uprated and fixed once a year by Heat Trust. You can find the indexed figures for this year and previous years HERE.

Customer complaints Complaints

You can find Heat Trust's best practice guidance for our Registered Participants on how to deal with customer complaints HERE. This is a key interaction with customers and we believe that all heat network suppliers have their customers' best interests at heart – when things go wrong, they want to fix them. 

Piggy bank Billing best practice

Heat Trust has pulled together a compilation of best practice relating to billing HERE. This is particularly important given wholesale gas price rises, which heat network customers have little protection from, and because 'billing and charges' is consistently a top cause of customer complaints.

ContractExample heat network bill

OPSS (the Office for Product Safety and Standards) has put together an example heat network bill showing all the information it should contain. You can find it HERE. Note that it uses 2021 energy price examples that may not be representative of current prices. 

ChargesStanding Charges

Heat Trust has published a summary of our Scheme requirements, and best practice suggestions, for breaking down standing charges so that customers can understand them. You can find it HERE.

ComplaintPre-contractual transparency

Heat Trust has collected a set of best practice actions to ensure that customers are able to see the key terms and conditions of their heat supply before they move into their home. This pre-contractual transparency is crucial because many consumers don't find out that they're on a heat network until after they've moved in, and only then realise that heat network consumers can't change supplier due to the monopoly nature of these networks. You can find our guidance HERE

ContractCustomer Charter

See HERE for Heat Trust's guide to information that should be included in a Customer Charter. A Customer Charter may be used where it's not possible to have a separate Heat Supply Agreement between the supplier and each customer.

ContractResidential Supply Agreement

Clean energy law firm Lux Nova Partners, a member of the Triple Point Heat Networks Investment Management consortium, has drafted a suite of template heat contracts that were commissioned by government and developed through consultation. 

Their template Residential Supply Agreement might be of particular interest to prospective Heat Trust Scheme participants as it was designed to be compliant with our Scheme Rules.

You would still need to add the following information to the RSA when applying to register with Heat Trust (relevant Scheme Rule in brackets):

  • statement of flow temperature (Section 6.1)
  • Guaranteed Service Payments for interruptions that match our Scheme Rules (Section 6.3)
  • information on Heat Trust, up to date heat tariffs and higlights of the key terms and conditions of the heat supply, to be available for prospective customers (Section 8.1)
  • how to read a meter and submit a reading, and how customers can view their consumption (Sections 8.2 and 9.3)
  • how to operate their pre-payment meter, if applicable, including emergency credit (Sections 9.5 and 16.2)
  • how often the meter and HIU will be inspected (Sections 9.7 and 10)
  • contingency and maintenance plans (Section 11)
  • process for supporting both customers in need of additional support AND customers in vulnerable situations (Sections 13 and 14)
  • bills that include information on where to find advice or answers to queries (Section 15.6)
  • procedure for complaints (Section 17)
  • privacy policy (Section 21)

ProtectionAudit Completion Guidelines

Heat Trust uses external auditors to audit our Registered Participants' compliance with our consumer-protection standards. We audit each Registered Site at least every five years and can audit a site more frequently if we identify risk factors for consumer detriment. Our Audit Guidelines for Registered Participants explain the audit steps, scoring system and possible outcomes. You can find them HERE.

SizeTechnical standards for heat networks

CIBSE (the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers) has developed a voluntary Code of Practice (CP) 1 that sets out minimum technical standards for heat networks, which you can find HERE.

BESA (the Building Engineering Services Association) has developed a voluntary test standard and testing regime for the Heat Interface Units (HIUs) that transfer heat from the heat network into an individual consumer's home. You can find this HERE. It aims to ensure that the HIU market meets the needs of those developing and designing heat networks that ultimately benefits consumers.

Although these standards are voluntary, with planned statutory regulation on the horizon for heat networks Heat Trust strongly encourages developers of new heat networks to follow them. Doing so helps the sector get regulation-ready and avoids consumer detriments from poor heat network performance.

 Improving heat network performance

DESNZ (the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero) has published short guidance notes and videos setting out practical steps to help operators improve the performance of existing heat networks. You can find them HERE.

ProtectionGuidance on Heat Network Metering & Billing Regulations

OPSS (the Office for Product Safety and Standards) has published guidance for heat suppliers on how to comply with the government's existing regulations on heat network metering and billing. You can find it HERE.