Heat Trust is a voluntary, stakeholder-led customer protection scheme for the heat network sector. It sets customer service standards that build on the service standards in the gas and electricity market. It also provides an independent dispute resolution service through an agreement with the Energy Ombudsman.

We have a stakeholder committee that agrees and reviews the customer standards set by Heat Trust.
Our vision is that all heat network customers have access to dependable heat supplies and excellent customer service.

Heat Trust delivers heat network customer protection by:
• applying robust customer service standards to heat suppliers;
• providing access to an independent dispute resolution service; and
• promoting best practice, continuous improvement, and innovation in customer service.
The Heat Trust Scheme is operated and managed by Heat Customer Protection Limited (company number: 09456667), a not-for-profit company that is limited by guarantee.

The Heat Trust Scheme is governed by a Board and an independent stakeholder Committee. The Board of Heat Customer Protection Limited is responsible for the activities of the company. Board members are required by law to act in the interests of Heat Customer Protection Ltd and not the company of their employment.

The stakeholder Committee is in charge of overseeing the Heat Trust Scheme Rules, which set the standards we require heat suppliers that join the Heat Trust Scheme to abide by.

The Committee has the role of ensuring that the service standards contained in the Heat Trust Scheme are robust. The Committee can make recommendations to the Board to amend the service standards to help ensure the Heat Trust Scheme is fulfilling its objectives.
Heat energy suppliers need to apply in order to register the heat networks that they manage with Heat Trust.

If a heat supplier meets the required preconditions, they can apply to become Registered Participants of the Heat Trust Scheme. If their application is accepted, they make a commitment to follow and abide by the rules and requirements set in the Scheme Rules.

Registered Participants are required to submit monitoring reports and will be independently monitored to ensure they are meeting the Scheme’s standards. Once a heat network has been successfully registered with the Heat Trust Scheme, customers on that network will benefit from the Scheme’s standards and will have access to the Energy Ombudsman’s Independent Complaint Handling Service.
Heat Trust was created to address customer service standards in the heat networks market and provide access to an independent complaints service. This is particularly important for heat networks customers as they are unable to switch heating suppliers.

The Heat Trust Scheme has established customer service standards that build on the service standards in the gas and electricity market. This is to ensure that customers on heat networks receive a standard of service and protection that is equivalent, so far as possible, to that offered to gas and electricity customers.
The Heat Trust Scheme is aimed at heat energy suppliers who contract with domestic and micro business properties through a Heat Supply Agreement and provide separate heat bills to their customers.
A heat network must apply to register with the Heat Trust Scheme. For an up-to-date list of our Registered Participants and the heat networks registered with the Heat Trust Scheme please see the ‘Registered Participants’ section of the website.
We believe all heat networks should be required to meet the standards set by Heat Trust.
Heat Trust is a voluntary customer protection scheme and we encourage all heat networks to register with Heat Trust. Doing this would ensure that all customers regardless of which heat network they live on, were assured the same quality and level of customer service, as well as access to the Energy Ombudsman.
We support increasing transparency in the market, but Heat Trust does not have the legal authority to give advice on individual pricing schemes and contract lengths.

We welcome the establishment of the Task Force on Post-2020 Heat Network Arrangements that is looking at fair pricing and contract-length.
The Heat Trust Scheme is a stakeholder-led, voluntary customer protection scheme, so it is important to have representation from across the sector. The wide range of stakeholders on the Committee, including representatives of heat suppliers, consumer bodies, local authorities, housing associations, consumer codes, and Scottish and UK government, provides the necessary skills and expertise to enable effective customer protection.
As a voluntary customer protection scheme, the Heat Trust Scheme does not have the authority to issue fines. Registered Participants of the Scheme are subject to independent audits, with severe non-compliance referred to the Non-Compliance panel. The individuals that sit on the Non-Compliance Panel are independent and have the power to rescind a Registered Participant’s membership of the Heat Trust Scheme.

Heat networks are increasingly often contractually required to register with the Heat Trust Scheme in order to access government funding, so losing membership will lead to loss of business and significant reputational damage.
As a voluntary customer protection scheme, Heat Trust can only apply the Scheme’s standards to heat networks registered with the Scheme. Heat Trust believes that all customers should have access to robust protection and consistently high service standards. We believe all heat networks should be required to meet the Heat Trust Scheme’s service standards as a minimum.
Heat Trust does not have the legal authority to regulate pricing, advise or comment on pricing. Under its general competition powers, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has the ability to investigate areas relevant to its competition, markets and consumer functions. More information about the CMA can be found on their website here.

We believe that all stakeholders in the sector benefit from increased transparency so have developed the Heat Cost Calculator. The Heat Cost Calculator provides a general indication of what you could expect to pay for heating and hot water in a similar sized property that used an individual gas boiler. It has been created for information purposes only and does not provide a bespoke assessment.
All properties must provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) when sold or rented, which provides the future occupant with details of the property’s energy efficiency level and an estimate of annual energy costs for the property.

EPCs provide a generic assessment of the cost of heating a property, based on an estimate of energy costs for a particular property size. They do not provide a specific, bespoke analysis of each customer’s property. This means that the figures they provide should be seen a broad guideline, rather than a bespoke assessment.

EPCs also do not typically include repair and maintenance costs for heating a property, which heat bills generally include, often as part of the standing charge. This means that additional costs, such as repair and maintenance costs which are included within in heat bill, are not factored into an EPC.

In our first annual report, we have suggested that an EPC should include an explanation on the costs that are included in its assessment and those that are not.

Whatever regulatory direction occurs in the future, Heat Trust believes that customer satisfaction should be the primary focus. We believe that all heat networks should be required to meet the standards set by the Heat Trust Scheme as a minimum.
Heat Trust is not a trade association; it is a voluntary stakeholder-led customer protection scheme for the district heating sector. 

This is demonstrated by how the company that administers the Heat Trust Scheme was formed.
The Heat Trust Scheme is managed by Heat Customer Protection Ltd (HCPL), a not-for-profit company that is owned by the Association for Decentralised Energy (a trade association). The two organisations are separate legal entities with separate Boards which ensures independence. In the Articles of Association for Heat Customer Protection Ltd the objectives are:
• To establish, develop, maintain and administer consumer assurance schemes for district heating and cooling networks; and
• To do anything which may be incidental or conducive to these objects.
We do not advocate or lobby on behalf of the Registered Participants of the Heat Trust Scheme. The established trade association for the district heating sector is the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE).