Heat networks are set to play a key role in meeting carbon reduction targets and helping to create a sustainable energy future. Effective consumer protection is essential to the long-term success of the heat network market. Satisfied customers are the fuel for future growth.

Registration with Heat Trust provides assurance to customers and investors that their heat supplier will meet sector-wide service standards and best practice that are comparable to those in the gas and electricity markets. It also enables an independent process for settling disputes between heat suppliers and their customers.

Please see our factsheet: An overview for heat suppliers for a summary of the key points or watch this video for an introduction to Heat Trust.

If you are a heat supplier, the following sets out how registering with Heat Trust can support you:

Get regulation ready

The Energy Bill will introduce statutory Ofgem regulation for the heat network sector in the next few years. You can find out more about this HERE.

Our existing Heat Trust standards are the foundations on which these formal regulations will build and we’re working with Ofgem and government to support a smooth transition. Registering with Heat Trust therefore gives consumers confidence and helps heat network suppliers get regulation ready.

Ofgem and DESNZ say: ‘The Heat Trust's established role in setting industry standards provides a strong foundation upon which the new regulation will build and their continued involvement will aid transition, ensuring continuity, and reducing risk of disruption for the sector and its consumers … [We] encourage parties to follow existing good practice, such as that set out by the Heat Trust.’

As the leading source of customer care expertise within the industry, we can help you prepare for the regulation ahead and future-proof your business to meet your responsibilities to customers without this being a burden. Get on board to help shape the future regulatory framework and create a sustainable energy network fit for the future that benefits your customers and your business.

All Registered Participants of Heat Trust can participate in our Members’ Forum. The forum allows participants to provide feedback on the Heat Trust Scheme and suggest where changes and additional guidance documents and support would be beneficial. The forum also provides a route for suppliers to share best practice.

Where appropriate, this will lead to development of specific guidance documents and templates that Registered Participants will be able to access and use. Publicly available guidance and templates can be found here.

The forum is also used to communicate Heat Trust updates, future developments and feedback from the independent Heat Trust Committee.

Reputation management

Heat Trust is here to support all heat network suppliers. We can share our extensive experience and best practice to enhance customer protection processes you may already have in place to help you do the right thing by your customers.

Customer satisfaction is at the heart of a successful business. Heat Trust registration offers peace of mind to customers that their heat supplier will comply with the Heat Trust Scheme’s sector-wide standards of customer service and protection.

Heat Trust also develops and provides customer-facing information, supporting its Registered Participants to raise awareness and understanding of heat networks amongst existing and prospective customers. 

All heat networks registered with Heat Trust are independently audited. Heat suppliers will benefit from an external auditor assessing the robustness of their policies and procedures, providing recommendations for improvement and also highlighting best practice.

Independent audits also provide assurance to heat suppliers, investors, procurers and customers that only heat networks that remain compliant with the Heat Trust standards can retain their registration and display the Heat Trust trademark.

Competitive edge

By providing clear evidence of your quality standards, Heat Trust accreditation can give you a competitive edge when it comes to winning new contracts or obtaining government funding. And of course, it means less time and resource dealing with customer complaints.

Through meeting a minimum standard of customer service and communications, resulting in more satisfied and informed customers, the numbers of complaints should reduce. However for those complaints which take longer to resolve, Heat Trust makes provision for an independent dispute resolution service. The service provides a means of complaint resolution that is cheaper, faster and more effective than court action.

The service is provided by the Energy Ombudsman and operates in the same way as the service provided to gas and electricity customers.

Heat Trust membership is the only scheme specific to heat networks that can provide assurance to investors and procurers of heat networks, through the trademark, that customers will receive good customer service and will be adequately protected. 
Heat Trust is recognised as the sector standard for customer protection. The UK Government has specified Heat Trust as part of its pre-qualification selection criteria for heat networks seeking public funding from the Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP) and its successor the Green Heat Networks Fund (GHNF).

The Scottish Government, through its district heating loan fund, also requires Heat Trust registration to award funds - highlighting the importance of customer protection.