The latest public attitudes tracker report by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) had a particular focus on heat.

It found that in relation to heat networks:

  • Just under three in ten (28%) had heard of heat networks in December 2020. 
  • Of those who were aware of heat networks, six in ten (60%) said they would be likely to join one if given the opportunity. This equated to 17% of all people. Over half (54%) of those that were aware of heat networks were also positive about them.

On heat usage in the home:

  • In December 2020, three quarters of people (75%) said they paid either a lot (24%) or a fair amount (51%) of attention to the amount of heat they used in their home. One in five (21%) said they did not pay very much attention to this, and 3% said they pay no attention to it at all. 
  • The most common reason given for paying attention to the amount of heat used in the home was to minimise the amount of money spent on heat (46%). 
  • The most common reason given for not paying attention to the amount of heat used in the home was because people wanted to use as much heat as needed to be comfortable (49%).

And on replacing heating systems:

  • People said they would mainly change their heating system to save money on bills (45%) but over a third (35%) said they would do this to switch to a more environmentally friendly heating system.

Heat Trust has today written to signatories of the ADE Consumer Agreement expressing concern at the latest set of monitoring data, released last week.  In particular, Heat Trust is concerned at rising numbers of disconnections from some suppliers during the coldest part of the year, low reconnection rates and declining levels of support given to pre-payment meter customers.  Heat Trust is also concerned at failures of some suppliers to keep to the terms of the Agreement and report on their activities.  See our open letter here.

The Heat Trust Board met on 28th January 2021 and unanimously approved Modification Proposals 006, 007, 008, 009 and 010. The full report for each can be found on our Scheme Modifications section of our website. 

This will improve customer protection standards, particularly for heat network customers in vulnerable situations, and is part of an ongoing process to continue enhancing these standards.

The Scheme Administrator will now work with its Registered Participants to take the steps set out under each proposal to implement them. The Scheme Rules have been updated accordingly.

In November 2020 Heat Trust consulted on a review of the Scheme Rules relating to metering, billing and Guaranteed Service Payments (GSP). The service standards which participating companies, known as Registered Participants, agree to abide by are set out in Heat Trust’s Scheme Rules. A systematic review of these standards began with those relating to customers in vulnerable situations in 2019, and is now reviewing the next two sections.

Metering and billing are the key points of interaction for most customers with their heat supplier. Customer billing and charges has consistently been one of the top complaint categories over the last three years. When things go wrong or if service is below the guaranteed standard set out in the Heat Trust Scheme, customers may be entitled to compensation, known as Guaranteed Service Payments (GSP).

The responses to the latest consultation have now been summarised and next steps proposed in this report. These will be discussed with the Heat Trust's Stakeholder Committee, which may recommend some changes are put forward as proposals for modification of the standards. 

Heat Trust was pleased to respond to the consultation by BEIS on the Green Heat Network Fund. The decarbonisation of heat is a crucial challenge, and the heat network sector has a key role to play in delivering this. Upgrading existing heat networks and ensuring that new heat networks are fit for the future will also benefit customers, particularly with improvements to the reliability of their heat supply.

We responde emphasising that:

  1. BEIS must embed ongoing assurance of customer protection provisions made by each applicant;
  2. Technical performance and reliability of supply are key drivers of customer experience; and
  3. High levels of customer satisfaction should be an additional factor throughout.

Our full response can be read here.