In 2018, a study by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), found that whilst heat networks are effective towards cutting carbon emissions, the absence of a regulator means residents aren’t benefiting from equivalent standards of protection to that of gas and electricity customers.
Research suggests that despite the introduction of the Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations in 2014, one in seven consumers are dissatisfied, citing problems including lack of information and issues with billing and pricing.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are proposing several measures in a new consultation, designed to support the development of low-carbon heat networks across the country. Within the consultation, BEIS support the appointment of Ofgem as heat network regulator, to introduce customer protection measures.
Charlotte Owen, Heat Policy Officer of The Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) said:
“In 2050, heat networks will represent a significant proportion of UK heating, and as such should be replaced on an equal footing with other utilities. Consumer protection is a significant part of this.
The proposed introduction of statutory undertaker rights, which will reduce costs, provide greater certainty around planning and place heat networks on an equal footing with other utilities, is a very welcomed move by government”