block for customers

Thinking about moving into a home or building on a heat network?

If so, this page lists our top questions to ask first.

Once you move in, you won't be able to change your heat supplier or easily leave the heat network.

It's therefore essential to understand how your heat supplier's processes work, including any contracual terms that may apply to you, so that you know your rights and responsibilities.

Processes and contracts can vary by supplier.

Confused about what a heat network is? Read our explanation here first.

Questions for the estate agent, letting agent or landlord:

  • Who is the heat supplier for the heat network, how do I contact them and where can I find their terms and conditions?
  • What charges will I be responsible for paying? (Energy Performance Certificates give estimated heating costs. But they don't include heat network repair and maintenance costs, so ask for an estimate of how much these usually are and whether any major works are planned.)
  • Is the heat network part of any consumer protection scheme?

Questions for the heat supplier: 

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  Consumer protection


  • Is the heat network registered with Heat Trust? If not, are there plans to register it? (This will ensure you're provided with minimum consumer-protection standards that are comparable to the gas and electricity markets. It will also mean that your heat supplier's compliance with these standards is independently audited. If your heat network isn't registered with Heat Trust, then it's unregulated - making the other questions below even more important.)
  • What support do you provide for customers in vulnerable situations and customers with additional needs? (This can be specific for a situation you already know about, or in general. Any of us may find ourselves in unexpected situations at any time.) 

Heat Trust New Icons 03Efficiency and metering 

  • What's the efficiency of the heat network and are there plans to improve it? (Lower efficiency due to heat losses means higher bills, because you have to pay for more heat to compensate. A heat network that's 35-45% efficient is losing 55-65% of its heat from pipework before it reaches residents. Government funding is available for efficiency improvements but only covers half the cost, so consumers on the network may be liable to pay the rest.)
  • Is there a meter for my property? (All new build properties are required by law to have an individual meter to measure your usage. Older properties may only have a single meter for the whole building, and may use a different method to apportion usage charges to individual properties within it.)

  • Do I need to submit meter readings? (Some meters do this automatically for you. Others require you to take the readings yourself and send them to your heat supplier at regular intervals, for example by telephone or online.)

  • Will I have a smart meter? (This may show you more detailed information about your consumption patterns, which can help you manage your usage.)

Heat Trust New Icons 01Bills 

  • How do you calculate bills? (This is a potential source of confusion for consumers who are used to other types of heating such as gas boilers or electric heaters.)

  • What tariff will I be placed on? What other tariffs are available to me, and how will you let me know if I’m on the best one for me? (Some heat suppliers may offer multiple tariffs; some might only offer one.)

  • How can I pay my bills? And how often? (Heat suppliers may offer different ways to pay such as direct debit, standing order or pre-payment ('pay as you go'). You may be able to pay at a local store, over the telephone, online, or by setting up a regular payment.)

  • What happens if I can’t pay my bill? (Heat suppliers should be able to talk you through this. They should explain how they can signpost you to sources of independent debt advice and/or help you set up a repayment plan to make paying your bills more manageable.) 

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  • If something goes wrong...What are your emergency/outage response times? Do you provide compensation if these last for a certain period of time, and what is the level of compensation? (In case something goes wrong, it's useful to know how quickly you can expect it to be fixed.)

  • How can I contact you? For emergencies, outages, enquiries or complaints? (This could be by telephone, email, text, online etc.)

  • Do you hold drop-in sessions for customers/residents? (This can be in many forms but offers an opportunity for face-to-face questions and answers.)

  • What do I need to do when I move in, to set up my account with you? Or when I move out? (This could include providing your details and date of moving, as well as meter readings.)

  • What is your complaints policy? (Your heat supplier should give you information on how you can raise a complaint, how they will handle it and what independent redress is in place if you remain unhappy with their response.)