Friday 16 November 2018

The number of heat customers benefitting from free independent complaint resolution and minimum customer service standards has more than doubled, from 15,000 customers in 2015 to over 35,000 customers today.

The information is reported in Heat Trust’s second Annual Report which was published this week. Heat Trust is the stakeholder-led customer protection scheme that sets consistent customer service standards for the heat network sector, building on standards in the gas and electricity markets.

More than 54 heat networks are now registered with Heat Trust and an additional 18 applications are in the registration process. All large energy service companies with residential networks have now registered one or more heat networks with the scheme.

“It is imperative that customers on heat networks have an assurance in the service they will receive and that if these standards aren’t met, then customers are able to access independent complaint resolution”, said Head of Scheme Bindi Patel.

“The number of sites which have voluntarily been registered with Heat Trust continues to grow and this means we are able to provide more and more customers with this assurance, and in doing so drive up industry standards.”

The report reveals that billing and customer service are the most frequent issues raised by customers. Over the year:

  • 3,550 customer complaints were recorded of which 92% were resolved within the monitoring period, representing a customer to complaint ratio of 11%. By comparison, the regulated market has a complaint ratio of 20% per 100,000 customers.
  • 206 customers contacted the Energy Ombudsman and 116 cases were within the Energy Ombudsman’s terms of reference. Over half of complaints (55%) were upheld by the Energy Ombudsman.
  • Most complaints (61%) were about back-billing or billing. A further 27% were due to customer service.
  • A goodwill payment was awarded in 62 cases. A total of £4,888 was awarded in 2017, these ranged from £5 to £629. The average award for complaints in 2017 was £78.84. A further 11 cases were received in 2017 and closed in 2018. The total goodwill payments for these were £669.

“While independent Government research has clearly demonstrated that customers on sites registered with Heat Trust receive more comprehensive billing information than non-registered sites, our data shows that heat network operators can make further improvements by ensuring bills are accurate and clear,” said Ms Patel.

This year, for the first time Heat Trust has also reported on outages on heat networks, finding:

  • A total of 41 planned interruptions and 469 unplanned Interruptions were recorded over the year.
  • Energy centre failure was the cause of 48% of unplanned customer outages.
  • 23% of unplanned interruptions affected between 500 – 1000 customers.

“Heat Trust will continue to work with our Registered Participants to build an evidence base of the performance of heat networks. Our aim is to build a reliable picture of the heat network market and highlight where improvements can be made to ensure customer received a reliable and efficient service,” said Ms Patel.

ENDS

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Monday 23rd July 2018

Heat Trust supports the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA’s) call for the heat network industry to be regulated and welcomes its recommendation that the framework draws on Heat Trust’s experience. 

The CMA made the recommendation in its final Heat Network Market Study report. The CMA referenced the customer benefit that Heat Trust had delivered and recommended that Ofgem, BEIS and the devolved governments draw on Heat Trust’s experience, customer protection measures and standards when designing the regulatory framework.

Responding to the final report, Head of Scheme Bindi Patel said:

 “Heat Trust welcomes the final report from the CMA on its Heat Networks Market Study and its recommendations.  Referencing BEIS’s consumer survey, the CMA’s report highlights that 74% of Heat Trust registered schemes felt they had a description of how their bills had been calculated, compared with only 31% of those on non-registered schemes.

“Examples such as these clearly demonstrate the standards set by Heat Trust, including support for vulnerable customers, guaranteed service payments for interruptions, access to the Energy Ombudsman and providing clear terms of service, are delivering positive benefits to both customers and the market.  

“Introducing a proportionate regulatory regime will guarantee customer protection and mandate the standards already put in place by Heat Trust and its members. We are pleased that the CMA has recommended that a future regulatory framework builds on the work of Heat Trust.”

Heat Trust responded to the CMA's market study and will work with government and other sector bodies to progress the report recommendations.

Notes to editors:
Heat Trust launched in November 2015. It sets out a common standard in the quality and level of customer service that heat suppliers should provide their customers. These are designed to be comparable, as far as possible, to the standards set in the regulated energy market. It also provides an independent process with the Energy Ombudsman for settling complaints between customers and their heat supplier. This service is free for customers to access.

Heat Trust has grown to 53 heat networks and approximately 33,000 customers. 

Thursday 10 May 2018

Heat Trust welcomes the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA’s) announcement that is has provisionally concluded there is a need for a statutory regulatory regime for heat networks.

Responding to the announcement, Bindi Patel, Head of Scheme said:

“Today’s announcement from the CMA is supported and welcomed by Heat Trust.

“The initial finding that there is a need for a statutory regulatory regime for heat networks concurs with our view that all customers, on all heat networks, should be assured of reliable heat supplies, excellent service and access to independent redress.”

Heat Trust responded to the CMA’s Statement of Scope and is pleased to see the CMA is considering steps in a number of areas already highlighted by Heat Trust. This includes ensuring customers are provided with clear information on heat network, better pre-transaction information and improvements to the information provided by Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs).

The CMA has also proposed requiring heat suppliers to comply with rules on price and quality in long-term contracts and the development of industry–wide performance metrics.

Bindi continued:

“As shown by the BEIS Consumer Survey and referenced by the CMA in its report, the standards set by Heat Trust, including support for vulnerable customers, guaranteed service payments for interruptions, access to the Energy Ombudsman and providing clear terms of service, are delivering positive benefits to both customers and the market.  

“We look forward to engaging with the CMA as it finalises its report and with other stakeholders on developing a sustainable and proportionate regulatory framework that works for all customers”.

ENDS

Notes to editors:
Heat Trust launched in November 2015. It sets out a common standard in the quality and level of customer service that heat suppliers should provide their customers. These are designed to be comparable, as far as possible, to the standards set in the regulated energy market. It also provides an independent process with the Energy Ombudsman for settling complaints between customers and their heat supplier. This service is free for customers to access.

Heat Trust has grown to 53 heat networks and approximately 33,000 customers. 

Download the press release

Welcome to the first Heat Trust newsletter of 2018. We’d like to keep in more regular contact with our stakeholders, so we will be using these newsletters to share updates on our work. We hope that you find them informative and useful and welcome any feedback.  Read Newsletter - Spring 2018

Salary: £27,000 
Location: London
Hours: Full Time 
Contract:Permanent
Reports to: Head of Scheme
No of reports: None
Start Date: Immediately (applications will be processed on a rolling basis)

Contact name: Bindi Patel
Contact email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Contact telephone: 020 3031 8740

Heat Trust is recruiting a Policy and Operations Adviser to join a team that is at the forefront of shaping a growing part of the low-carbon energy sector.

About Heat Trust
The UK energy sector is transforming. How we meet our energy needs is evolving away from centralised generation to more local, decentralised networks. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has recommended that up to 1.5million homes should be connected to low-carbon heat networks by 2030. As we transform our energy system, it is vital that we do so in a manner that ensures the needs of customers are protected.

Heat Trust is the customer protection scheme for the heat network sector. Our mission is to protect heat customers and ensure the heat networks deliver as intended for customers. Heat Trust has already grown to cover 10% of the heat sector market and we continue to grow year-on-year. The work we are leading has been recognised by BEIS, Scottish Government and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

About the role
We have a fantastic opportunity for a dynamic individual to work at the heart of local energy networks.

The position is focused on heat networks but will involve active engagement across a wide area of public policy, including the electricity, gas and renewables markets, consumer protection and consumer rights, planning and housing policy. It willinvolve working directly with government departments, consumer bodies, local authorities, housing associations and regional government bodies, regulators, senior industry players, and parliamentarians.

The UK Government has signalled its intention to regulate heat networks. The post holder will have a key role in supporting the sector to drive forward improvements, prepare for future regulation, and ensuring regulatory developments are proportionate and robust.

About you

We are looking for an enthusiastic and proactive person who is passionate about working for a purpose-led organisation. You’ll be part of a small team, so you’ll have a great opportunity to develop your role and influence the work we do.

The heat network sector is developing fast; so you’ll need to have initiative to take on new challenges and opportunities. We are looking for a talented individual with strong communication, analytical and organisational skills, who will enjoy working as part of small start-up that is challenging the market to deliver better outcomes for customers.

You will be leading work to oversee the performance of heat networks registered with Heat Trust – are they delivering the outcomes they have committed to? Your work will be instrumental in supporting a low-carbon future that works for customers.

Using the data we collect, you will be involved in developing improvements to Heat Trust and actively contribute to regulatory developments in the market. You’ll need to be comfortable working and engaging with different stakeholders, including managing the relationships with external auditors and compliance panels.

To apply
Please feel free to contact Bindi Patel for any other questions you might have. If working with us sounds like something you would be interested in, the full job description can be found on our website here. 

To apply, please send a CV (of no more than two pages) and covering letter (of no more than one page) setting out how your approach and experience makes you the right person to fill this post. Applications will be processed on a rolling basis.

Please note that you must have the right to work in the UK.

Applications can be submitted by email or post:
• By email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
• By post to: Heat Trust c/o ADE, 10 Dean Farrar St, London, SW1H 0DX

Due to limited resources, we are unable to acknowledge each application. If you have not been contacted by the interview date, we regret that you have not been shortlisted for an interview.