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 that are comparable to those provided in the rest of the energy market. It also enables an independent process for settling disputes between heat suppliers and their customers.

By joining Heat Trust, heat suppliers will benefit from a code of conduct that provides:

Reputation management

Heat Trust is here to support all heat network providers. 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 membership 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 members 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 its 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 schemes that remain compliant with the Heat Trust standards can retain their membership.

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 Complaint Handling 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 service and customer protection. The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) 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).

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

Regulation-ready

The government has made it clear that it intends to regulate the heat network market and encourages providers to register with 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 members of Heat Trust can participate in the Members’ Forum. The forum allows members to provide feedback on the Heat Trust Scheme and suggest where modifications 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 members will be able to access and use.

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

Please see our factsheet: An overview for heat suppliers for a summary of the key points