Heat Trust, the consumer champion for heat networks, has appointed a new Director.

Stephen Knight takes up the role in May 2021 joining from London Trading Standards, where he was the director leading the London-wide partnership of Trading Standards services. 

Previously, Stephen served as an elected councillor in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames for 20 years, including time as deputy leader of the council and as a London Assembly member, chairing the Assembly’s environment committee. He said:

“This is a very exciting time for the heat network sector. The industry clearly has a vital role to play in de-carbonising heating and is therefore preparing for large scale investment and growth. 
“At the same time, it is readying itself for the introduction of statutory regulation, which will give its consumers similar protection to gas and electricity customers. Heat Trust has been putting customers at the heart of changes in the sector over the last six years, and I’m delighted to be given the chance to build on that track record at this crucial time.”

Stephen will replace David Watson in the role. Over the last year David has seen Heat Trust grow the number of registered sites by 30%, and the number of customers covered by its protections to over 55,000. 

He has also led Heat Trust’s engagement with Government on how statutory regulation might be implemented. David said:

“I’m proud of everything that we have achieved during my time at Heat Trust.
“We have made a tangible difference to the lives of tens of thousands of customers, whether through holding industry to account, ensuring customers have been fairly treated by suppliers through the COVID pandemic or helping Government develop proposals that will see protections and standards like ours apply to all customers on all sites. 
“Heat Trust has never been more relevant to the needs of the customer, the sector and to Government and I’m delighted to have been able to play a role in that.” 

Casey Cole, Chair of Heat Trust, welcomed Stephen to the team and wished David well in his future role. He said:

“We are delighted by the success of Heat Trust, and we would like to thank David for his work in both fighting for customer interests and showing how the new market framework can ensure no customer is left behind. We wish him every success in his new position. Stephen has a proven track record in consumer advocacy and policy development, and we look forward to him taking the organisation forward in this next important chapter.”

Form more information contact Bobbie Hough on 07794204268 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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.