Salary: Around £40,000 per annum (pro-rata if part-time)

Heat Trust Logo (Plain)

Location: Westminster, and/or remote/home working

Hours: Either Full-time (37.5 hrs/week) or part-time (negotiable)

Contract: Permanent

Closing date: Tuesday 3rd January 2023

Contact name: Stephen Knight

Contact email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contact telephone: 020 3031 8748

 

Are you searching for an opportunity where you can support the transformation to net-zero, in a way that is just and works for all customers?

Heat Trust is the national consumer protection scheme for the heat network (communal and district heating) sector and acts as an independent, not-for-profit consumer champion.  With statutory regulation promised, we are working closely with Ofgem and government to prepare the sector and to help shape future regulations to improve customer outcomes.

We are looking for a Head of Compliance to help the organisation in its mission to protect heat network customers and support the heat network industry with the transition to regulation.

You would be joining a small, largely home-working, team and therefore would be required to take the initiative and be flexible around the tasks that you take on.

As Head of our Compliance function, you will be responsible for ensuring that Heat Trust registered participants are compliant with our Scheme Rules and that we help heat network operators to prepare for statutory regulation.

See full job description for further details of the role.

What sort of person are we looking for?

  • A commitment to championing customers and their needs, as well as the drive to deliver tangible positive impacts on their lives;
  • Able to work either full- or part-time in the role;
  • Able to work independently, either from our London office or remotely from home, and take initiative (the team all currently work remotely);
  • Strong organisational, analytical and interpersonal skills;
  • Proven expertise in a regulatory, compliance or enforcement environment, with a preference for this expertise to be in the energy sector or other regulated sectors such as water or telecoms;
  • A sound understanding of one or more of the following: regulated energy markets and consumer policy/practice, consumer protection, district/communal heating;
  • Ability to form balanced judgements and to respond to issues proportionately;
  • Confident communicator with ability to sensitively handle difficult conversations, including the ability to firmly and respectfully challenge others;
  • Proven experience in engaging and negotiating with challenging stakeholders, including within adversarial contexts, that can be demonstrated by proven record of high performance and substantial achievements in past positions;
  • A track record of developing and maintaining effective stakeholder relations;
  • Influencing skills to advocate externally on behalf of customers;
  • Understanding when to seek advice/escalate; and
  • Experience of managing external contractors.

 

Benefits and next steps

In addition to a salary of around £40,000 per annum (pro rata if part-time), we offer 25 days annual leave, an interest free season ticket loan, an interest free bicycle loan and will pay pension contributions of up to 8%.

The role can either be based in our London office or can be home-based.  We will consider applications on either a full or part-time basis.  We are also able to consider any reasonable adjustments that may be necessary for you to succeed in the role.  Please get in touch and let us know whether this would be helpful.

If working with us sounds like something you would be interested in, please apply by sending a CV and covering letter by the closing date to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., setting out how your approach and experience makes you the right person to fill this post.  Please limit your covering letter to no more than two sides.

Due to resource limits, we will only be able to respond to applicants that are called for interview.  The interview process will include either face-to-face or video conference interviews. Please note that you must have the existing right to work in UK.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact Stephen Knight, Managing Director, on (020) 3031 8748 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Government U-turn leaves families facing heating bills double that of those protected by the Energy Price Guarantee

The national consumer champion for heat networks is criticising the government’s decision, announced on Friday, to scrap a promised emergency £100 payment to households on heat networks. It leaves 500,000 homes on communal or district heating systems paying around twice as much for heat as those with their own gas boiler heating system.

While Thursday’s fiscal statement announced some support for struggling families this winter, BEIS has since made a U-turn on specific help for heat networks customers.

Heat Trust, which runs a consumer protection scheme for homes that share communal or district heating systems, is asking the government to think again.

The consumer body previously warned that residents could receive winter heating bills as high as £1,000 a month.

Following the Autumn Statement, Stephen Knight, the Director of Heat Trust, said: “When we heard that the government would be doubling the ‘alternative fuel payment’ from £100 to £200, we thought that finally, it was good news for the 500,000 homes in this situation.

“To hear now that the meagre amount of support that had been promised to heat network customers has been snatched away at the 11th hour is a kick in the teeth for these customers, many of whom have been struggling to pay inflated and un-capped bills for the past year.”

These families are excluded from the Energy Price Guarantee because heat networks are not regulated by Ofgem. Although Heat Trust is already working with the government and Ofgem to design regulation and bring down bills, they say help cannot come soon enough.

Mr Knight confirms he has repeatedly heard promises of extra support from the then Business and Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg during the Second Reading debate of the Energy Prices Bill, as well as from BEIS civil servants since.

“With at least half a million households on heat networks who will have to choose between eating and heating their home, these payments are a lifeline. It’s essential that the government rethink its decision and immediately reinstate this vital support.”

The government plans to expand the number of heat network schemes to cover up to 5 million households as part of its strategy to decarbonise heating.

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Help with heating and energy costs for heat network customers

The UK government has introduced some support schemes to help domestic energy customers (i.e. householders) through the current energy price crisis and particularly this coming winter of October 2022 to March 2023. There are also existing support schemes for certain customers e.g. those on benefits or receiving a pension, to help them with energy payments. Most are applicable to heat network customers who have a standard domestic electricity supply, but here we describe the key support schemes and how they apply to heat network customers.

Government support schemes

General government information on energy cost support is available here and more general information on cost of living help is available on a separate government ‘Help for Households’ website here.

Below we look at the energy cost support schemes and how they apply to those on heat networks.

Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS)

The Energy Bills Support Scheme provides a £400 discount to eligible households to help with their energy bills over winter 2022 to 2023.  This is being paid automatically via reduced domestic electricity bills in October 2022 to March 2023.

Households that are on a communal electricity supply (or 'private wire' scheme) will be able to recieve the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme Payment via an Alternative Fund.  Online applications will open in January for households in England, Scotland and Wales who are eligible for the £400 EBSS Alternative Funding to submit their details, alongside a helpline for those without online access. Payments to households that meet the eligibility criteria – including people who get their energy through a commercial contract or who are off-grid – will be made by local authorities in Great Britain.

UPDATE:  It was revealed in Parliament on 25th January that the promised launch of £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) Alternative Funding for households on communal electricity has been delayed from January until the end of February, with payments not reaching customers until end March.

Energy Price Guarantee (EPG)

The Energy Price Guarantee will reduce the unit cost of domestic electricity and gas this Winter.  It will be in place from 1 October 2022 until 31 March 2023. The average unit price for dual fuel customers on standard variable tariffs, subject to Ofgem’s price cap, paying by direct debit will be limited to 34.0p/kWh for electricity and 10.3p/kWh for gas, inclusive of VAT, from 1 October.  A review will be launched to consider more targeted measures to support households with their energy bills after this period.

Most heat network customers will benefit from the EPG in relation to their electricity bills (unless they are on a communal electricity/private wire supply), however heat networks buy their gas as non-domestic or commercial customers, so (like the previous price cap) this scheme does not apply to heat network prices for heating and hot water.

Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS)

This scheme will provide energy bill relief for non-domestic customers (including heat networks) in Great Britain. Discounts will be applied to energy usage between 1 October 2022 and 31 March 2023.

The scheme reduces the price paid for energy by non-domestic customers (such as heat network operators), and new legislation makes it mandatory for heat network operators to pass on the benefit of these reduced prices to their customers and must notify their customers of how they are doing this.  For more information on how this pass-through will work, see government guidance.  Customers that believe their heat supplier is failing to properly pass on the benefit of this scheme can complain to their heat supplier and the government has provided a template letter for doing so. If they are still not satisfied with their supplier’s response, then they can complain to the Energy Ombudsman, who can provide independent redress.

The impact of the scheme on end user prices will vary depending on the gas contract supply arrangements and the overall efficiency of the heat network.

This scheme will also apply to electricity prices for those on communal electricity/private wire schemes.

Cost of Living Payment

An extra payment to help with the cost of living if you’re entitled to certain benefits (including the state pension) or tax credits. If you’re eligible, you’ll be paid automatically in the same way you usually get your benefit or tax credits. This includes if you’re found to be eligible for a Cost of Living Payment or a Disability Cost of Living Payment at a later date.

You could get up to 3 different types of payment depending on your circumstances on a particular date or during a particular period:

  • Cost of Living Payment, if you get a qualifying low income benefit or tax credits
  • Disability Cost of Living Payment, if you get a qualifying disability benefit
  • Pensioner Cost of Living Payment, if you’re entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment for winter 2022 to 2023

These payments are not taxable and will not affect the benefits or tax credits you get.

Warm Home Discount Scheme - opens 14 November 2022

Eligible customers could get £150 off their electricity bill for winter 2022 to 2023 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

To qualify for this scheme you need to be either in receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, or on a low income and have high energy costs (or in Scotland meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme).

Cold Weather Payment

This is paid to those in receipt of certain benefits (such as Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, and Universal Credit) during periods of very cold weather.  You’ll get £25 for each 7-day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.

This is paid automatically to those eligible, but it is important to make sure that you notify Jobcentre Plus if you have a baby or child under 5 living with you and are in receipt of benefits, as you might not otherwise get paid this automatically.

Welcome to our update about the Heat Trust 2021 Annual Report. It includes an infographic and overview of the 2021 Annual Report, as well as updates on recent Guidance published, two modifications which have recently been approved and an update on support for heat network customers through the current energy crisis. We hope that you find it informative and useful, and welcome any feedback. 

Read the 2021 Annual Report newsletter here

Billing best practice guide coverWith more than half a million households living with unregulated communal heating systems that fall outside of the energy price cap, a consumer body is advising landlords and heat network operators on handling concerns around soaring bills.   

Heat Trust, which runs the voluntary consumer protection scheme for heat networks, is urging heat providers to offer flexible payment plans among other measures to help support families struggling to pay their bills.

The body had warned that residents could receive winter heating bills as high as £1,000 a month before the recently announced government support.

As heat network operators await news on how their tenants and leaseholders will receive financial help promised by Liz Truss, Heat Trust is still expecting energy providers and landlords to experience an influx of billing disputes and complaints.  

Stephen Knight, Director of Heat Trust, who is currently working with Ofgem on upcoming regulation for the sector, said: “As we enter the heating season during a time of unprecedented energy prices, it is vital that heat suppliers make sure they bill customers accurately.  

“Even with the government support, residents with communal heating could still face bills twice the price of those with traditional gas central heating. 

“This means energy providers need to be prepared to accommodate reasonable customer requests for flexibility in payment arrangements.” 

A new best practice guide issued by Heat Trust highlights the advantages of dealing with complaints in a reasonable timeframe and the value of feedback for making improvements. 

Complaints best practice cover

By resolving issues on a case-by-case basis and, when appropriate, offering reparation reflecting the inconvenience caused to the customer, suppliers will not damage trust and give families the best chance of avoiding fuel poverty. 

The guidelines also emphasise the importance of having well-equipped teams to respond to customers across all communication channels with empathy, efficiency, and professionalism.   

Stephen Knight added: “We understand that heat network operators – such as social landlords and local councils – are also experiencing financial challenges. 

“But these families are not protected by a price cap, or the Energy Price Guarantee.

“These guidelines will ensure better support is in place for those struggling with their bills. 

“It is also the chance to review processes and improve customer service – which is all the more important given the upcoming regulation. We encourage any operators who haven’t done so already to register their heat network with Heat Trust to provide their customers with the best possible protection.” 

Access the guides on the Heat Trust website here.