Heat Trust, the national consumer protection scheme for people living on communal and district heat networks, has welcomed today’s news that the government is to extend its Energy Bill Support Scheme to those 1% of households that don’t access their electricity from a domestic supply company, but instead pay via their landlord or site owner.

The Energy Bills Support Scheme will pay households £400 this winter towards their energy costs via a reduction in their electricity bills.  However, Heat Trust has raised the problem that those living on developments where the landlord or site owner supply electricity via a ‘private wire’ system would not have been able to access this funding.

The Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy has today confirmed that it will fund an equivalent support of £400 for these households, although the details of how this will be done have not yet been announced.

The Government estimates that around 1% of households do not have a direct relationship with an electricity supplier – this includes many heat network customers, who get all their utilities provided via their building or site management company.

Stephen Knight, Director of Heat Trust, said: “I am delighted that the Government has listened to calls from Heat Trust and others and accepted that those who do not receive their energy in traditional ways are also in desperate need of support at this time of spiralling prices.

“There was a real danger that a large number of families in the most need were going to be overlooked and locked out of this scheme. We are delighted they will be able to access the £400 support, and we look forward to hearing details on how this will be delivered to these households.

“Heat Trust will continue to provide a voice for those living on heat networks. Currently people on heat networks fall outside of Ofgem’s price cap, leaving many facing 300-400% increases in their heating bills as gas prices continue to rise.

“It is vital we ensure that families get the help they need, and we will be working closely with Government and the industry to ensure this happens.”