Heat Trust was pleased to respond to the consultation by BEIS on the Green Heat Network Fund. The decarbonisation of heat is a crucial challenge, and the heat network sector has a key role to play in delivering this. Upgrading existing heat networks and ensuring that new heat networks are fit for the future will also benefit customers, particularly with improvements to the reliability of their heat supply.

We responde emphasising that:

  1. BEIS must embed ongoing assurance of customer protection provisions made by each applicant;
  2. Technical performance and reliability of supply are key drivers of customer experience; and
  3. High levels of customer satisfaction should be an additional factor throughout.

Our full response can be read here.

Heat Trust is the customer champion for those living and working on heat networks.  To fund our activity we levy two fees on Registered Participants: the Scheme Annual Fee and the Site Registration Fee.  As a not-for-profit organisation, both these fees are set based on an assessment of the cost of our ongoing operations for the forthcoming year.

We are mindful of the importance our operations have for ensuring customers benefit from heat networks that are fit for the future.  We are also aware that our operations impose a cost on Registered Participants, a cost which is ultimately borne by those same customers.  We are therefore committed to ensuring we continue to provide high levels of customer assurance whilst also delivering efficiencies in our operations that reduce the costs of regulation for all.

Given this, and following development of our business plan for forthcoming year, we are now in a position to confirm our fees for the twelve-months from 1st April 2021[1].

Scheme Annual Fee

From 1st April 2021 the Scheme Annual Fee for all existing Registered Participants will reduce by 4% from £4.80 to £4.61 per connection, exclusive of VAT. 

This reduction masks a material increase in our planned level of activity for the coming year, and underlines the degree to which we have implemented, and continue to seek, efficiencies in the way in which we deliver that activity.

Site Registration Fee

From 1st April 2021 the site Registration Fee for all new sites registered with us will increase by 17% from £85.31 to £100.00 per site, exclusive of VAT.

This increase follows an assessment of the average time it takes to complete each new site registration, and more accurately reflects the costs incurred.

2021/22 will be a very important year for both the wider heat network sector and the customers who rely on it.  We remain committed to increasing our impact for customers, raising standards, and ensuring a minimum level of protection - whilst also improving the efficiency of how we deliver that.  These changes reflect that commitment.

If you have any questions regarding these changes and how they may impact you or your organisation, please do not hesitate to contact us”.

 

[1] As per Scheme Byelaw 3.1.1

Heat Trust ensures that suppliers adhere to the minimum customer protection standards set out in our Scheme. One way that assurance is provided is through an independent audit of whether suppliers are meeting these standards, something that takes place at least once for each site in every five year period. The COVID-19 pandemic has prevented this from happening for a number of sites in 2020 however.  At a recent meeting, the Heat Trust Board agreed to extend the five year deadline by one year for the sites affected.

The sites affected are: (E.ON) Greenwich Millennium Village; Romford Reflections; Waddon; Fulham Wharf; Myatts Field North; Canning Town 3; Cannon Wharf; Centenary Quay; New South Quarter; Blackwall Reach; Loampit Value; Bath Riverside; Maple Quay; St Andrews; Queensland Road; Scotswood; Barham Park; Greenwich Reach; Alie Street; Newbury Racecourse; Dalston Square; Trafalgar Place; Catford Green; West Hendon; Lincoln Plaza; Barrier Park; Enderby Wharf; and (SSE) Greenwich Square / East Greenwich; Woolwich Royal; Riverlight Heat.

The audits for each of these sites have now been replanned, and all will be completed by July 2021.

In May 2020, several ADE members signed an Agreement to ensure that heat network customers were protected and supported during the Covid-19 pandemic.  Heat Trust, as the independent, not for profit, customer champion for those who live and work on heat networks agreed to provide independent monitoring of signatories’ compliance with this Agreement. 

Our first report covering the period July to September 2020 has now been published. This report, and the accompanying qualitative statements from signatories highlight both reasons for optimism and examples of good practice, but also areas of concern the ADE must now move to address. Specifically:

  • Reported levels of customer debt fell over the period; and  
  • Evidence of innovative and proactive customer engagement; yet
  • Ongoing customer disconnections;
  • Patchy levels of support; and
  • Incomplete or late submissions prevented full scrutiny.

These areas are expanded on in our response, published here.

Welcome to our Summer Heat Trust update for 2020. It covers updates from both Heat Trust and the wider heat network and customer protection fields. We hope that you find it informative and useful, and welcome any feedback. 

Read Summer Update 2020