After four years of operation Heat Trust is reviewing the Scheme Rules to keep them in line with ongoing developments in comparable markets. This will be undertaken in stages, covering the major aspects of the Heat Trust standards.

This second consultation focuses on metering, billing and Guranteed Service Payments (GSP). Feedback is sought from all interested parties. Please use the response form provided and send your responses to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The deadline for responses is Thursday 26th November 2020.

Please follow this link to the consultation document here

And the response form 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

Heat Trust has responded to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) consultation on building a market framework for heat networks. Heat Trust welcomed the consultation and supports the decision to appoint a sector regulator. Statutory regulation is a key step to ensuring customer protection for all heat network customers.

The key proposals in the consultation centre on licensing and an authorisation regime:

  • The proposed legislative changes will give heat network developers equivalent statutory rights and undertakings to other utilities, such as gas and electricity. A licensing arrangement will be established for those parties that wish to secure these additional powers.
  • The proposed authorisation regime for consumer protection would give Ofgem oversight and enforcement powers across quality of service, provision of information and pricing arrangements for all domestic heat network consumers. This would be funded through fees scaled according to the regulated party’s size.

Transparency, pricing and quality of service standards are key elements of the protection regime customers need. Other important aspects include access to independent redress and enforcement powers - with which heat networks can be held accountable to.

Heat Trust already sets minimum standards in many of these areas and can help suppliers prepare for the transition to regulation. We also look forward to building on our learnings and experience with government to help inform new regulation.

Heat Trust’s full response to the consultation can be found here.

MOD014, MOD015 and MOD18 - MOD020 - Updating Scheme Rules relating to metering, billing and GSP

Heat Trust continues to review its Scheme Rules in stages. This second relates to metering, billing and Guaranteed Service Payments. Please find the consultation document here for the five modification proposals below, including consultation questions. Responses are welcome from all interested parties by 12pm Thursday 9th September 2021. Please click the hyperlinks in the titles below to be taken to the full modification proposals.

 

Modifications which were not approved

MOD010 - MOD013 - Modifications to the Scheme Rules relating to vulnerable customers  
The consultation on reviewing the Scheme Rules relating to customers in vulnerable situations is now closed. Some modification proposals were approved and can be found in Scheme Modifications. The modification proposals which were not approved can be found below:

Both UK and Scottish Governments have published proposals to regulate the heat networks market.

UK

Heat Trust welcomes and supports government’s confirmation that it will introduce regulation for heat networks, with a sector regulator to provide oversight and enforcement.

Statutory regulation is vital to building customer trust in heat networks, allowing the market to continue to grow and deliver the benefits of sustainable heat more widely. This is particularly important in a market of natural monopolies where customers cannot switch their supplier.

We at Heat Trust have unsurpassed collective knowledge of this complex, fledgling industry and have been putting in place the foundations of the bespoke, robust regulations that protect customers while allowing the heat networks market to flourish in the future. This is an essential part of the sector’s development – but just the first step. Customer protection need not and should not wait whilst a new regulatory framework is developed. We believe all heat networks should be required to meet our standards before regulation is in place. The recent BEIS consultation stated that “By joining Heat Trust now, organisations will not only be able to demonstrate the quality of their service to consumers right now, but they will also be better prepared for the transition to regulation.” We support the move to statutory regulation and are committed to supporting the sector with the transition.

The proposals would create a statutory regulator for the heat network sector, proposed to be Ofgem, and focus on three core areas:

  • Transparency of the heat network service, including before first joining the network;
  • Fair and accurate pricing; and
  • Quality of service - for example expectations on outage management and customer complaints handling.

 

Scotland

The Scottish Government introduced the Heat Networks (Scotland) Act to Parliament on 2nd March 2020 and was passed on 23rd February 2021. The Act will require heat network suppliers to apply for a licence to supply heat via a heat network, similar to how gas or electricity suppliers operate, and a consenting process for constructing or operating heat networks in Scotland, similar to planning permission. The Act also contains proposals to give local authorities the power to designate heat network zones, and to introduce a transfer scheme should a supplier cease to operate (similar to the Supplier of Last Resort scheme for gas or electricity customers). These are intended to commence by the end of 2023.