Heat Trust's voluntary Scheme sets minimum standards of customer service and consumer protection for heat suppliers in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland).

Our standards are designed to be comparable to those set out in Ofgem's licence conditions for regulated gas and electricity suppliers. They therefore draw on existing regulations and best practice.

How we check compliance

When a heat supplier applies to register a heat network with us, we first check that they have processes in place for that heat network that comply with our Scheme's rules. Once we're satisfied that their processes are compliant, the supplier signs a legal undertaking to abide by our Scheme on an on-going basis for that heat network. We repeat this process for each individual heat network that registers with us.

We collect monitoring data twice-yearly for each of our registered heat networks. We carry out a full compliance audit for each network at least once every five years (and sooner if monitoring data or other information suggests a compliance issue). Where we find non-compliances, we require suppliers to put in place remediation plans to rectify them and can take disciplinary action if they don't.

We also work with our registered heat suppliers to help promote best practice through regular forums, publishing guidance and highlighting any trends we see in our monitoring data.

Customer Timeline

What we cover 

Our Scheme includes rules for heat suppliers about:

  • Treating consumers fairly
  • Providing clear and transparent information to consumers
  • Supporting consumers in vulnerable circumstances, in need of additional support or in payment difficulty
  • Customer service standards, including handling faults, emergencies and access to homes
  • Guaranteed performance standards, including compensating consumers for outages that don't meet these
  • Using and maintaining metering, including use of pre-payment meters
  • Maintaining Heat Interface Units (HIUs)
  • Calculating heat charges, changing tariffs, billing, back-billing and payment
  • Disconnection and reconnection of supply
  • Complaint handling and access to the Energy Ombudsman

These are set out in our Scheme Rules and our Scheme Bye-Laws.

What we don't cover

There are four key areas where Heat Trust, as a voluntary Scheme, doesn't set standards.

Heat Trust doesn't: 

  • Provide comment or arbitration on pricing
  • Provide guidance on contract length
  • Set technical engineering or performance standards for heat networks
  • Provide a supplier of last resort if a heat supplier goes out of business

These issues are being addressed as part of planned statutory regulation

Who we cover

We publish a list and map of all our registered heat networks.

Our Scheme's standards can apply to any GB heat supplier who contracts with domestic and/or micro-business consumers, whether metered or unmetered and regardless of the heat source used.

To join our Scheme, the entity applying must be the supplier (who has the contract with the end consumer) and not a subcontractor of that entity. This supplier could be a dedicated Energy Service Company (ESCO) or a building owner (e.g. a developer, private freeholder, housing association or local authority).