New government plans unveiled today (4 August) could allow hundreds of thousands of heat network customers to benefit from fairer energy prices.
Heat networks supply heating and hot water through largescale renewable heat generated through manufacturing or found underground.
The proposals would see homes and businesses supplied by heat networks receive better consumer protections which are currently only granted to those on traditional gas and electricity contracts.
Ofgem will also be granted greater authority from 2025 to ensure homes and businesses don’t suffer disproportionate pricing, poor customer service and unreliability.
The energy regulator will also include distributing fines for poor service and ensuring operators pay compensation to customers in the event of a supply outage.
Heat network providers will also need to keep a register of customers in vulnerable situations – such as the elderly and those living with health conditions – to ensure they receive better protection.
“We’re investing millions in building new heat networks, reducing emissions and providing low-cost heating to communities across the country,” said Lord Callanan, minister for energy efficiency and green finance.
“Heat networks allow people to heat their homes more cleanly, while cutting their costs and reducing carbon emissions. They are also an important tool in our push for greater energy security and independence.
“As more homes and businesses are connected to these innovative systems, it’s only right we ensure consumers are properly protected, pay a fair price for their energy, and are given the best service possible.”
The consultation – which contributes to the target of 20% of the country’s heating supplied by heat networks by 2050 – is the latest example of the government’s push for greener heating.
Other instances include the £91 million Green Heat Network Fund supporting seven “ground-breaking” heat network projects and the £32 million Heat Network Efficiency Scheme set to conduct vital upgrades to old and inefficient heat networks.