Combined Heat & Power

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Heat Networks

Heat network companies: Statement on consumer protection in response to the impact of Covid

1 October 2021

The statement put in place to respond to the exceptional circumstances at the onset of the pandemic has now closed.

October 2021 update

The statement was introduced as an industry effort to respond to the exceptional circumstances created by the onset of the pandemic. As Covid restrictions have now been lifted, it will end formally on 4th October 2021. 

Whilst this Statement will end, the heat network industry’s commitment to protecting consumers during this difficult period and in the long-term will continue. We know that supporting customers and delivering good customer service is our social responsibility as providers of an essential service and crucial to achieving net zero.

Heat network companies will continue to protect vulnerable consumers and consider each customer on the basis of their individual circumstances; including their ability to pay. Companies will continue to provide information to advice and support services and look to achieve best practice where possible; including, for example, partnering with third parties who can provide independent debt advice and support.

The heat network industry does not benefit from the same tools for supporting customers as the regulated utilities. Addressing this needs to be managed through substantive, long-term Government and industry collaboration. Industry has already taken steps to establish Heat Trust and continues to encourage its expansion to more of the sector ahead of regulation. Building on these efforts, we look forward to the introduction of heat network regulation in the coming years.   

Background

In response to the exceptional circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic, members of the Heat Network Industry Council agreed and published in early May a statement setting out how companies will go above and beyond to support customers during this difficult time.  The Council subsequently gave this statement to the ADE in order to support further companies to sign up, including those who are not members of the Council.

This was a voluntary statement by industry and the organisations who have signed up to this agreement did so for the heat networks where they have the authority to do so.  

This statement was monitored by the Heat Trust. Each company published a qualitative statement that can be found below. They also submitted confidential quantitative submissions to Heat Trust on a quarterly basis. A summary of this quantitative submission is published anonymised and in aggregate by Heat Trust. The summaries of this monitoring can also be found below.  

This statement was signed by the following organisations:  

  • EDF Energy 
  • ENGIE  
  • Energetik 
  • E.ON 
  • Pinnacle Power  
  • SSE Heat Networks Ltd. 
  • Switch2  
  • Vattenfall  
  • Veolia 
  • Vital Energi  
  • Metropolitan UK
  • Enviroenergy (wholly owned by Nottingham City Council)

Read our press release on the consumer protection agreement

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