New scheme proposed to give heat customers peace of mind

Date: 07/11/2013

• Consumer groups and district heating industry work together to tackle customer protection
• Scheme would establish a common standard in the quality and level of protection for heat customers
• Independent, free dispute resolution service for consumers proposed

The CHPA today welcomed a major new independent initiative to protect the interests of householders and micro-businesses connected to heat networks.

Against a background of increasing concern around rising energy costs in the regulated energy utility market, the Independent Heat Customer Protection Scheme’s proposals would deliver clear pricing by establishing a common standard in the level of protection for heat customers.

In addition the Scheme would establish an independent, no-cost service for settling disputes.

The Independent Heat Customer Protection Scheme was developed and proposed by an independent body made up of consumer groups and district heating industry representatives.

Proposals for the Independent Heat Customer Protection Scheme are now out for consultation and the scheme is expected to launch next year.

The Scheme heralds an important transition for the district heating industry. The proposals are a vital step in the Government’s ambitions to expand the role for heat networks in the UK, potentially growing from 2% to 14-20% of household and business consumers by 2030. Customer protection will play an important role in building customer confidence and making heat networks more attractive to investors and developers.

David Wagstaff, Head of Heat Strategy and Policy at the Department for Energy and Climate Change, said:

“In March this year, our publication ‘The Future of heating: Meeting the challenge’ identified a number of practical steps that would support the development of heat networks. One of these was an industry-led Consumer Code of Practice, supported by Government. I therefore welcome the CHPA and their partners’ work in this area, and thank those who have been involved in preparing this consultation. We look forward to seeing the consultation responses. “

CHPA Director Dr Tim Rotheray said:

“The CHPA is delighted to see these proposals for protecting district heating customers. It is vital that consumers, government and investors know that district heating will deliver a fair deal to users. These proposals aim to ensure this happens. A wide range of contributors have helped develop these ideas and we look forward to the further development of these proposals.”

Customers, industry representatives and consumer groups are invited to comment on the proposals and share their heat network experiences.

Further details can be found at
For further information or to request an interview, please contact:
Independent Heat Customer Protection Scheme Steering Committee
c/o Secretariat
Nicola Butterworth
Tel: 020 3031 8740
CHPA 6th Floor, 10 Dean Farrar Street, London SW1H 0DX